Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Novella Review: Brother's Ruin by Emma Newman

Brother's Ruin
(Industrial Magic #1)
Emma Newman
Release: March 14, 2017
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The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben's life and their own livelihoods.

But Benjamin Gunn isn't a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect.

When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.

Brother's Ruin is the first in a new gaslamp fantasy series by Emma Newman.

I'm going to be honest. I'm sad that I didn't enjoy this novella as much as I wanted to. It had the potential to be great (the series still has the potential to become great as this was only the first book), but I was left disappointed by the end. And most of my disappointment revolves around one thing that happens about halfway through. 

Brother’s Ruin started out fantastically! It started with great family dynamics where everyone cares about each other and put each other first. It's not often that you read a book where the heroine is driven to do things in the best interest of herself and her family. I really loved the brother and sister relationship between Charlotte and Benjamin.

I really liked Charlotte at first. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to work for it. She isn't afraid to go against societal norms. And I adored that she was happily engaged to a guy of her own free will and choice. It’s so rare to read a story where a girl is looking forward to her upcoming nuptials and not trying to get out of them. It was really refreshing that she was in love with a guy already when the story starts.

As I said, I loved her at the first. Then the thing happened about halfway and it drained all of my enjoyment out of the story. What's that thing you ask? Charlotte meets this handsome guy and it's like her personality did a 180. She's suddenly a different person from the one that I liked so much at first. She becomes infatuated with this guy and the story just went down hill from there for me. Can fiction quit it with the freaking love triangles already?!? This story would have worked perfectly with a nice guy she doesn’t have any feelings about whatsoever. There are such things as platonic relationships but instead we have to suffer through a love triangle.

Overall, I liked the story. The world and the magic system was great and the mystery was good. This series has potential to become something amazing. I'm just not sure I want to continue because of the borked romantic plot line. I'll probably wait to make that decision after people I trust have read book two.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  3 / 5 Stars

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