Larissa Markus is an ordinary shop girl living a somewhat dreary life in her steampunk era city. When the Professor, a rich and handsome older man, approaches her, she is flattered and falls for his attentions. What he really wants is her Anthonium necklace since he needs the rare stone to power his machine. Things don't work out the way he plans, though. The machine blows up, the Professor is kidnapped, and Larissa is left with Cid, the Professor's assistant to try and clear things up.
What follows is a rollicking adventure as Larissa assembles a motley crew to assist her in her quest. The story reminded me a little of The Princess Bride by William Goldman, only Larissa is no Buttercup. She is the Wesley of this tale. Besides Cid, she has her cat, Imago, the mysterious Holt, and a pirate crew to help her find and free the Professor.
I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. I intend to gush here. I read a lot of books and this one is just terrific, one of my very favorites from the past year. The pace is fast; the book really is a page-turner. I both wanted to find out what happens next, yet I savored every word of the story and did not want it to end. The characters are well-realized and Larissa's growth throughout the book worked in a very believable manner. The love triangle between Larissa, the Professor, and Holt also works (I won't give it away, but I liked the way Larissa deals with it). There are some scenes of violence because the villain here named Doctor Orother is sadistically evil.
The ending is satisfactory (not a cliffhanger) and I'm happy that this is apparently going to be a trilogy. I will be able to spend more time with these wonderful characters. E.C. Jarvis has done a great job with this story and I look forward to more from her. I most heartily recommend this book - you will not be disappointed. Oh, and don't forget there are pirates!
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