This one looked really promising, but I didn’t enjoy it. By 25% I can usually tell if I book is going to become more enjoyable or continue as a slog, and this one was definitely the latter.
My first issue was the the characters. Miss Constance Haltwhistle is… annoying. Brash, rude, entirely self-centered and expecting the world to revolve around her. She’s also puzzlingly supposed to be both completely sheltered and innocent AND a successful weapons dealer. Those don’t really go together. J.F. Trusdale just sort of sits back and let her steamroll over him. He’s also puzzlingly not a spy, but impersonating his dead brother (who was a spy) at the request of his brother’s agency… which, would make him a spy, right?
I wasn’t a fan of the writing style – it was obviously trying very hard to be funny but for me, it just fell flat. Some of the steampunk details (like the carriage that serves breakfast) were cool — but also a bit confusing. Why have horses at all if the thing already uses steam power for the breakfast cooking and transforming? The steampunk details also didn’t really seem to mesh well with the setting. And the worldbuilding in general was spotty.
I will say that a lot of people will probably really enjoy the style of humor employed here, even though I’m not one of them.
*Thanks to NetGalley and CamCat Publishing for providing an e-arc for review.