Disenchanted & Co., Part 1: Her Ladyship's Curse

Disenchanted & Co., Part 1: Her Ladyship's Curse - Lynn Viehl Kit is a curse breaker. She disenchants those suffering under curses and hexes.And she doesn’t believe in magic. There always seems to be a rational reason for all of the magic people claim to be enduring and experiencing yet it doesn’t stop what seems to be an inordinate swarm of charlatans and con-artists trying to peddle magic to the unbelievably credulous masses.Thankfully, she’s an able detective, able to find the truth behind the so-called curses, even if, as a woman working for herself in steampunk Toriana, she has to jump through a few hoops to do her jobBut her latest job gets her involved with some of the top people in society – and lands her deeper than she imagined.This world is fascinating. This world is truly excellent. This world is original and unique and contains so many facets that I could read a hundred books set there. The alternate America after losing the Revolutionary War, the clash of cultures, the different opinions and language that arose from it all come together to create a fascinatingly deep, alternate world all heavily laden with a wonderful touch of steampunk goodness, lovely little devices that are, perhaps, not as dramatic as iron soldiers but fun little detective devices nevertheless.And on top of that we have magic. Actual real magic – or the widespread belief of it at least – twisting every part of society, creating new offices, new professions and shaping the culture accordingly. This combination of magic, classic steampunk and an entire alternate world comes together to create a world that is truly magnificent, extremely detailed and with so much to delve in that I want to wallow in it.I love how Kit fits into it. Everyone believes she has a super talent for dispelling magic and curses so employ her – but she doesn’t believe in magic. Despite everyone else being sure it exists – and she goes around as a detective and exposes frauds and hoaxes (it’s not haunted, there’s an owl stuck in the chimney. It’s not a curse, the sewer pipe is broken allowing rats from the sewers. Etc etc etc etc) and becomes further convinced that magic is all a hoax. But is it all fraudulent or does she do what everyone claims – nullify magic with her mere presence? It’s a wonderful twist and adds so much to the book.So it’s immensely frustrating that so little of this world is described. I know less is more when it comes to world building and it’s important to keep the info dumping to a minimum but there are innumerable references, random words used and history alluded to without any explanation or depth. I was constantly running to try and keep up, making big inferences about the world and hoping I was right because most of what I think is largely guess work. There is a glossary at the back of the book and it is sadly needed. If it had just been fleshed out a little more, broadened a little more, expanded a little more it would have been perfect.The same applies to many of the side characters. She has some excellent people around her who she bounces off extremely well with lots of great interactions. I like them but they’re all a little… shallow. They’re Archetypes that need more work and development to make them more than Prostitute/Madam with heart of gold, Poor Girl Married Money, Eccentric Inventor Genius. I like them, but they need more layers; I think her police contact is the closest to a fully realised character but even then it’s notable that I’m going to have to look up his name. It’s not that I disliked any of these characters – they’re all very very good characters with hints of excellent back stories, hints of excellent personalities and truly they’re going to be great assetsAs to the story – well it’s interesting, it’s fun – but it’s largely used as a mechanism to introduce Kit, her world and what she does, with lots of foreshadowing and hints about her past that will become relevant, I assume. The main plot itself (investigating a woman suffering under a vindictive “curse”) is a little overwhelmed by Kit apparently uncovering a conspiracy we know nothing about, a ghost (she believes in ghosts), her father’s past, her “love interest” (more on that) and a few other distractions. And then it ends unfinished – there’s no closure to any of these story snippets, it’s all left rather hanging.I’m a little annoyed actually by how short this book is, because a lot of the problems I’ve listed above could easily have been addressed; the book is short, there was space to widen the exposition and world building and to develop the side charactersMore, there was room to actually tell the story. I’m slightly irritated that that “Part 1” doesn’t refer to the first book in a trilogy, it literally is a book cut into pieces. Nothing was resolved in this book, there was no closed story arc – the book didn’t end, it just stopped. It feels like a whole book was written then chopped randomly into pieces to be sold separately. It would have been easier to swallow if the book was already getting long – but it really isn’t. At least some of the problems above could have been addressed by adding a few more pages.Read More