Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Book Review of Tainted by Morgan L. Busse

What Happens When Your Soul Dies?

Kat Bloodmayne is one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. But she carries a secret: she can twist the natural laws of science. She has no idea where this ability came from, only that every time she loses control and unleashes this power, it kills a part of her soul. If she doesn't find a cure soon, her soul will die and she will become something else entirely.

After a devastating personal loss, Stephen Grey leaves the World City Police Force to become a bounty hunter. He believes in justice and will stop at nothing to ensure criminals are caught and locked up. However, when Kat Bloodmayne shows up in his office seeking his help, his world is turned upside down.

Together they search World City and beyond for a doctor who can cure Kat. But what they discover on the way goes beyond science and into the dark sphere of magic.

Series: The Soul Chronicles (Book 1)

Genre: Adult Steampunk
Publisher: Gilead Publishing (April 15, 2016)
Page Count: 291 pages

I had seen this book in the Enclave Publishing newsletter and I'd previously met the author, but I hadn't decide to purchase it until I saw it in the book shop at Realm Makers. I'm making it a point to read more steampunk, since I'm writing a steampunk series. Christian adult steampunk with a supernatural twist? Yes, please!

The Plot: The storyline covers more time than I initially thought, thus moving slower than what I got in the initial impression, but it wasn't too slow that it didn't hold my interest. It definitely picks up as the books goes and kept me engaged with lots of mystery and twists and some pretty wicked steampunk action.

The Characters: Both of the main characters are very in depth and I enjoyed being in both of their point of views. Kat Bloodmayne is intelligent, but feminine and determined. She struggles with a lot of doubts about feeling like a monster what with her ability. I felt like all of her reactions were really human and honest. I also loved her reading struggle with if faith, souls, and the supernatural are real. Her desire for love from her twisted father is very relatable.

Stephen is a bruised man. Also the fact that he's a fugitive recovery agent aka bounty hunter is pretty dang awesome. He is struggling with being a devout Christian, but feeling like God let him down. A lot of people can relate to this and I really like that a book is finally tackling this.

There were a variety of side characters including steampunk pirates, other bounty hunters, and other scientists. None of them had a lot of depth yet, but it's only the first book, so I didn't expect too much. But seriously the bounty hunter with the blaster arm was pretty darn wicked. Dr. Bloodmayne ... I hate that man. XD He's a great villain, but I want to Vader choke him.

The Setting:
The setting is reminiscent to Victorian England. It's another world with different countries and cities and, you guessed it, lots of delicious steampunk elements. I can't get over the airships. I love airships ... They're not in books enough. Also the Tower labs are so creepy. I got chills.

Epic Things: So much epicness. Did I mention the airships? Bounty hunters. A matter bending power. Lots of fun elements.

The Theme: Dealing with one's past is a really strong theme. Also the feeling of being tainted hence the title, of being imperfect and worrying people hate you and of not being the same after something happened.

Content Cautions:
There isn't any strong content in here, but there are a few things of note. Stephen finds a woman in bed with a man, and there's some mention of sexual acts and implications. Kat gets very drunk at one point and she is forced into wearing a very sheer dress. There's some violence, fighting and gunshots and such.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) The Author Knew Her Genre - This book was so completely steampunk. I love that it had so many classic elements like airships, Victorian England setting, and mechanical arm, but while still being unique in its plot and characters.

How this can be applied to writing: You can keep a book classic to its genre while still being original. Read lots of books in your genre for research. Know what elements your readers will expect, but still remain fresh for new ideas.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this book and I'll definitely be purchasing the sequel when it comes out. If you want an epic steampunk story, this is it.

About the Author:
Morgan L. Busse writes speculative fiction for the adult market. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the new steampunk series The Soul Chronicles from Enclave Publishing. Morgan lives on the West Coast with her husband and four children. 

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