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The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr

The final installment of the Electric Empire series, about the daughter of Jekyll and Hyde—a forensic doctor in a steam-powered Victorian London, publishes tomorrow, April 18. I can’t wait to see what adventures Eliza and Lizzie have next!

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleThe Dastardly Miss Lizzie
AuthorViola Carr
SeriesElectric Empire, Book 03
Publish Date: April 18, 2017 by Harper Voyager
Genre: Gaslamp historical fantasy
Cover: Gene Mollica
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionDr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman targeting London’s most important scientists and sorcerers terrorizing the city with dark magic in this third Electric Empire novel—a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H G. Wells classic, The Time Machine.

Being two people in one body isn’t easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild—threatening the respectable Eliza’s reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy’s away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with Eliza’s secret divided self finally driving her mad?

Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she’s to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world—or destroy it—and who may hold answers to Eliza’s past.

As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures—enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie—to thwart the killer. But Lizzie’s got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn. . .

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested Ivana says…

I have been very excited for the next book in the Electric Empire series for a long time, now. The first book, The Diabolical Miss Hyde, blew me away when it came out. So, I’m very sad to say that I did not get to finish the book in time to publish this review. Gaaggghhh! Life can be heartbreaking sometimes.

However, I want to let you all know it’s coming tomorrow! Don’t miss it. If you haven’t read the series yet, now is the time. Book 3 is the final installment of the series, according to the author’s website, so those of you who only read completed series can get in on the fun, now. Also, there is a steam-powered dog in the story, people! How can you pass up a steam-powered dog? Plus lunatics, a protagonist with a dual personality, and a lot of Britsh cockney. You can bet I’ll be finishing this book as soon as I can eek out the time. I’m positive this is going to be a magnificent end to the series. 🙂

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

If you like gaslamp historical fantasy, take a look at the Magnificent Devices series by Shelley Adina, the Ministry of Curiosities series by C.J. Archer, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series by Pip Ballentine, or anything by author Gail Carriger.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr

The second book in the Electric Empire series by Viola Carr takes us on another wild ride in alternative Victorian England involving multiple murders, political uprisings, regicide, black magic, and so much more!

24805699Title:  The Devious Dr. Jekyll
Author:  Viola Carr
Series: The Electric Empire Book 02
Publish Date:  October 27, 2015
Genre:  Steampunk Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.

It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness?or damnation—and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive.

As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

Another fun adventure from Viola Carr!  I absolutely fell in love with The Diabolical Miss Hyde when I read it last year, and I’ve been dying to read Book 2 since it came out in October.  Book 2 is crazier and more outrageous than the first.

Just a couple of small nitpicks to note: Lizzy and Eliza are perhaps going a little mad this time around, possibly from the mix of chemicals each takes in an attempt to silence the other.  Therefore, the language gets a little “stream-of-consciousness” at times, particularly with Lizzy.  It can be a bit disorienting and hard to follow–which was likely the intent to convey a sense of madness, but it does make the pace of the novel seem frantic.

Also, I noticed that much of what Eliza did had no impact on the solving of the cases.  She either had an erroneous theory or just happened to be in the right place at the right time to discover the identity of the murder.  I don’t remember whether this happened in the first book or not–I didn’t notice it if it did.  But it would be nice to see Eliza more instrumental in the solving of cases, since she is trying to be a strong, independent woman.

It seems like Eliza and Lizzy get caught by the bad guys a lot in this book.  Several times Eliza states she can handle herself without the need of a man to rescue her; yet, over and over a man needs to come rescue her when she gets in a sticky situation.  If I were Remy, I think I’d put a tail on Eliza, too, with how often she gets into trouble.  Again, it would be nice to see them both be the capable, independent women they aspire to be.

badge3v4Despite these details, I really enjoyed the book.  Personally, Eliza is battling her infatuation with Mr. Todd, her growing attraction to Remy, and her desire to be recognized as an independent and capable female forensic physician.  Lizzy is battling her jealousy of Eliza and her own lack of self-esteem. Professionally, there are several murders to solve and a political coup in the works, one which threatens Remy and Eliza’s life.

Tensions really ratchet up in this novel, which makes the wait for Book 3 excruciating!

