Review: Unseemly Science by Rod Duncan

April 22, 2015 3 stars, Book Review 6 ★★★

Review: Unseemly Science by Rod DuncanUnseemly Science by Rod Duncan
Series: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #2
Published by Angry Robot Books on May 5, 2015
Genres: Alternate History, Mystery
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
My Reviews in this series: The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

In the divided land of England, Elizabeth Barnabus has been living a double life - as both herself and as her brother, the private detective. Witnessing the hanging of Alice Carter, the false duchess, Elizabeth resolves to throw the Bullet Catcher’s Handbook into the fire, and forget her past. If only it were that easy!

There is a new charitable organisation in town, run by some highly respectable women. But something doesn’t feel right to Elizabeth. Perhaps it is time for her fictional brother to come out of retirement for one last case…? Her unstoppable curiosity leads her to a dark world of body-snatching, unseemly experimentation, politics and scandal. Never was it harder for a woman in a man’s world…

Unseemly Science picks up not long after the events of The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter. There are several plotlines going, a few which tie together and some that are left open by the end. It has to leave us wanting more right? While I enjoyed this installment I felt that the first book had more oomph but I definitely plan to continue reading. But I must say the promise of romance went largely unfulfilled. I thought I saw a mention of romance somewhere in a blurb or in the cover…maybe I’m mistaken. Anyways, I think I’m one of the hardest readers to please when it comes to romance. Often I find myself thinking there is too much but rarely do I think there is too little. And by the end of this second I really thought there was not enough. If you could even call it a romance (which I wouldn’t) it’s the slowest building one ever. But something is definitely going on between Elizabeth and John Farthing. Some readers will no doubt like that super slow development because it’s probably realistic considering the circumstances between the two of them.

Things to expect

– a much larger role for Elizabeth’s friend Julia Swain. I like that she was even more prominent of a character in this book because I feel that often books don’t give enough time to positive female friendships.
– several mysteries for Elizabeth to solve. One involves the leader of a women’s charity group that Julia recently joined. I personally felt the way in which Elizabeth became curious about this lady was just strange and forced. Hence a big chunk of the first part of the book did not work well for me.
– a law is soon to be passed that will require the extradition of all fugitives from the Kingdom to be deported from the Republic back to the Kingdom. Elizabeth is of course caught heavily in that mess.
– John Farthing seems to always pop up when she is in trouble and again he wants something from her – the bullet catchers handbook that she was given at the end of the first book.
– we see a character return from the first book and I think he’ll be sticking around. I’m all for this!
– Elizabeth still remains aloof to me as a character but I do believe we get closer to her in this novel.
– I’m a little bit confused by the time period. When I read the first book I assumed it was taking place during the Victorian time period. But in this book Elizabeth goes to the library and specifically asks for research reference journals from 1996 to 2001. I might be remembering the years wrong but they were definitely recent years. So maybe it just has a Victorian feel?

I can tell this is a series well worth sticking with. The characters are engaging and the mysteries are great to follow. The ending of Unseemly Science left me wanting to know just where Elizabeth will end up next as she always seems to be on the run.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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6 Responses to “Review: Unseemly Science by Rod Duncan”

  1. Litha Nelle

    Heh- I liked it just as well as the first installment- but I’m getting to be more appreciative (again) of unromantic books. Also, I loved the sci-fi add in of the chilling plot twist: I used to research the subject for school science papers. But it was definitely a slower start in this book than with The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter.
    Great review, Tabitha!
    ~Litha Nelle
    Litha Nelle recently posted…Early Critique: “Dreams of Shreds and Tatters” by Amanda DownumMy Profile

  2. Lynn

    I’m not sure why but this series just didn’t register on my radar. I might wait and see how it plays out, particularly as you weren’t as keen on this one as the first. See if it picks up a bit.
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…The Doll Maker by Richard MontanariMy Profile