A very good, historical fiction YA Fantasy.
I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next book in the series. The writing is well done, the world-building is good and the story is interesting. It contains compelling, well-formed characters that a reader can get invested in.
The story is set in 1889 in an alternative-world Paris. In this world, certain people are endowed with special abilities that allow them to exert power over items or people’s minds. These abilities are controlled by only a few houses that are members of a secret society called the Order of Babel.
Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is the main character. He is a wealthy hotel owner and leader of a small band of misfits that steal forged artifacts. Séverin believes the Order cheated him out of his claim as heir of House Vanth and wrongfully declared their line legally dead. He intends to find leverage to force the Order to re-do the test so he can claim his inheritance and restore his line.
When Hypnos, the heir of House Nyx, offers Séverin the chance to restore his lost inheritance in exchange for stealing a possibly dangerous object belonging to the Order, it’s an offer too good to pass up. His friends offer their help and they devise a risky plan to steal the object.
This book is a lot of fun to read. I had a hard time putting it down. The main character Séverin is a very accomplished and capable guy’s guy that people are drawn to. He could have come across as a jerk, but instead is extremely likeable. He isn’t afraid to show his friends how much he cares about them or how much their loyalty means to him. Even though there are several minor characters, the author does a good job of fleshing out their backgrounds and explaining what motivates them to follow Séverin.
Because this is a YA book, however, the bad guys do bad things but aren’t really super evil. There is plenty of action, but no excessive violence and no graphic sex scenes. I give the author kudos for including characters with diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as gay/bi characters.
I highly recommend you read this book!
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.