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

I had a tougher time with this book than #1.  The first book seemed less chaotic than this one.  Eliza was scattered a lot in this story, which I totally blame on the drugs she was using to control Lizzie.  Lizzie, on the other hand, was her blunt, tell-it-like-it-is self.  I enjoy her to no end.

Don’t mean I have to pissfart about, weeping into my porridge like a jilted dolly.

Like I said, it felt like Eliza was totally out of control in this book.  She was struggling to be the smart and decisive woman she was in Book 1 but she failed on more than one occasion.  However, there was a lot of things going on in this book, so I can’t blame Eliza for her struggle.  She had mysteries to ponder, murders to solve, political and familial intrigue to add to her growing burden.  Lizzie wasn’t much help because of her growing jealousy of Eliza.  In Book 1, I thought we had all that sorted, but Lizzie must have forgotten because she was careless and a spiteful little toad.

badge3v4I did enjoy this book, though I tried it first in audio.  I couldn’t sort the characters very well so I switched to the print form.  Now that I’ve read the book, the audio should be easier to follow.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

… you might try the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger or the Crown & Key series by Clay & Susan Griffith.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

The Diabolical Miss Hyde is a great steampunk fantasy that harkens back heavily to the classic gothic novels, yet retains a modern sensibility.  It’s wildly entertaining and yet has some deep messages if you look for them.  Though we’ve  not read all of the steampunk offerings that have come out lately, of those we have, this is one of our favorites.

22328559Title: The Diabolical Miss Hyde
Author: Viola Carr
Series: Electric Empire 01
Publish Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London with blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching “the Chopper” could make Eliza’s career–or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father’s forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.

When the Royal Society sends their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a sorceress, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London’s luminous, magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.

Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free . . .

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)

Nervous_Nell 50I got a book done before you did! Ha! You are always first but this time I beat you! Was good, yes?

Invested_Ivana 50Ooh, feeling competitive, are we? Yes, I loved it, actually. I think even Stevenson would be proud of how well it stuck to the themes of his novel while also telling an original story. What was your favorite part?

Nervous_Nell 50You know I’m not one for the classics, so you’ll have to excuse my inability to compare. However, I LOVE where Eliza goes to the asylum and meets again with Jack. That’s not my only favorite, mind you.

Invested_Ivana 50Speaking of Jack, did you get the feeling we missed a short story about Razor Jack and Eliza’s encounter with him? I think most of the pertinent details are conveyed in the book, but as often as Eliza’s relationship with Razor Jack is referenced and used, I really want more of the details. I didn’t see anything on Miss Carr’s website indicating there was a short story anywhere, but if it’s out there, I want to find it.

Nervous_Nell 50I felt that way too. Do you want to know who my favorite top three characters are?

Invested_Ivana 50Oh, absolutely. Enlighten me. 🙂

Nervous_Nell 501. Lizzie Hyde.  2. Wild Johnny.  3. Hipp.  4. Malachi Todd.  5. Harley Griffin.  6. Captain Lafayette

Invested_Ivana 50Wow, Eliza didn’t even make the list? I love Hippocrates. The animals always get top priority with me. And I’m really curious about Eliza’s fascination with Malachi Todd. Now that he’s out of Bedlam, I wonder what he’ll do next. In reality, Eliza’s fascination with such a person would get her killed; thank goodness this isn’t reality.  And that’s six, by the way, not three.

Nervous_Nell 50Yeah, I know it’s six. Can’t help it. Eliza was fine, but I liked the others MUCH more. Lizzie & Johnny-I love their vernacular. It would be so fun to create a Pinterest casting board for all the characters.

Invested_Ivana 50Ooh, a Pinterest board.  Well, we’ve done it with other series, so why not?  I can tell you my characters don’t look ANYTHING like the cover models.

Nervous_Nell 50I am having a tough time picturing Johnny. Malachi Todd kind of resembles Lurch in my head.

Invested_Ivana 50Lurch?  With bright orange hair?  That’s a very interesting image, there, Nell.

Nervous_Nell 50Well, not exactly Lurch, but spooky pale and big like he is. Malachi gives me the shivers just thinking about him!

Invested_Ivana 50Well, Miss Nervous Nellie!  Are you titillated by the danger of bad boys?

