Author: A.A. Aguirre
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Apparatus Infernum Novel #1
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic–and the first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.
Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case where one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered–her body charred to cinders–Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi will be challenged as never before. Before long, it’s clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…
What Nima’s talking about:
Books like Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre remind me why I love science fiction so much. A. A. Aguirre is actually a pseudonym for Ann and her husband Andres Aguirre. I have previously read Ann’s Sirantha Jax Series, and I found her to be a wonderfully complex, chewy author. Her books are not fluffy poolside reads. These are the books you read when you want to leave your life, no, the planet, and escape to somewhere else completely. Needless to say I was anxious to get my hands on this first novel in the new Apparatus Infernum Series.
Bronze Gods was my first steampunk, and I have to give kudos to any husband and wife who can not only write together, but survive the process and still like each other enough to continue the series. Like in Ann’s previous books, I enjoyed an alternative world that isn’t simply explained to me. Blissfully, there was no info-dumping. The reader learns the rules, the economy, and even the slang of this alternative London by experiencing them through well-developed characters. Further, I have to respect writing that’s intelligent enough to make me go look up vocabulary words: atavistic, inchoate, and empyreal. Yes, now I’m making you go look them up.
Even though this falls clearly into the steampunk family, it includes paranormal elements of fae magic and mystery. Regardless of the genre, this is a crime novel. We have two inspectors, Janus Mikani, and Celeste Ritsuko, the first female inspector in the entire criminal division. She’s tough and extremely methodical. She’s had to be to fight her way up to inspector status in an unapologetically chauvinistic society. I liked her. Mikani is messy and impulsive—but he knows how to cook and that is always a saving quality in a would-be hero. This is not a romance, but there is most definitely a romance budding between Mikani and Ritsuko over the course of the novel. It’s an extremely slow burn that will probably take the length of the whole series to come into bloom. In this installment it becomes character depth and set dressing. Parts of the plot moved slowly, but to me it felt like the pace slowed deliberately for the sake of detail and introduction to the world the Aguirres created—detail which I believe will be important in future books.
Bronze Gods was truly an introductory book. We have a storyline that is resolved on the surface, but I came away from the book with more questions than answers—questions that I expect will be answered in future installments. The Aguirres are just too meticulous to leave any hanging threads. One niggling fact (and this was the single thing that kept me from giving the book a solid “A”) was the fact that the significance of the title was not explained to my satisfaction. I believe titles have value and should reflect something important about the book. In this case it is a reference to long gone history, and repeatedly used as a punctuating expression, but wasn’t tied into the story itself.
Book two in the series, Silver Mirrors, is due out sometime in May 2014.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)