Title: Nefertiti’s Heart
Series/Universe: Artifact Hunters: Book One
Author: A.W. Exley
Publisher: A.W. Exley
Publication date: February 11th 2013
Page Count: 299 pages
Age Rating: Adult (violence, gore, mentions of past sexual assault, and sexually explicit scenes)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Downloaded FREE from Amazon
Publisher’s page: Nefertiti’s Heart
Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.
1861. Cara has a simple mission in London – finalise her father’s estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.
Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara’s demons, or could he lay them to rest?
Self-preservation fuels Cara’s search for the gem known as Nefertiti’s Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.
In Nefertiti’s Heart by A.W. Exley, a steamy steampunk romantic adventure, a bold heroine with a traumatic past begins her search for unique and possibly dangerous artifacts once belonging to her father, her path crossing frequently with a daring Viscount who’s interested in the same artifacts and confusingly persistent in his personal pursuit of her as well.
I loved this book. I was already a bit of a fan of Exley’s work after having read Obsidian Eyes (see my review here) and loving how detailed the author’s descriptions were, something I really enjoy in steampunk novels. The trend continues in Nefertiti’s Heart with meticulous detail given to fantastical mechanical items and gorgeous steampunk outfits, really painting an intricate picture for readers. The book does start out kind of slow and a little wordy as the author introduces you to the main characters’ motivations and the steampunk, alternative Victorian setting, but starts to pick up around the middle and ends strong.
There isn’t a whole lot of action in this book; most of Cara’s search for Nefertiti’s Heart is the scholarly kind, utilizing books and journals. There’s some side jobs she engages in, but there’s not anymore action to be found there either – all the action really takes place in the climax of the book. There are, however, a few gruesome murders viewed through the eyes of the killer, so there is some blood and gore.
The romantic plotline reads very much like your classic romance novel with a plucky heroine and a dashing man and some seriously spicy scenes as the two can’t resist each other – there’s even a heaving bosom thrown in there and everything.
I’m going to throw out a trigger warning here since it plays such a huge role in the plot of the book. Cara is a rape survivor and her past trauma plays heavily into how she reacts and interacts with the world at large, society, and her love interest. She has flashbacks and has trouble with intimacy, something she and her Viscount deal with together. It’s all handled very well, but I just wanted readers to be aware that it plays a major role throughout the whole book; it’s not something that can really be skipped or skimmed over.
Overall, Nefertiti’s Heart is a very promising beginning to the Artifact Hunter’s series and I’d love to read the rest of the books. The romance, steampunk, and vaguely mystical aspects of the book all work together very well and the bold, courageous Cara makes for a fantastic and interesting main character to follow.
An artifact known as Nefertiti’s Heart plays a very central part to the climax of the Nefertiti’s Heart, but the heart that really stands out in this book is that of our heroine, Cara Devon. Cara’s been through so much in her life – nightmarish personal betrayal of the worst kind at the hands of her very own father, further compounded by the way society and the justice system turned their collective backs on her. But Cara did not let it break her, she grew into a strong, fierce, independent and adventurous young woman. To celebrate the unbreakable spirit of Cara I recommend Trücup Coffee Heart Of Bold Roast Coffee – like silk wrapped steel, this lovely bold roast coffee is tempered with a low-acid profile for a strong, smooth finish.