This second short novel is a well done continuation of the series of Maliha in India in a steampunk alternate British Empire. It is a third to half as long as an average length fiction book.
For me the world comes to life as I am reading the story. I visualize the alternate past Ceylon with airships, steam and voidcraft. Traveling through the streets makes me smell the spices and mud.
Maliha is the perfect heroine. She is strong of mind, while not super human physically. She knows when she is moving into danger, and tries to increase her odds of survival. She takes risks, and goes beyond her comfort zone to achieve her goals. We all hope that the people we depend upon will be as determined and loyal as Maliha.
This book stands up well by itself. I had read number one in the series, but the shared characters are well introduced in this story, so I think a reader could enjoy it alone. The back stories of the characters are interesting, but the only one that has important implications for this story is that of Maliha's host, who she is living with.
Maliha is a mixed-ethnicity young woman in the alternate past British Empire and faces some difficulties in her dealings in society. The question of interactions between the ethnicities of the Empire is handled well in the story. It is important that the story portrays these issues well, because reliving the past of European domination of Asia could be fraught with challenges about a painful time in history.
Maliha is like a female Sherlock Holmes, and the story contains characters useful for her role. There is the police inspector, the admiring acquaintances, villains, and side characters. As other reviewers have commented, there is no Watson to constantly ask for explanation of her feats of deduction, so we are left without understanding how she reaches her conclusions. I was fine with not knowing everything, it reminds me of real life.
I enjoyed this well done steampunk book and finished reading it in one day. I am enjoying reading about the smart and heroic female amateur sleuth. I am looking forward to reading the next one in the series.
Tags: download, steve turnbull, ebook, pdf, blood sky at night (maliha anderson, #2)
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