Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
Look at that cover and tell me you aren’t intrigued. Read the synopsis and tell me it doesn’t sound amazing.
This world is what drew me to this book in the first place. Paris in 1889 with treasures and secrets and power. I sounded dark and haunting yet magical. You get all of that within the book. But I think there was too much. The worldbuilding was really intense. Not so much as an information dump, there are just a lot of terms and policies of the world that are given to you very quickly. I found myself a little confused a few times and I had a hard visualizing a lot of things. Despite the world’s drawbacks, once you peel away everything, you truly are left with the world that is originally hoped for.
I knew this was going to be a found-family book and I knew it was going to be a group cast. Every single on the characters sounded interesting and like they had something to say. I was looking forward to each of their POVs. And they delivered and they also didn’t.
I loved aspects of every single one of the narrators, Zofia, Séverin, Enrique, and Laila. Though I do have soft spot of Zofia. I think the multiple POVS are needed to make this story what it is, I just have a few problems with it. One of the crew members doesn’t have a POV. It seemed weird and off kilter. I can’t say much more without spoiling literally everything, but I think adding in a few chapters from that characters POV would have strengthened the plot and how everything flowed.
I feel like this was a setup book without being a setup book. It had it’s own plot and own story and own happenings, but I think the next book is going to be even better than this one is because of the groundwork laid. I’m really looking forward to how this world expands and grows as the story moves forward!
And there are a lot of puzzles in this. A lot. Diagrams are given for some so you can really see what the characters are looking at. I found that so cool!
There was one scene in the beginning that completely took my breath away. That was the scene that had me hooked and that was the scene that helped me visualize everything. It was so freaking cool that I don’t even know how to explain it.
And then there was one scene at the end that stuck with me. I think these two scenes show what happened in this book and the development all the characters went through. One made me excited for the things to come and one made me unbelievably sad. It was amazing.
I’m honestly not sure how I completely feel about this book. I loved the characters and I loved parts of the world, I just didn’t love the whole thing. I just know that this book is different from anything I’ve ever read in a really good way. I’m looking forward to my next adventure with the crew!
Thank you for reading!