I won an uncorrected proof of Silver Mirrors from Ann Aguirre’s Reviewer Giveaway in return for an honest review. Many thanks to the authors (A.A. Aguirre is a pseudonym for Ann and her husband Andres) for giving away nine different books to fans.
Silver Mirrors is book two of the Apparatus Infernum series. Release date: April 29, 2014.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work as Criminal Investigation Division (CID) inspectors, an organization that tries to protect the population from the dangerous magical beings that sometimes intrude on the mundane world. The problem lies in the amount of inexplicable happenings and the support the CID gets, but still Mikani and Ritsuko managed to achieve their last mission–barely. They lived, but neither of them believe the plot they halted is truly over.
Instead of getting a break, their success earns them a new job. Dangerous things are happening in the city–spreading fear and panic among the populace. And since the problem might be tied to the events the investigators stopped, they’re the best ones for the job–even though they have no idea what’s wrong.
The troubles seem to be coming from the Winter Isle, so that’s where Mikani and Ritsuko head, determined to uncover the source of the disturbances before the cities riot and burn. Each new thing they learn only adds to the difficulties, with cragger pirates raiding the seas in greatly increased numbers, the elementals powering machines breaking free, and the wealthy Houses concentrating on profit over the protection of human lives. The investigators will have to trace these disasters to their source–and along the way, survive the enemies the investigation earns them.
In the first book, Mikani and Ritsuko were new partners, so in this book, they have the chance to learn a little more about each other and their pasts. Their relationship still has the tension developed at the end of the last book–even as they learn to trust each other more, circumstances and personal flaws create a wavering footing. And any time to talk is snatched between battles and escapes. Also introduced are a wealth of characters from Mikani’s past, some fascinating people in their own right, as well as support for developing the main pair.
The steampunk setting, a world with elementals bound to machines and crystals for anything from transportation to communication, is rich, detailed, and wonderfully strange. The magic comes from another world, one that used to overlap ours and was separated by the mysterious Architect–so it filters in dashes and remnants, an uneasy truce. Much of the way the world works, its inner cogs and wheels, are secrets carefully kept from the public, but the investigators go where they’re not wanted, and share the secrets they uncover with the reader, one puzzle at a time. Everything is woven seamlessly together–character development, plot, and world-building–to create characters you’d like to have a drink with, a conflict that creates real tension, and a book that’s hard to put down.
A must-read for fans of steampunk and intelligent investigations–after you read Bronze Gods.