Of Magic And Engineering

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Of Magic And Engineering

Part of the problem I had with OMaE was that it was all over the place. This is a short novella, just over 60 pages in length and Brittan tries to cram so many plots into it that I'm never sure if I'm going up or down. Roland comes back a different man, Prudence tries to reconcile her feelings, her magic cries danger, Roland cries danger, betrayal, a weird orphaned baby, a magic goat's head and lust enough to make a Bordello Madame weep--all crammed into this short novella.

The steampunk elements mostly come in the form of Roland (though I won't say how) and some of the gee-gaws that are mentioned throughout. Other than Roland none of the other elements felt integrated into the story fully; Prudence's magic ('mana' which is awkward and jarred me from the story every time) is mostly of the small kind with Goat being the biggest display I think. The aforementioned child literally comes out of nowhere, is annoying and seems only to serve as a plot device to keep Roland and Prudence from having sex.

I was genuinely interested in seeing how Roland and Prudence would get past her bad history with him. The vagueness of what he used to say and do to her makes it easier to see why she'd push past the bad memories, but it also cheapens the fear and hatred she felt for him to begin with. Brittan's writing was uneven much of the time, focusing on the wrong things and shoving the more interesting elements into a corner.

Spending the last few years without her cruel, abusive husband Roland hasn't been easy for Prudence, but she's learn to make do if it means never seeing him again. Until he unexpectedly comes back a completely different man. A nicer, gentler man claiming to have memory loss and telling her there's a danger hunting him. Toss in some magic, steampunk elements and a man hellbent on getting what he wants and you have OF MAGIC AND ENGINEERING, a quasi-steampunk fantasy historical romance that isn't sure what it wants to be.

Book Blurb for Of Magic And Engineering

Prudence has spent the last three years abandoned by her husband, selling off anything of value and getting advice from an undead goat.

The joys of life, really.

But even this is about to come crashing down now that Roland has returned. He's fixing up Balloc Manor and, even more worrying, being kind about it. She'd rather he went back to wherever he came from, but when Roland claims that both their lives are in danger, they must work together or risk it all.

It won't be easy. She has a dozen questions, but wonders if even one of his answers can be believed. Can she trust him? Will he tell her the full story? And what in the hell is that awful ticking noise that seems to surround him? If she doesn't find out soon, it could be the end of all of them.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2012 3.00