Book Reviews, Fiction Blog

Indie Book Review: Dead Magic by Kara Jorgensen

dead-magicDead Magic (IMD #4) by Kara Jorgensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dead Magic is the fourth novel in Kara Jorgensen’s Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. Since many of you may not have read the complete series, I will keep this review vague to avoid spoilers. If you would like to read my reviews of the other books in the series, I’ve included links to them at the bottom of this post.

Continuing the pattern established in previous books, Dead Magic leaves behind Eilian and Hadley Sorrell to once again focus on the lives of Immanuel Winter and Emmeline Jardine. Dead Magic marks the series’ grand entrance into the world of (you guessed it) magic. Though hints of magic have occurred throughout the other books, this novel dives deep into the rules of magic and its practitioners. Both Immanuel and Emmeline must learn to harness the magic within themselves as well as prevent a darker magic from consuming them… and the rest of London.

As always, Jorgensen’s characters are complex and well-crafted. Though I’d already spent much time with Immanuel and Emmeline in previous novels, Jorgensen still manages to reveal more about them through the obstacles they face in Dead Magic. It was deeply gratifying to see Immanuel start to heal and watch his relationship with Adam Fenice grow. Likewise, I appreciated that Emmeline remained her headstrong self, even when her stubbornness lead her astray.

Despite being separated by Immanuel and Emmeline’s perspectives, the plot of Dead Magic masterfully weaves together. The story contains a perfect balance of physical action, magical action, romance, and introspection. While I can’t say any of the events were huge surprises, the story held my interest from the start, and I enjoyed every page. With each novel, Jorgensen’s deft skill with words deepens. She has a great ability to write in a way that is both clear and lyrical.

Overall, Dead Magic is a wonderful addition to the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. I feel like every time I read one of these novels, I pronounce the latest installation my favorite, but I have to do it again here — the series just keeps getting better and better! Highly recommended for readers who enjoy steampunk, Victorian era London, historical/dark fantasy and a dash of steamy romance.

Ingenious Mechanical Devices reviews: The Earl of Brass (IMD #1), The Winter Garden (IMD #2), The Earl and the Artificer (IMD #3)

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dead-magicIf you are interested in reading Dead Magic and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it at my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.

Book Reviews, Fiction Blog

Indie Book Review: The Earl and the Artificer by Kara Jorgensen

eata-final-coverThe Earl and the Artificer (IMD #3) by Kara Jorgensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free, electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SPOILER ALERT: While this review does not contain major spoilers for The Earl and the Artificer, it does contain spoilers for The Earl of Brass, the first novel in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series (you can read my review of The Earl of Brass HERE).

The Earl and the Artificer by Kara Jorgensen follows Eilian and Hadley Sorrell to Brasshurst Hall (Eilian’s family home) in Folkesbury following their marriage. Both characters are struggling with their newfound roles as Lord and Lady Dorset. Eilian fears that he will never live up to his noble role, nor be a proper husband for Hadley, and Hadley is concerned that she will never succeed as a proper society lady and always be viewed as an opportunistic upstart.

Jorgensen’s character development with Eilian and Hadley is logical and all-too-relatable. Their fears and concerns tap into the deeper fears of rejection and desire for acceptance that all humans feel in one realm or another. Yet, despite their insecurities and a few incompatibilities, they manage to stay supportive of and caring toward one another. Their relationship is not perfect, but through their dedication and devotion, it remains a relationship the reader will admire.

While at Brasshurst Hall, Eilian and Hadley do their best to fit in with the wider genteel society. Through these efforts, the reader is introduced to a new cast of characters. Most notably, Jorgensen provides us with a new antagonist, Randall Nash (Eilian’s second cousin) and a few new friends in Nadir Talbot (a romance author) and his cousin, Mrs. Rhodes.

