“The Red Plague Affair” by Lilith Saintcrow

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“The Red Plague Affair” by Lilith SaintcrowThe Red Plague Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
Series: Bannon and Clare #2
Published: 2013 by Orbit
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Steampunk
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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I read The Iron Wyrm Affair back in 2012 and adored it, and so when I saw that Lilith Saintcrow had written a sequel, I was excited to read it.

The Red Plague Affair is set several years after the first book.  Once again, Sorceress Prime Emma Bannon is called upon to serve Brittania.  With the help of her associate, the Mentath Archibald Clare, she investigates a mad scientist who has resurrected a virulent plague and threatens to unleash it on London’s populace.

What’s a mentath, you might ask?  In Saintcrow’s world, a mentath is a person whose superpower is logic.  Mr. Clare becomes a Sherlock Holmes type figure, and in this book, he confronts his rival and nemesis Dr. Vance, who can be seen as the steampunk version of Dr. Moriarty.

While the premise of the series is intriguing, The Red Plague Affair was disjointed and confusing.  It took more than a third of the book for me to even have a vague idea what was going on, and what Bannon and Clare were doing aside from having tea with a cast of colorful characters.  I do love a good cup of tea, but I expected a more cohesive story.There wasn’t any point that I felt gripped by the story, but I kept reading hoping that it would get better.  Sadly, it didn’t.  It was so jumbled that it was difficult to enjoy.  The little romantic threads from the first book completely died.  There was a hint about Emma’s bodyguard having some sort of mysterious past, but it wasn’t explained enough to make me care, and the subject was brushed over very quickly despite having been alluded to through the entire book.  Overall, I was disappointed, especially after enjoying the first book so much.

My advice is to read The Iron Wyrm Affair, but to stop there.

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