Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Bluebeard's Machine (Silk, Steel & Steam) by Mari Fee

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Determined to discover what new experiment is stealing her husband’s attentions, Annette Parker ventures into forbidden territory—his study—only to discover a secret he would kill to keep. She is his fifth attempt to clone the original Annette and, according to his journal, he’s planning a sixth…after he dissects her dead body.

Unsure of who or what she is, she assumes a new identity and flees to the Orkney Islands and her last hope. The man she once rejected.

Isaac Ward’s first instinct is to get this mysterious “Miss Ada” out of his undersea laboratory—and out of his life—before he repeats the mistakes that drove him there in the first place. Her wild stories and stubborn insistence that they’re true wear his patience thin, but it doesn’t matter. She is as irresistible as the tide.

Then the truth appears right outside the portholes of his lab, stripping away her dubious disguise. Exposing a secret that could kill them both…unless Isaac abandons the science he knows for a second chance with the woman who broke his heart.

Warning: contains mad scientists, wanton murder, identity crises, and boiling hot underwater sex. Submersible instructions not included.
My Thoughts: There was plenty of heartbreaking creepiness in this book.  Let's be honest, that's not always easy to do.  Yet, Mari Fee manages it and she does it well enough that you can feel the cold metal pipes beneath our heroine's fingers and feel her horror at what she finds.

Ada was a character I could get behind.  When she finds what her husband has been experimenting on in his secret lab, she doesn't fall apart.  She rallies and sets out to free herself from his grasp.  Since her story is so unbelievable, I can understand why she lies so easily to Isaac.  When the truth does come out, Isaac sets aside his disbelief and looks at things from a scientific standpoint: Is this possible?  Working through what Ada knows of her husband's work and what he knows of her husband, he makes the decision to help her.

I loved the descriptions of the underwater lab.  I loved how Ada's confusion over who and what she is felt so real.  I liked that Isaac wasn't the typical hero- he's reclusive, brilliant, loves his work and gets easily lost in explaining what he's working on.

All in all, Mari Fee created a richly detailed world with characters that were equal parts creepy and brave.  I am definitely looking forward to reading more books by her.

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