To Be Released: February 2nd
If you haven't read the first book in The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series, there may be spoilers in this review for you. My review of The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter is here.
You know the weird sense of satisfaction that comes with putting the final piece in a puzzle? Or when you finally polish off a crossword, without once resorting to frantic Googling? That's the only way to describe the feeling I had when I finished this book- way too early, as it happens, but I was unable to put it down. Everything came into focus- not the way I had predicted, but in a flawless manner nonetheless.
I'm one of those people who only grudgingly give a book five stars. It's difficult for me to rate something so highly, likely due to my perfectionistic tendencies. But when I was finished with this book, I knew there was simply no other rating for it- The Custodian of Marvels was simply the perfect book for me. Between a heroine I've admired from the first book and daring exploits that may involve some former characters I thought had been left behind, this book had my recipe for bookish success.
The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'You’d have to be mad to steal from the feared International Patent Office. But that’s what Elizabeth Barnabus is about to try. A one-time enemy from the circus has persuaded her to attempt a heist that will be the ultimate conjuring trick.
'Hidden in the vaults of the Patent Court in London lie secrets that could shake the very pillars of the Gas-Lit Empire. All that stands in Elizabeth’s way are the agents of the Patent Office, a Duke’s private army and the mysterious Custodian of Marvels.
'Rod Duncan returns with the climactic volume of the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, the breathtaking alternate history series that began with the Philip K Dick Award-nominated The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter.'
Elizabeth Barnabus has managed to evade or escape any sticky situations she's fallen into before- but this will prove to be her most audacious yet. She may be eminently resourceful, but she will need help to pull off the scheme. Tinker, her young friend, comes to her aid again in this story, helping to set her on the right path. I never truly thought having a younger boy as a sidekick would work out as well as it did, but he fits perfectly into the storyline.
I had thought on the role of the International Patent Office, but dismissed them as a quirk of nature in the first book of this series. As a fan of excessive worldbuilding, I assumed they had to do with the plot, but not in a paramount manner. Suffice it to say, the organization has a lot to do with the storyline in this book, bringing about the return of yet another key character.
The Custodian of Marvels surpassed my expectations, and not in a minor way. Whereas I had anticipated an exceptional book, I instead was gifted a rather extraordinary one, filled with action, suspense, and returning characters that left me cheering. If you find yourself in dire need of a steampunk or alternate history series, I sincerely endorse the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series for your next reads!
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars for an absolutely marvelous steampunk heist!
Content: Ages 16+ for violence, theft, and banned books.
Page Count: 368 pages