Review: Silver Mirrors by A.A. Aguirre

silver mirrors by aa aguirreFormat read: ebook borrowed from the library
Formats available: ebook, paperback, mass market paperback
Genre: Steampunk
Series: Apparatus Infernum, #2
Length: 337 pages
Publisher: Ace
Date Released: April 29, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

As powerful magic comes creeping back, dangerous days are dawning…

Criminal Investigation Division inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive. Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, apparently as a result of magic released during the CID inspectors’ desperate interruption of an ancient ritual. The fabric of the world has been unsettled, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate.

They soon discover that matters are worse than they imagined. Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and mad elementals are running amok. As the chaos builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts—and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide…

My Review:

Bronze Gods by A.A. AguirreI absolutely adored Bronze Gods (reviewed here) the first book in the Apparatus Infernum series. While I certainly enjoyed Silver Mirrors, it didn’t grab me quite as much. I loved the magical whodunnit aspects of the first book, so this story lost focus for me when the authors took their city detectives out of the city and sent them on a pirate adventure.

The fish were a little bit too far out of water, pun definitely intended.

It’s not that Ritsuko and Mikani don’t make interesting adventurers, they do. But the scope of the adventure took them out of their place, and I wasn’t done exploring the city yet. Also, Silver Mirrors is a very direct sequel to Bronze Gods, and while I loved that book, it’s been a year and I don’t recall every detail. Which would have helped.

On the other hand, Silver Mirrors has some great lines, like: “Nobody ever tells you that adventures are exhausting, messy, and inconvenient.” Which this adventure certainly is for all the parties involved.

The story begins because the underground trains are screaming. I don’t mean the brakes, I mean the actual trains themselves. Sort of like having your car start telling you how depressed it is, only very, very loudly.

There are two things going on; 1) all the steampowered and magically powered technology in this world is powered by elemental spirits, and something has made those spirits unhappy. 2) the arcane ritual that Ritsuko and Mikani broke up in Bronze Gods wasn’t exactly completed cleanly, so there’s a mess of arcane energy floating around and looking for trouble.

Which both does and doesn’t explain everything. Our investigators are sure that there’s a connection, but by the time everyone agrees to that premise, the trouble is so bad that they have to go to the ends of the earth to solve the problem at its heart.

And that’s how the pirates come into the adventure. Only pirates are willing to go someplace where the elemental laws have gone topsy turvy, and only if there’s enough profit in it. In this case, the profit being that Mikani owes the pirate queen a really big favor.

Then there’s the politics, which are even deadlier than the elementals gone mad. Even in the midst of utter chaos, there is always someone more than willing to use the chaos for their own ends–no matter how many corpses they leave in their wake.

Escape Rating B: I enjoyed Silver Mirrors, but not nearly as much as Bronze Gods. There may have been one too many plots upon plots in the political aspects of the story. Also, the whole “elementals gone mad” part of the story didn’t quite grab me. That the people of Hy Braesil have based their entire technology on enslaving elemental spirits but were unaware of it twiggedmy suspension of belief meter.

The development of the relationship between Mikani and Ritsuko is fascinating. They are partners, but the depth of their partnership surprises even them. It’s clear that they love each other, but they have become so enmeshed in each other’s lives that they are completely afraid to say anything about what they feel. And yet, their partnership is utterly rock solid. They practically need each other to keep going. I hope that the authors can keep their relationship growing and changing without falling into romance too fast. Watching them teeter is terrific!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

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