Blood Engines is a contemporary fantasy, but tonally the works it most reminded me of were Zelazny’s Amber books — especially the latter set centered around Merle — and Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels. Protagonist Marla Mason displays a similar flexible morality, penchant for multi-flavored mayhem, and degree of badassedness. There’s also a dash of Tim Powers-ish alternate magical underpinnings of history in the mix (Emperor Norton comes into play, for instance). It delivers exactly what I want in a high-octane escapist yarn: a lively plot, some characters realized enough to care about, world-building that might not be rigorous but doesn’t insult my intelligence, and a little bit of food for thought. Blood Engines is an honest-to-goodness standalone novel, not an incomplete chunk of a larger narrative, but there are sequels, and I’m really looking forward to them.
needs more demons? negatory.