This book promised to be the perfect fit for me. Steampunk, check. Strong female character, check. Bi racial couple, check. Bechdel test, pass. Lovely cover, check. Okay, the last isn't really needed for a good read but it certainly helps with my expectations. And the story did deliver.
We have our very competent Dr who got ghosted by her love when he came down with a mysterious illness. It is all the fault of a blue frog from deep in the Amazon jungle. I would have liked a few more tension filled moments between the two but their romance is sufficient for the story which more revolves around the mystery of the blue frog.
I can't believe I'm going to write this as I hate commas but I thought there could have been a more judicious application of my arch nemesis as there is occasionally an odd phrasing that could have been helped with a little more grammar.
Anne has created a very rich world but is great in that she lets us figure it out for ourselves. I hate people who tell too much instead of just letting us exist in the world. That is what happens here with references to mechanical pigeons as communication and Aether that allows for things not capable usually in this world. I love the tension with the two girls who are chasing after our love interest. The author doesn't shy away from using medical jargon but gives enough for us to understand. It certainly gives another layer or reality as this is two colleagues working together, of course they would have their own language.
Sarah, a secondary character by far steals the show in this book. I'd be happy to call her a friend any day.
I did think it funny that the bad guys were from a country that were actually allies with England at that stage. It made me realise how much US media has biased our view of some countries.
The answer to the mystery is quintessentially steampunk. Which I loved.
I didn't like that our very self assured Dr apologised for her love interest being a douche bag. He should have written. They also did the mistake I find in so many movies. They spend too much time kissing when they should be hurrying to fix their problems. But then I'm not a romantic in real life and it jolts me out of the fairy tale when they do something so silly as play nookie instead of apprehending the bad guys.
I know I've whined but that isn't a bad thing. I really got involved into this book and highly invested in their story which means this book is a complete success even if some things annoyed me. I'm glad I wasn't disappointed by my check list. Five stars.