The Jacq of Spades: Part 1 of the Red Dog Conspiracy by Patricia Loofbourrow
5 stars out of 5
I have to admit that I have never read anything like this novel. I heard about this genre – steam punk – but it didn’t seem to attract me. So this novel it is my first foray in this genre and I was pleasantly surprised and probably that is due to the writer’s style: it is quite catchy. She creates an interesting world with accents from the Victorian era and with a concerns emanating from the 21st century. The bleakness of the Victorian period is present as well as elements related to the contemporary period: the fight against gangs, women rights, inequity and so on. Ms. Loofbourrow builds an interesting world, the Bridge, which is an isolated domed city divided in four quadrants controlled each by a crime family. These families determine the economic system for their quadrant and most of the population starves.
The narrative is fluid and suspenseful. The author succeeds in creating an air of mystery over everything and that makes the reader want to read more and find out more. I liked the protagonists – not completely white or black, although some of the secondary characters lean towards the black side of human nature. The female protagonist – Jacqueline Spadros - is strong but not stern. She is clever and she has emotional baggage which makes her more human than most of the people she encounters. She has a sense of justice even though it is somewhat skewed.
The mystery evolves in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes’s mysteries and that adds more value to the narrative. However, what I didn’t like was the fact that the story seems to continue in other books and I am not too patient in finding out the outcome.
I applauded the author’s initiative in presenting the secondary characters at the end of the book. It helps by bringing more order to the plot.
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