Author: Anna Butler
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 02/16/2015
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Alternate Universe/Alternate World, Gay Romance, Historical, Steampunk
When Captain Rafe Lancaster is invalided out of the Britannic Imperium’s Aero Corps after crashing his aerofighter during the Second Boer War, his eyesight is damaged permanently, and his career as a fighter pilot is over. Returning to Londinium in late November 1899, he’s lost the skies he loved, has no place in a society ruled by an elite oligarchy of powerful Houses, and is hard up, homeless, and in desperate need of a new direction in life.
Everything changes when he buys a coffeehouse near the Britannic Imperium Museum in Bloomsbury, the haunt of Aegyptologists. For the first time in years, Rafe is free to be himself. In a city powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston, and where powerful men use House assassins to target their rivals, Rafe must navigate dangerous politics, deal with a jealous and possessive ex-lover, learn to make the best coffee in Londinium, and fend off murder and kidnap attempts before he can find happiness with the man he loves.
I loved the imagining of the world that exists in the Gilded Scarab. It was fantastical and yet kept many of the actual historic events despite the fact that this is definitely not our world as we know it.
Rafe is an excellent character and I loved his outlook on life. Despite his injury, he picked himself back up and remained true to himself. Ned is also a decent fellow and I liked him very much. I liked how their relationship progressed. There are many characters in this book, and all were well thought out.
So why isn’t the book 4 stars or better for me? Well, I found it slow at times. Rafe doesn’t even buy the coffee house until more than half way through the book. The action doesn’t happen until the last 15% or so, and the rest doesn’t really live up to the blurbs insinuation of excitement. As well there are plot lines that are left dangling, especially concerning Rafe’s House entanglements. Goodreads does not indicate this is going to be part of a series, so I don’t see anything being tied up in future books. I also don’t think the name really fits the book. The gilded scarab had very little to do with the major plot lines.
However, as I said, I enjoyed the story, the world and the characters. It is definitely worth the read and steampunk fans will not be disappointed in that aspect.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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