Title: The Viper and the Urchin (Bloodless Chronicles #1)
Author: Celine Jeanjean
Date Read: 08/08/2015 – 16/08/2015
Oh my goodness, this book was so much fun! To the point that I was making stupid noises during the last 10% or so. There are entertaining characters, an interesting setting and intriguing political machinations happening all around.
Rory is somewhere around the age of eighteen, and making ends meet picking pockets and the like with her partner in crime, Jake. She’s saving up to travel with a master swordsman and achieve her dream being just like the Scarred Woman, a swordswoman whose work she witnessed ten years prior. This all goes wrong thanks to a betrayal from Jake, and Rory is on her own.
The Viper, aka Longinus, is a master assassin with the invention of numerous deadly poisons to his name, but he has a secret: he has a debilitating fear of blood. When Rory witnesses an assassination gone wrong and learns of his secret, she blackmails him into teaching her to swordfight. But as they begin training, the victims of a copycat assassin start appearing, and Longinus and Rory are both in mortal danger.
Rory is a great character; she’s streetwise, but not ridiculously capable, like some street urchin characters tend to be. She also talks like street urchin, instead of sounding exactly like every other character in the book. Someone needs to give Longinus a hug, except be careful how you do it, because there will be hell to pay if you ruin his clothes. He’s a bit ridiculous, but it made him more endearing.
The world of Damsport is rich in both geography and history, and yet it didn’t overpower the story. The reason I have never been able to read a lot of Steampunk is because it tends to get very caught up in “look at all these cool gadgets and this world I’m creating!” and the story and characters suffer from it. The Viper and the Urchin did not suffer from this problem.
The ending resolves enough to feel satisfying, but there is definitely set-up for subsequent books. I for one can’t wait to see Longinus spend more time around Lady Martha; it’s going to be hilarious. My problem now is that the book was only released a month ago, so I’m going to have to wait (not so) patiently for the next one.