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Review: Esprit de Corpse – Ef Deal

Esprit de Corpse - Ef Deal

Genre: Steampunk, Paranormal

Reviewer: Lucy

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About The Book

What secrets lay beneath Parisian Streets? And who will kill to keep them? 

When a malfunctioning automaton runs full force into their locomotive on the new Paris-Orléans railway, Jacqueline Duval and her bohemian twin sister Angélique Laforge become embroiled in a mystery deeply rooted in their tragic past.

A polytech and famed engineering prodigy, Jacqueline is fascinated by the metal man, even more so when she discovers that it is powered not by steam, but by the supernatural. Her investigation puts the sisters on a path both dangerous and mysterious as they must foil a plot to employ the dead to power a mechanical army aimed at international conquest. 

Aid comes from unexpected sources as the twins rush to avert this engineered war, but will they be in time?

The Review

I am a complete sucker for a well-written blurb. Steampunk isn’t my usual fare, but the book description was very intriguing, and the story didn’t disappoint. Ef Deal gives us not one, but two, exceptional female main characters. Twins Angelique Laforge and Jacqueline Duval are accomplished, talented, and famous. They are utterly unique from one another as Jacqueline is an engineering genius and Angelique is an accomplished musician with a tragic past. 

The story opens with Angelique traveling on the train with her wolf, Jacqueline. They are attacked by a random automaton which seems to have no visible source of power. What follows is a well-written, brilliantly executed story that takes us on a wild ride through Ef Deal’s steampunk version of Paris’ underground. 

The characters are beautifully developed so that we not only understand Jacqueline’s engineering brilliance but her motivation: protect her sister, Angelique, and restore what peace and tranquility she can to her family’s existence. In Angelique, we get an unparalleled musical ability that was derailed by a violent act that has irrevocably changed her. 

The plot is wonderfully unique, taking little bits of various tropes and genres and weaving them into a well-paced, engaging story. There are hints of gothic novel with spooky undertones and dangerously romantic love interests, wrapped up in the engineering marvels typical of steam punk and shot through with a healthy dose of the paranormal in that there are werewolves and spirits and mystics, oh my! But through it all is an excellent writing style that keeps the story flowing, the characters developing, and the plot just twisty enough to be interesting but not crazy enough to lose the reader along the way. 

Esprit de Corpse by Ef Deal was an engaging read that takes us on a wild journey through a steampunk version of Paris as Angelique and Jacqueline try to solve the mystery of the out-of-control automaton that attacked them. The writing was excellent, with a unique plot, well-developed characters, and a perfect resolution. From first word to last, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! 

The Reviewer

I’m an avid reader who loves pretty much all genres except math textbooks. As a kid, my parents exposed me to everything from fairies, hobbits, and dragons to the biographies of interesting people around the world, interspersed with poetry, plays, and music. Into adulthood, I spent a lot of years with my nose buried in various textbooks. Now, I read whatever grabs my fancy.

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