Title: The Golden Spider
Author: Anne Renwick
Blurb: London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.
Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.
After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?
Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.
Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.
Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.
Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.
This is exactly what I was looking for.
I was in a massive reading slump there for a little bit, stressing myself out being behind on ARCs and everything else that was going on in my personal life. I knew, if I ever wanted to get out of that spiral, I just had to read something fun; something just for me. Romance is that genre and I’m always looking for more steampunk romance–a niche I really struggle to find quality reads in.
So, you can imagine, after I accidentally stumbled upon this book in a wrap-up post from Destiny @ Howling Libraries (which, I wish I could find the specific post, but I can’t for the life of me remember which it was), I immediately asked my library if they could purchase a copy, because I NEED more steampunk romance in my life.
This hold couldn’t have come in from the library at a better time.
Friends, I DEVOURED this book.
It was just so good. The writing was beautiful: crisp and well-paced, I easily read over 100 pages in the first sitting before I even realized I should probably take a break and I dunno, move or eat something? I missed London in a steampunk setting (as I’ve also read Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series, which started this whole genre obsession) and I just loved the way Renwick turned one of my favorite cities into a steampunk jewel. I also thought the science and the blend between tech and medical spheres was just truly top-notch.
Of course, what drew me in the most, though, were the two main characters, Thorton and Amanda. I LOVED Amanda, the way she fearlessly pursued her career, constantly trying to balance her desire to continue forward in that with her obligations as a member of the ton (I also liked that she tried to balance both, instead of trying to only pursue one by forsaking the other). She’s smart, but she also isn’t afraid to be feminine, and I really appreciated that she didn’t have to be one or the other. I also loved the depth of her family and seeing her various connections with her siblings.
And Thorton is everything I love to read about in: broody, dark and doesn’t want love but can’t resist it. I loved seeing him a variety of roles, from professor to spy to lover. It was hard not to fall in a little bit in love with him.
I also enjoyed the pacing quite a bit. We had to really work for their romance to blossom and I thought the blend of romance plot and mystery–plus the various other sub threads–was really well done. The chemistry was fantastic, the flirting fun and the sex hot (definitely a fan of the teacher-student complication here, too).
Honestly, this book was just wonderful.
My only complaint was the ending felt a bit rushed, to me. I thought we could have drawn it out a little bit more, instead of cramming a few different things that needed to happen into the last few pages. But, if you think I haven’t requested my library to buy the next two installments of this series and am not eagerly waiting for them to arrive, then you didn’t realize how much I truly enjoyed not only these books, but this genre.
Ah, it’s so nice to read again. <3
PS: Also, that cover? Gorgeous.