This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
by Devon Monk
Series: House Immortal #2
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Dead Iron, Tin Swift, Hell Bent, Magic to the Bone, Magic in the Blood, Magic in the Shadows, Magic on the Storm, Magic at the Gate, Magic on the Hunt, Magic on the Line, Magic Without Mercy, Stone Cold, Magic for a Price, Cold Copper, House Immortal.
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Second in the House Immortal futuristic steampunk series and revolving around Matilda Case in 2210. The series began a week ago and this story takes up where House Immortal left off.
These Houses are a backstabbing bunch who make the Medicis seem benign. There is no lack of action in this. I’d say 90% of it is with Tilly, Abraham, Quinten, Neds, and Gloria and 10% with the Houses. None of it will encourage you to like any part of this world Monk has created.
I hate and despise Slater Orange. What he did to Robert made me sick. I don’t understand this world. Supposedly, Quinten was supposed to be released when his contract was up. Robert was supposed to be sacrosanct. But no one has any rights except the heads. Even House Brown, which is supposed to be independent if powerless, is hounded toward extinction.
The only positive about Slater is that everyone sees him as galvanized and treats him either like a servant or his “friends” tell him to get drinks or snacks. Oooo-eee, he does NOT like that a’tall, a’tall. I kept hoping it would tip off the other galvanized.
Arghh, Monk is making me nuts with all these references to the soil back at the Case farm. I want to know what its importance will be, and I hate waiting.
There’s enough munitions in the second basement “‘from heavy land-to-air munition all the way down to can openers.’
“Well, hell,’ Left Ned said. ‘Let’s go get us some can openers.'”
Those epigraphs from E.N.D. at the start of the chapters drove me nuts. Who was E.N.D.? And even when I found out, those thoughts from E.N.D.’s diary still don’t make sense. They were so ambiguous with so many possible directions or interpretations…sigh…I guess it’s all part of Monk’s long game.
Monk has a nice segue into increasing their unmerry troupe. Very smooth.
We get some back history on what Abraham was doing back in 1910. Oopsies. And learn that Foster remembers Matilda from that day in 1910.
I get that Tilly would want to save Abraham, and with Slater on the loose, his chances for survival are really slim. But then there’s the rest of the world: her brother and the others. Has she forgotten that she needs to follow through with the plan? Mmmm, shades of Allie Beckstrom, begone!
“…what actually happens when someone manages to change the world is that things are just different. … The world won’t change.”
Murder has broken the treaty between the galvanized and the Houses, and our intrepid heroes are on the run with a dying Abraham. The world believes they were behind the murder of Oscar Gray and Slater Orange, and Matilda, Quinten, and Abraham have to prove their innocence and fix the break in time. Within two days or else all the galvanized will die.
At least if they do die, Slater Orange will die with them since he forced Quinten to move him into Robert Twelfth’s body.
And the future changes, but it’s nothing Matilda expected.
Matilda “Tilly” Case is a stitch, a galvanized created by her brother, Quinten. She and Quinten are the unofficial heads of House Brown, but while Quinten was held prisoner by Slater Orange, Matilda has been handling problems for House Brown. Neds Harris is Matilda’s two-headed farmhand who has been “hiding his light under a bushel” as well as the fact that he was a spy for House Silver. Right Ned is more compassionate than Left Ned, and both have a touch psychometry.
Grandma is still on the farm being watched over by Boston “Bo” Sue, a woman Tilly had thought was their friend and part of House Brown. Instead she’s a spy for Reeves Silver. Lizard is the size of a barn and stitched together from crocodile and iguana, but we don’t know where the wings came from. Pony is a bit of zebra, horse, and bison.
Abraham Vail Seventh is one of the galvanized, born in 1880, and used to work for House Gray until he was ambushed by Slater Orange. And he’s mourning the death of Oscar, a man he saw as both father and son.
Gloria is a doctor with a first-rate medical facility under her bookstore for House Brown in San Diego, and she pretends to be part of House Gold. Seems she and Quinten are in unrequited love.
Corb and his wife, Sadie, are smugglers and friends of Neds. Slip and Lucky are the freight line smugglers who answer to Sallyo, an old friend of Neds, who is a legend and a mutant.
The 11 Houses rule…
…the modern world’s resources and therefore the world with plenty of backstabbing and gameplaying. Each House is named for that resource, visually marked with a color by which the House is commonly known and that each member of that House has to wear.
House Brown is…
…an independent-minded group of individual communities (similar to a pioneer community) who prefer a democratic approach even if they have no rights among the other Houses and aren’t recognized.
House Gray has lost…
…Oscar Gray from assassination by Helen Eleventh. Gray lays claim to and manages all the people in the world except for the people in House Brown. Hollis is Oscar’s brother and becomes the new head of the House.
House Yellow is…
…Technology, ruled by Welton Yellow whose galvanized is Foster First. Welton leans more toward House Brown and the galvanized than he does to the other Houses. He likes throwing the cat among the pigeons. Welton intends to step down and put his cousin, Libra, in place as head.
House Silver is…
…Vice and run by Reeves Silver whose galvanized is the assassin, Helen Eleventh.
House Orange is…
…Minerals and run by Slater Orange, a vicious, sadistic bastard who was dying with dream of immortality, who forced Quinten to move him into Robert Twelfth‘s body. Along the way, he framed Abraham for killing “Slater Orange”.
House Black is Defense and is ruled by John Black. Domek is an assassin, a hunter.
House White is Medical with Kiana White as its greedy head. White and Black are the Houses Tilly believes murdered her parents. House Blue, Water, is run by Troi Blue while House Violet is Faith and preached at by Gideon Violet. Clara Third is his galvanized. House Red is Power and run by Aranda Red. House Green handles Agriculture and is run by Feye Green. House Gold is Money.
Wings of Mercury was the time experiment the Cases’ great-greats grandfather, Dr. Alveré Case, unleashed on the world. The event that created the galvanized. Lara is Alveré’s lab assistant. Victor Milne was the furious, unstable sheriff who had locked Abraham up. Evelyn and Foster Sanders are at the graveyard. Robert Chapman, who will become Robert Twelfth, is possessed.
Filum Vitae is life thread invented by Tilly and Quinten’s father. Pock Cabin is near the farm and had belonged to an old crazy guy. The Cases sort of inherited it.
Galvanized, a.k.a., the stitched, have no rights and are Frankenstein-like, with their bodies stitched together from spare parts that were in better shape than the ones they started with — after their torturers finished with them. Shelley dust is a last defense mechanism by humans against the galvanized.
The Cover and Title
The cover is blues and purples with an intent Matilda in vest and jeans, a gunbelt around her waist with another gun in her hand, her long red hair blowing in the breeze of the rounded sides, wires, and pipes of the old freight substation.
The title rings the Infinity Bell that resounded all those centuries ago when the Wings of Mercury went off.