This review was originally published on The Rainbow Hub on September 18th, 2015. I have been given permission to reprint the review here. Enjoy!
The Virtuous Feats of the Indomitable Miss Trafalgar and the Erudite Lady Boone (Trafalgar and Boone Book 1) is amazing. Part of me just wants to write that as a review and shout from the rooftops for everyone, everywhere, to go get a copy and read it this moment. However, in an effort to be less of a flailing fangirl, we shall proceed.
From the same author who wrote Cinder and the Smoke , Geonn Cannon brings us the story of two explorers, Dorothy Boone, the daughter of a well-to-do family with a sense of adventure who goes out into the world to continue the work of her grandmother, and Trafalgar, an African human trafficking victim who foils a plan to summon an underworld power as a child and is now in the same line of work as Dorothy. The two are rivals who one day are framed for attempts on the others’ lives, neither of which they committed. A large chunk of those in their field are decimated through this attack, and the women set out along with a large cast from assistants to lovers to friends to get to the bottom of this. Part science, part historical fiction, part fantasy, part mystery, this tale is filled with adventure and bravery.
Before I go on, I want to say that from what I have read of Cannon’s work, torture and gore are par for the course. This book comes with a heavy trigger warning for this, and honestly, my only complaint regarding this book involves the inclusion of gore, which isn’t my particular cup of tea.
This book does a fantastic job setting the mood. The novel is suspenseful and breathtaking, and the writing lends itself well to this particular narrative. While there is need for a lot of exposition, it never feels like an information dump. The stylistic choice to interweave the narratives of these characters and their relationships leads to this being a really captivating read.
Let’s talk about character. While a lot of this review could be dedicated to me gushing about this amazing cast, I want to focus on diversity. I am an advocate for diverse literature, and I can honestly say that this is one of the most diverse casts I have ever read. The author writes race in a way that informs the character without writing stories about racial marginalization. The characters’ sexualities and relationship dynamics always feel inclusive and well thought-out, and the inclusion of multiple queer couples that are well written and dynamic feels like a cup of hot cocoa on a winter day.
I have complained about a large cast of characters before. Sometimes, it can be distracting to try and remember who was important where, which person mattered to the story, and so on. This novel has a large cast, but I never felt as though I was trying to parse together who was who. The author follows up introductions with an interlocking web of exposition that really grounds the novel, so that nothing feels rushed, and the characters are distinct enough to remember and genuinely care about.
As you can see from this review, I really liked this book, and my favorite part has to be that this is the first book in the series. I don’t want to leave these characters just yet. I want to know more about them, their lives, and their adventures in the future. And I cannot wait for the next installment in this series.