Review: Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven

Reviewed by Ronelle

As a Bonekeeper, Nathaniel Gordon haunts the borders of two worlds, acting as guardian for the dead and deterrent for grave robbers. Hideous experiments have rendered him barely human and society shrinks in horror from what he has become. The life he once led is over, the woman he once loved beyond his grasp…or so he thinks.

Standing at her father’s graveside, Lenore Kenward knows that from this day forward, her life will never be the same. Grave robbing runs rampant in London, so when the mysterious Guardian of Highgate appears at her side, she doesn’t hesitate to beg his protection of her father’s remains. But there’s something about this stranger…something achingly familiar.

Neither Lenore nor Nathaniel can keep their distance and they can’t deny the feelings sparking to life between them. When Lenore decides to pursue her dream of serving under the airship captain she’s worshipped since childhood, Nathaniel is hell-bent on keeping her safe. What starts out as a simple test-flight quickly becomes a journey into the mouth of Hell, where the risk of a new separation is high. Will the one secret reaming between them follow one or the other to their grave?

***

I came across Gaslight Hades while Amazon-stalking Grace Draven (I’m waiting for the next Master of Crows book, okay? Don’t judge me!) and the synopsis intrigued me. Now, I’ve been reluctant to delve into the worlds of ‘gaslamp’ or ‘steampunk’, mostly because Victorian era + steam tech = sorta weird in an uncomfortable mish-mashy kind of way. HOWEVER, for me at least, this novella was a great introduction that killed a number of my assumptions, and I will definitely be continuing the series.

Maybe because it reminds me of Haldir, the sexy elf in Tolkien’s The Two Towers (as he’s portrayed in the movie), but there’s just something about a tall, thin, reserved hero with long hair that I find ridiculously attractive. Sure, Nathaniel does not have pointy elf ears, but he fits the rest of the bill and I loved him immediately. In addition to his unique appearance, he’s a nice balance of brave, somber, and saucy, and doesn’t waste a million pages waffling about what he wants. Lenore was strong and independent, two qualities I always like in a heroine, and she had no problem abandoning social norms for what—and who—she wanted. She actually learned from her past mistake and owned up to it, another thing I liked about her. As this was a novella of less than 40k words, I wasn’t expecting a ton of fleshing-out with these two, but there was enough to make them interesting and unique. The chemistry between them is instantaneous and the way Ms. Draven builds it up is just perfect. I’m all-around satisfied with how Lenore and Nathaniel ended up, and if you’re a fan of the HEA, you will be, too!

As for the world they inhabit, there were just enough hints and details to intrigue me but not so many that I was overwhelmed. I enjoyed the mix of realism and magic and I also appreciated that I didn’t have to look up terms right and left in an attempt to figure out what bizarreness was happening. Which, honestly, was another reason I’ve been shy of this genre. Ms. Draven described things in a way that made them comfortable, easy to grasp, and much less outlandish than I was expecting. I love this steampunky London. And the Redan? Flat-out scary. I’m definitely looking forward to learning more about it, though!

I think I’ve just decided that typos are a thing that is probably going to happen in every book I read forevermore. For me, they’re more noticeable in shorter works like this one simply because there are fewer words overall. While I didn’t spot a ton of typos in Gaslight Hades, there were enough of the usual: missing words, words out of order, and the random wonky punctuation. I’m annoyed by this, but I suppose it comes with the reviewer territory at this point.

Bottom line: Gaslight Hades was another wonderful offering by Ms. Draven, and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of this series. If you like Victorian culture with a dash of the paranormal, then this is definitely worth a read. I also highly recommend it for readers just beginning to explore Gaslamp, as it isn’t too overwhelmingly…uh…gaslamp-y.

Rating: A-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Gaslight Hades
by Grace Draven
Release Date: March 10, 2017

 

Comments

  1. Shelly Browne says:

    I’ve only read her Wraith Kings series but this sounds equally delightful.

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