- Title: The Black Orchid by Celine Jeanjean
- Genre: Steampunk mystery
Men are vanishing and dying in the Rookery, and the Marchioness of Damsport finds herself suddenly (and astonishingly) in need of urchin Rory’s connections to discover why and how her subjects are disappearing.
Meanwhile, an even more sinister plot awakens as far as Longinus is concerned. For someone is trying to eliminate black silk from Damsian markets … and how can Longinus maintain his reputation as the most elegant assassin in Damsport if he can’t dress the part?
A few of you may remember when I read The Viper and the Urchin last year. The title has since changed to The Bloodless Assassin (a fabulous title!), but the story remains the same … and The Black Orchid once again brings us back to the world of Rory and Longinus.
At first glance, you’d think these two made an unlikely pair, but I absolutely love the dynamic duo. They are perfect foils for the other’s personality, and I really enjoyed their growing friendship/alliance … as well as the tumultuous moments introduced in this book. I simply adore Longinus, adore that he’s equal parts pompous snob and brilliant assassin. I particularly enjoy how his intuition is almost always spot on … but for all the wrong reasons. Not to give too much of a spoiler, but his missing black silk actually plays a huge part in solving the mystery. The author did a wonderful job of utilizing his unique personality to progress the plot and it never once felt forced or contrived.
And Rory …? Who wouldn’t love cheeky, confident, practical Rory? This book frequently highlights Rory’s growth, not just as a character, but as a young girl trying to find her place in her newly expanded world. Her personality and the issues she faces were perfectly created: I could identify with her multiple times during the course of the novel. (Tears weren’t shed, but I definitely had to pause a couple of times to battle the emotion. Especially when she runs away from the party … ah! I wanted to hug her!)
Also, I’m dying – literally dying – to have more of the romance hinted at in this book. I’m not going to say who, because I don’t believe in spoilers, but ooohhh how I loved the romance. (There better be more in book three, Ms. Jeanjean! You hear me?! More romance! I need my urchin love story!!!) Again, there’s only hints of romance (so far) so don’t be put off if you’re not into that sort of thing. There’s plenty of mystery and action and humor to appease everyone.
That brings me to my recommendation: read it. Everyone, just go pick up a copy and read it. The story stands quite well on its own, but you really should grab The Bloodless Assassin to go with it, so you can have an entire weekend of well-made sassy characters, sword-fighting action, blood-chilling assassinations, witty banter, and all the other amazing goodness to be found in this series.
I mean it. If you enjoy reading at all, you’ll definitely find something to enjoy in this entertaining world. Personally, I think it’s going to be the assassin terrified of blood … but then again, that might just be me.