The writing duo A.A Aguirre brings to life a charming quirky addition to the steampunk genre in Bronze Gods. This first installment of the new Apparatus Infernum series gives us a world where fae and steam meet in a stellar fashion. The fun doesn’t stop with the mix of tech and fantasy but continues in the perfectly odd crime fighting pair of Mikani and Ritsuko. With an undeniable pulse, Aguirre pulls you in to the novelty and humor of the day.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic–and the first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.
Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case where one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered–her body charred to cinders–Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi will be challenged as never before. Before long, it’s clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…
Effortless charm is something rare in a book and Bronze Gods had it in spades. There was not much I didn’t like about the premise. Afterall, who doesn’t want to read a book that’s a steampunk buddy cop story? I can happily say that I was not disappointed. The most difficult aspect of any partnership was the one Aguirre nailed – humor. There were many times where I actually laughed aloud at the jokes within and found myself liking the overall chemistry of Mikani and Ritsuko.
Apart from the great pairing, Mikani and Ritsuko were still interesting characters on their own. Mikani was a darkly swank man who was a borderline cad without ever feeling like a stereotype. Part of this was due to the amount of sincerity Mikani brought to his work. Interestingly, this played out as the perfect meld of bad boy and knight in shining armor. Ritsuko held er own and was a woman who worked her way up in the force. The greatest thing about Ritsuko for me was that she wasn’t afraid to fight like a woman- occasionally using her wiles to get information. In a modern twist for Victorian Era, not only was Ritsuko uninterested in getting married, but she openly lived with men until they fell out of favor. The other characters which we were given glimpses of were no less interesting and each had their place in the story- be it the rival investigating pair or the protective gypsy uncle.
The highlight of Bronze Gods was the investigation itself. There is a beautiful cat and mouse play with many interesting twist and turns. The only downside of this was how action scenes were sometimes glazed over. I thought several times that the entire book would be better if only a few more action scenes were expanded. This does not diminish the overall story much and the many nice touches such as the title Bronze Gods, used like a modern Oh hell, make this story unique.
Without hesitation, I would recommend this book to many a reader. Each aspect of Bronze Gods makes it a fast paced entertaining read. The chemistry between the two partners is both playful and salacious, and each still manage to focus on the job at hand. Whether you’re a mystery fan, steampunk pro or just looking for a good read, give Bronze Gods a chance. I know that I can’t wait to see what is in store for Mikani and Ritsuko.