Title: The Dark Victorian: Risen
Series/Universe: The Dark Victorian, Volume 1
Author: Elizabeth Watasin
Publisher: A-Girl Studio
Publication date: December 31st 2013
Page Count: 136 pages
Age Rating: Adult (blood, gore, violence, and brief nudity)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: The Dark Victorian: Risen
“Way will open.”
She is Artifice.
A resurrected criminal and agent of HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission.
An artificial ghost.
He is Jim Dastard.
The oldest surviving agent of the Secret Commission.
An animated skull.
A mentor to newly resurrected agents.
In a mechanical and supernatural London, agents of Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, their criminal pasts wiped from their memories, are resurrected to fight the eldritch evils that threaten England. Amidst this turmoil, Jim Dastard and his new partner Artifice must stop a re-animationist raising murderous dead children. As Art and Jim pursue their quarry, Art discovers clues about her past self, and through meeting various intriguing women—a journalist, a medium, a prostitute, and a mysterious woman in black—where her heart lies. Yet the question remains: What sort of criminal was she? A new beginning, a new identity, and new dangers await Art as she fights for the Secret Commission and for her second life.
Experience female detective mysteries with a Victorian superheroine:
A gaslamp fantasy in a steampunk, paranormal London, follow the dangerous adventures of an uncanny female sleuth and her senior skull partner set in the same alternate world as Elizabeth Watasin’s Victorian Gothic series, The Elle Black Penny Dreads.
Learn more about the debut of this intriguing, steampunk lesbian series:
It is 1880; black arts sorcery had its time to grow in England and to battle the eldritch evils threatening, HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission is born. Executed criminals are brought back to life without memories to fight as agents, and among those resurrected is Artifice, a six foot tall strongwoman, Quaker, and artificial ghost, guided by her senior partner, Jim Dastard, the animated skull.
The Dark Victorian is a steampunk paranormal detective series featuring senior agent Jim Dastard, a top hat wearing talking skull, and his new partner, an artificial ghost named Artifice (Art for short). Both are resurrected criminals who have been given a “second life” working for Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, dedicating their talents to protecting crown and country from supernatural threats.
The Dark Victorian: Risen is the first volume in the series and sees Jim and Art being assigned as partners and working their first case together – a string of gruesome deaths attributed to a rogue re-animator.
This book had fantastic voice – it actually felt authentically Victorian in both writing style and dialogue. The book itself is quite short, only approx. 136 pages, but there’s so much being introduced, a whole cast of interesting and sure to be reoccurring characters and a lot of very detailed world-building, that the story felt a bit weighed down in parts. Despite all the information being thrown at me at such a fast pace (or perhaps because of?) I found myself captivated from beginning to end.
I will have to say my favorite part of the book was Art. Because the resurrected members of the Secret Commission don’t have their personal memories, she’s a mystery and the reader gets to follow along as she slowly discovers who she is/was. So far Art has been full of intriguing, and sometimes seemingly contradictory, characteristics – she has a romantic preference for women, she seems a proper Quaker, but she was some kind of criminal (she hasn’t recalled what her crime was yet), she has a prim, lady-like bearing and yet she cuts a fine figure being extremely tall and well muscled for a woman, not to mention she’s very strong and can hold her own in a brawl with the best of them.
All in all, The Dark Victorian: Risen is a promising introduction to what seems like an extremely intriguing steampunk paranormal detective series. I can’t wait to discover more about the mysterious Art and that’s reason enough for me to want to read the next volume in the series.
ReAnimator Coffee Foundation Blend – a bitter raw chocolate flavor combined with subtle fruity, almost sweet, notes. The combination of flavors makes for an interesting and compelling cup of coffee – very similar to how the different aspects of Art’s character discovered in The Dark Victorian: Risen come together to start forming a picture of one very intriguing woman