The Golden Spider – Anne Renwick
London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.
Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.
After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?
Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.
Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.
Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.
Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.
Lady Amanda is a woman in a man’s world. Victorian world. She is brilliant, cunning, and headstrong. Lord Sebastian Thornton is stubborn, brilliant, and grumpy – reminds me of a British man to a ‘t.’ I liked them both actually. Even when they were being typical romance stupid. The supporting characters were all interesting and contributed to the story. I want to say I really appreciated the complicated family dynamic that Amanda had. It brought depth to the story that contributed to an enjoyable set of characters.
I loved this world. The author did an amazing job weaving in steampunk aspects and Victorian era issues. Loved the medical aspect but fair warning, there were big medical terms tossed around like they were going out of business. Most weren’t absolutely necessary to the story or understanding it but knowing the terms helped bring greater appreciation to aspects of the heroine’s and hero’s struggle and their attachment. The mystery was great! I was so sure I know who it was but the author tripped me up in the middle and for a little bit I doubted myself – in the end I was right but that little trip up was appreciated.
The one drawback to this book was the romance. Amanda and Sebastian are great. I really liked them together but how they got together, jeez it was such a cliche romance. It was almost painful at parts that it was hard to reconcile the romance with the mystery/medical terms. It was just that over the top for me. I really felt like this book followed some sort of romance formula which was highly disappointing considering the other aspects of the book. After they share their first kiss, it just went downhill on the romance side for me.
Bit of a slow start but once it picks up it doesn’t stop. The writing is engaging and easy to follow (warning about the medical terms). Honestly once I hit a certain part I could stop reading. I stayed up later than I meant to reading it and woke up the next morning to finish. Once I went over the initial slowness I read this book in a few days because I just had to know. It felt like watching a movie in my head at times. The author really did a great job building the world and describing the scenes.
Despite the romance being too much of a Victorian romance the rest of the book’s aspects were too good to give it anything less! This deserves the 4 stars and is totally a great read. I really enjoyed it! If you want romance/mystery all in a steampunk world, this is a must read for you! I look forward to more from this author.
I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.
Guest review contributed by Creating Worlds with Words. This blogger offers book reviews as well as chapter critique exchanges. Occasionally, portions of her writing appear in the feed.