Review: Weaver’s Lament

51npSG1Xv+L.jpgTitle: Weaver’s Lament (2017)
Author: Emma Newman
Pages: 160
Series: 
Industrial Magic #2 (Series Tracker)

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Weaver’s Lament, sequel to Brother’s Ruin (2017), brings us back to protagonist Charlotte in Victorian-era England, where she attempts to infiltrate a suspicious mill and expose the poor working conditions and nefarious magic at play there. This series continues to be delightfully British — with tea, cakes, cravats, and magic, of course.

The “gaslamp fantasy” environment of Brother’s Ruin was fascinating and rich for potential exploration, but there was never a satisfying level of sufficient worldbuilding. Weaver’s Lament does even less with this world, sticking Charlotte in a stuffy mill for the majority of the book. The story gets bogged down with more tedious discussions of looms than I thought possible in a novel, much less a novella. Proceedings are much more compelling when Newman shifts to discussing Charlotte’s personal conflicts and her interactions with the alluring Magus Hopkins. The ongoing chemistry between Charlotte and Hopkins is the best part of this series, so far.

I’m a bit unsure if each one of these novellas is a one-off adventure or if each subsequent novella is a continuation of a cohesive story, but Weaver’s Lament does little to push the overall plot forward, much to my chagrin. If there’s another novella in Charlotte’s world, I’d hope for more worldbuilding, more magic, continued love triangle romances…and fewer looms.

 

★★½ out of 5

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Review: Brother’s Ruin

brothers-ruinTitle: Brother’s Ruin (2017)
Author: Emma Newman
Pages: 160
Series:
Industrial Magic #1
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Royal Society of Esoteric Arts provides stability and prosperity to Great Britain through the tireless work of their Magi. Latent magi are highly sought after, but, once discovered, must forgo their normal life for one solely in service to the Crown. With her autonomy threatened, Charlotte, a young mage, hides her abilities from the world. When her father foolishly offers Charlotte’s feeble brother up to the Royal Society in desperate hopes of landing the large windfall that comes with selection, Charlotte must use her abilities to save brother, her family, and her entire way of life.

This novella, very much a Part 1 to a larger story, did not hook me from the start. It seemed that Emma Newman’s flair for storytelling was not on full display at the outset and may have been hampered by the novella format. Slowly, but surely, as the narrative unfolded, I was more and more invested…until it all ends abruptly — just when I was ready for more!

With such an interesting gaslamp sandbox to play in, I had hoped for more worldbuilding and a wider scope. Hopefully that comes in future installments, as Brother’s Ruin feels like the appetizer to a (potentially delicious) five-course meal.

★★★ out of 5

While I was reading this I was delighted to see the news that Emma Newman will pen two more Planetfall novels. I first discovered Newman through those novels, and I look forward to seeing where she goes next in that world.