Author: Megan Chance
Publication: August 1st, 2014
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Format: Kindle Edition, 420 pages
Genre: Adult, Steampunk, Historical Fiction, Horror
Read: September 2015
Megan Chance — Goodreads
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.
But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.
As Joseph falls under the courtesan’s spell, Sophie joins forces with Nicholas Dane, the one man who knows Odilé’s dark secret, and her sworn enemy. When the seductive muse offers Joseph the path to eternal fame, the twins must decide who to believe—and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for fame.
Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This was just strange. I honestly still don’t know what to make of it. It was confusing a lot of the time and dark and creepy. The pace was really slow the entire time until the last few chapters toward the end when things picked up and finally got interesting. I was really disinterested most of the time and it took a while for the plot to engage me. Not my favorite definitely.
Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The writing style shocked me straight from the beginning. I was under the impression that this was young adult until a certain graphic paragraph where I realized, nope just kidding, this is adult. It was nice, poetic, kind of hypnotic in a way. The descriptions were great, of the characters, the setting, and the situations, however peculiar they were. But it lacked something. It didn’t make up for the lack luster and strange plot and didn’t pull me in when the plot didn’t which I hoped would happen.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
This was probably the best part of the story but also the most mind boggling. The characters are all very weird. To be honest, this was the part that was most disturbing. The characters’ personalities and their relationships really bothered me, to the point where I’d have to stop reading but at the same time, were so complex and well crafted that I couldn’t not give it for stars. We start with Odilé who is disgustingly selfish and into herself. She is desperate and arrogant. Can you tell I didn’t like her? She’s the root of the story and I just did not care for her. I didn’t like her actions or her motivations. Then we have Nicholas, who has a history with Odilé and hates her. I liked him haha. He’s determined and compassionate and strong. His only problem is that he’s easily manipulated and it gets him in lots of trouble. Then we have the twins, Sophie and Joseph and I’m going to describe them as a unit because that’s what they are. They’re strange, incredibly so, but charismatic. They easily have everyone wrapped around their fingers. They’re passionate about a lot of things and manipulative to get what they want. But they have a deep vulnerability that is disturbing and endearing at the same time.
From the very beginning, I was just completely weirded out by this book. There was just too many strange things going on.
The plot is okay. It exists but at the same time, it’s mostly character driven which still in the end I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. We follow four different perspectives throughout their adventures in Venice during the nineteenth century. Odilé, a three hundred year old succubus looking for an amazing talent to feed from (don’t worry, not a spoiler, it’s the first few pages of the book), Nicholas whom she fed from a few years prior and who wants to destroy her from taking away his talent, and Joseph and Sophie, twins who are hoping to make a name for him in the art scene after escaping a scandal in New York. The whole thing is really intricate and complex. The different lives interconnect and weave in and out of each other’s views but it mostly revolves around their relationships (with each other and the supporting characters) and Odilé’s journey. I feel like this could’ve been incredible but it took some seriously disgusting and disturbing turns that I was not expecting at all. It really turned me off from the story and made me want to read it even less. There were a lot of things that weirded me out, starting from Odilé’s character to the twins’ past, and they made me uncomfortable to read. That was the majority of the first part of the book which took me two days to get through. Once we got towards the middle, about halfway, did things start to pick up for me and my interest grew. I finally got sucked into the story but it felt like too little too late. I still wanted to know what would happen in the end but it took so long to get there that it took the fun out of it. It was tension filled and suspenseful until the very end which just left me dissatisfied in a big way. I understand why it ended the way it did but definitely not the greatest outcome.
Usually here I talk a little bit more in depth about the characters but with this one, I’m going to refrain. I feel like the juice of the story so to speak is the characters and trying to figure them out bit by bit. That was the only thing that kept me reading, even if it was a chapter at a time. If you don’t have an interest in reading and don’t mind the spoilers, let me know and I have no problem going in depth privately.
What I do want to mention really quickly before wrapping up is the writing style, specifically the world building. That practically leaped off the page. It was vivid and detailed and carefully constructed. To the clothes to the sights to the way people say things and their language. Everything was built to give you this dangerous and sexy atmosphere and it definitely delivered. If the story had been up to par with the world it created this could’ve been phenomenal.
So that’s it for this review! Thanks to those who read til the end. I know it’s weird reviewing a book no one knows about but I felt like I had a lot to say about this. See you on my next post!