Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: The Dark Victorian: Bones (Volume 2) by Elizabeth Watasin

The Dark Victorian: Bones (Volume 2)
by Elizabeth Watasin

In a Victorian mechanical and eldritch London, a black arts surgeon is ripping out the bones and organs of healthy poor folk to transplant into the afflicted bodies of the wealthy. 

Anti-vivisectionists battle with medical doctors, medical doctors condemn supernatural practitioners, and amidst it all the Bone Stealer hunts for his most elusive prize yet: the skeleton of a woman over six feet tall. 

Secret Commission agents Art, the artificial ghost, and Jim Dastard, the animated skull, rush to stop him before another woman dies. And Art, only six days living after being resurrected to serve the Secret Commission, might be that woman.

Length: 448 Pages
Genre(s): Crime, Fantasy, Steampunk
Date Published: March 2, 2013
Publisher: A-Girl Studio

My Review
The adventures of His Highness' supernatural agents Art, an artificial ghost only a few days old, and her partner Jim, an animated skull, continue. And I couldn't be more pleased. This time, while Art is still recuperating from the re-animationist case, she and Jim must deal with a bone stealer who uses his rather unique gift to remove and insert bones into another and adhere skin, muscle, tissue, and nerves without permanent damage - except to the one who unwillingly donates his or her bones.

I was delighted by the first book in this series. (Read my review of Risen here.) So, I was expecting to enjoy Bones as well. What I was not expecting was to absolutely fall in love with it! From the artwork to character development to the beautiful Victorian London scenes, it was impossible not to love this novel. 

I know Elizabeth Watasin did a great deal of research for this novel, but I have a feeling that she actually lives and breathes this era, that she sees airships when she looks up and carts and hansom cabs on cobblestone roads when she looks around.

The pace was perfect. We get to know more of not only Art and Jim, but the other characters as well. I was surprised, however, when the conclusion of the bone stealer case is revealed, for it seemed too soon. But, it made room for us to get to know some of the characters even better when they are not under the pressure of solving a case. And for that I'm grateful.

I admit I am most fascinated by Jim Dastard. As an animated skull with phantom limbs, his manner of speaking is honest and, at times, funny, once referring to Art's "Quaker tantrum." I was especially amused by the nausea in his phantom organs, and subsequent vomiting of coins, cigarettes, tobacco, and the like.
The introduction of Delphia, Jim's new "legs" was an enjoyable addition to this novel. She impressed me with her bravery and open mind to the Vesta and its occupants.

And speaking of the Vesta, one of the things that is most pleasing about The Dark Victorian series is the acceptance of unconventional relationships. While Art and Jim, two supernatural creatures, find not only acceptance, but friendship, among the staff and residents of the Vesta, it is equally satisfying that the other residents live without "community condemnation or social judgment."

Fans of steampunk will revel in the culture that is The Dark Victorian, while fans of fantasy will enjoy a good mystery laden with supernatural fantasy. 

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
About Elizabeth Watasin

Elizabeth Watasin is the acclaimed author of the Gothic steampunk series The Dark Victorian, The Elle Black Penny Dreads, and the creator/artist of the indie comics series Charm School, which was nominated for a Gaylactic Spectrum Award. A twenty year veteran of animation and comics, her credits include thirteen feature films, such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Princess and the Frog, and writing for Disney Adventures magazine. She lives in Los Angeles with her black cat named Draw, busy bringing readers uncanny heroines in shilling shockers, preternatural fantasies, and adventuress tales.

Follow the news of her latest projects at A-Girl Studio.


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