Where did you get the book from: e-ARC from author
Release date: Out now
A Victorian Steampunk/Paranormal adventure with strong elements of romance…
Lady Lily d’Bulier is prim, proper, and prefers to think of herself as pragmatic rather than timid. And avoiding life-threatening situations at all costs is just plain practical. But everything changes when Lord Adair tracks her down in London; searching for answers he seems to think she has.
Greyston Adair is a blackguard and a smuggler, although British Customs will have to catch him red-handed to prove the latter. Fortunately, the dirigibles they float around in have never been able to get near his air dust.
Hell is rising, One Demon at a Time…
With Lady Ostrich hunting them, and the mystery of how their lives tie back to Cragloden Castle and the powerful McAllister clan, Lily has no option but to throw propriety to the wind and run off with Greyston to Scotland, away from the immediate danger and toward possible answers.
*blurb taken from Goodreads*
When we received the request for a review of this book, I was instantly drawn to the blurb and the excerpt the author provided.
A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones has strong romantic elements, but the romance is not the main focus of the story. I kind of wish the romance was the main focus as I thought the characters and the romance was the strongest element of the book, and the worldbuilding was the weakest.
I really liked the characters that Claire Robyns created. The heroine, Lily, has had these strange visions all her life and she’s never been able to explain them. Apart from that, Lily’s life has been utterly proper until Lord Greyston Adair appears in her life. Lord Adair is a mysterious character at first, and I got so confused at the beginning because I couldn’t figure out where the story was going.
And that’s where my issues with the worldbuilding comes in. It had its good parts with the descriptions of the drones, especially Anna and Neco – drones that belong to Lilly and Grey. But whilst I enjoyed their characters, I didn’t understand the demon part of the worldbuilding, and it seemed at crossroads with the Steampunk creations. I didn’t think that they matched well, and when Lady Ostrich comes into the picture as the baddie, I felt that she wasn’t a great evil villain. The name comes off as too cartoonish, and I couldn’t take her seriously.
So whilst I had problems with the worldbuilding, I did enjoy the characters, especially the secondary character of Evelyn. I would have liked to have seen more story between her and her husband, and this is where I felt more romance was needed. I don’t think the worldbuilding is strong enough and there were times where the writing became bogged down with it.
But the characters themselves are the strongest point, and Lilly and Greyston are two strong characters. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the mystery surrounding them and their ‘talents’ are revealed towards the end, but again I felt the worldbuilding wasn’t strong enough to hold them up.
The book is self-pubbed and I think an editor would have tightened up this novel, and cut some wordy descriptions out. But despite my issues with this novel, I got caught up in the characters, and I would read the second book to see how the romance develops and see how Claire Robyns expands this world.
All in all, I liked A Matter of Circumstance and its characters, but I wasn’t a fan of the worldbuilding. I give it a C.