What I liked most about these secondary characters is that they are exceedingly complex. Jorgensen explores their personalities from various perspectives, and the reader can find relatable and despicable qualities in each one. Personally, Nadir was my favorite. Through his character, Jorgensen commented on several social themes (including gender, race, and imperialism), and it delighted my inner sociologist.

Overall, the plot of the novel moved at a steady pace, though I did not find it quite as captivating as the story lines of The Earl of Brass and The Winter Garden. To me, the other novels had higher stakes and more action throughout, which made them more gripping. However, The Earl and the Artificer has a nice elevation to it. The drama, and the danger, grows as the novel progresses, and moments that seemed insignificant before become key parts of the plot toward the end. While I saw some of the twists coming, there were a few that surprised and delighted me.

In sum, The Earl and the Artificer is a fitting addition to the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. Fans of Eilian and Hadley will enjoy watching their characters and relationship grow. Fans of the steampunk genre will be entranced by the ominous Brasshurst Hall, eccentric Nadir Talbot, and dangerous turn of events. Highly recommend for anyone with a love of steampunk, historical fiction, and mystery novels.

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You can find out more about Kara Jorgensen on her website, and you can read more about her inspiration for The Earl and the Artificer here.


eata-final-coverIf you are interested in reading The Earl and the Artificer and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it at my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.

Book Reviews, Fiction Blog

Indie Book Review: The Winter Garden by Kara Jorgensen

the winter gardenThe Winter Garden by Kara Jorgensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

The Winter Garden (The Ingenious Mechanical Devices Book 2) by Kara Jorgensen is the sequel to The Earl of BrassWhile it is not necessary to have read The Earl of Brass to understand and enjoy The Winter Garden, I highly recommend it. Not only is it an exciting and intriguing read (see my review for more), having read The Earl of Brass gave me a better understanding of the world of The Winter Garden as well as gave me a creative respect for the way Jorgensen interwove the lives and stories of the characters from both novels.

The Winter Garden begins with young scholar Immanuel Winter saving Emmeline Jardine from drowning. In order to save Emmeline’s life, Immanuel must use a mysterious family heirloom, and after he does so, he and Emmeline are inexplicably bound together. Eventually, Immanuel and Emmeline are taken captive and must work together to escape and later discover the identity of their captor and how to permanently free themselves from the threat of his clutches.

Once again, Jorgensen has crafted complex and realistic characters. Immanuel and Emmeline could not be more different: he is a thoughtful, compassionate scholar and she is a self-interested, spoiled socialite. However, both characters are sympathetic and both learn to overcome their weaknesses and evolve into the people they are meant to be. Likewise, the supporting characters are well-rounded and have excellent chemistry with the protagonists and each other.

My favorite aspect of The Winter Garden is that Jorgensen expanded into new facets of the steampunk genre. In The Earl of Brass, Jorgensen featured steampunk technology, biomechanical limbs, and even explored a fantastical utopian society. In The Winter GardenJorgensen explores the “darker” side of steampunk, introducing readers to deadly mechanical devices, a spiritualist society, and a touch of what the “real world” would deem magic. These new subjects ramp up the styling and tone of the novel and set it apart from The Earl of Brass, while still keeping it true to the world Jorgensen created.

While some of the steampunk elements of the story are new, Jorgensen revisited similar themes from The Earl of Brass (albeit in different ways). Once again, the reader is introduced to a loving, respectful homosexual relationship, this time between two of the main characters. Likewise, Jorgensen revisits feminist themes, providing strong, female characters and reminding the reader that one can be a strong, capable woman and still have traditionally feminine values (ie: appreciation for fashion and desire to be a wife and mother). Additionally, Jorgensen grapples with questions of responsibility and power and how they should be executed in ethical ways.

The Winter Garden is an engaging, theme-driven novel full of vivacious characters and fantastical steampunk elements. If you are looking for a novel that is clever, thought-provoking, and just plain beautiful in the imagination, look no further.

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the winter gardenIf you are interested in reading The Winter Garden and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it at my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.