Nervous_Nell 50Why, yes….yes, I am. I have been propositioned to join the dark side, you know. They have cookies! 😉

Nell 100Nervous Nellie says…

This was an awesome ride. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book. I know it’s stupid, but the whole Dr. Jekyll/Miss Hyde thing didn’t even glimmer in my mind. If I would have read the cover, I would have had an idea.  If I would have read the ENTIRE description, I would have had an idea.  I was impulsive and hit the “buy it now” button very quickly WITHOUT my normal research and careful scouring of the internet to find out all I can before I started.  I, as you well know, do not buy a book without a through investigation…..except this time.  What could have been a disaster turned out dynamite!  I can say that I was so far from being disappointed it was not even a speck on the horizon. The story was a simple serial killer mystery with Dr. Jekyll being the forensic investigator in a Victorian Steampunk England. A scandalous woman scientist (OMG!) working with the Met. Golly, the horror!

badge4v4The characters were very well put together. Eliza and Lizzie were two complete characters which was impressive.  I would love to hear this in audio.  However, if you think it stops at being steampunk fantasy, let me blow your mind.  There were werewolves, The Rat King, Fae and all manner of creatures that had no names.  It had gear and steam driven creatures like Hippocrates, Eliza’s little dog companion.  (I really need one of those)  I can’t say enough good about this book. It was a twisty ride and the secrets revealed were truly kept under wraps until the last minute. I didn’t guess a thing.

There was no cliffhanger, but there WAS an interesting proposition.  *giggle*  Maybe romance to come? This was a singular inventive story and I enjoyed it immensely.  If you like a good steampunk serial killer investigation with a bit of Fatal Attraction thrown in, this is the story you want to pick up. I will absolutely look for the next in the series that will release in October 2015.

ivana 100Invested Ivana says…

The Diabolical Miss Hyde is very nearly a sequel to “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” set in an alternative, steampunk London. It explores many of the themes of the original novella by Robert Louis Stevenson – the duality of human nature, and the oppressiveness of class expectations in Victorian England – while addressing the additional oppressiveness of being female.

Miss Eliza Jekyll, daughter of scientist Henry Jekyll, lives alone under the care of a guardian to whom her father’s entire estate has been willed—she owns nothing of her own. She works both at Bethlem insane asylum and as a forensic doctor for the police, though her position at either is precarious because she is a female in a non-traditional female role for the time. At the hospital, at least, she is suffered only because she is Henry’s daughter.

Eliza’s “sister,” Lizzy Hyde, is her shadow – the dark and angry side, the side that wants to drink and cavort, be sexy and brave, and stand up for her rights. Eliza wears grey dresses while Lizzy wears red; Eliza is prim and proper while Lizzy dances and sings and speaks her mind in public. I really enjoy how the author indicates who is speaking: Lizzy or Eliza. Lizzy’s parts are written in first person and in a cockney dialect. Eliza’s parts are written in third person and are typically very prim. One can very nearly hear the clipped sounds of her proper British accent.

While sometimes Eliza and Lizzy are at odds with each other, during the book, they also come to depend on each other, being strong where the other is weak, defending each other, even developing some affection for each other. Toward the end of the book, Eliza is encouraged to let Lizzy out once in a while, not keep her so tightly controlled, for her own sanity as well as Lizzy’s. I think Carr is taking Stevenson’s exploration of the duality of human nature one step further, saying that we need both sides of our nature to survive, and that they need not always be seen as good and evil.

Carr also explores the question of who the monsters really are. Nearly every character in the story is revealed to have two sides, though maybe not as literally as Eliza. I don’t want to give away any of the surprises, but the idea here is that people are rarely who you think they are, and they are rarely all good or all evil.

I absolutely love the nods to the original story and the references to Frankenstein as well. The backstory with Newton, Faraday, and the Royal Society is very interesting and I look forward to hearing more of that. I think I was most impressed, however, by reading the Author’s Note. Miss Carr did her research! While I’m not thoroughly familiar with English history of the time, it was fascinating to me to read how much of real history was woven into this book, even if as the basis for the alternate timeline. As a lover of history, I really appreciate the effort to be authentic in some respects.

If you aren’t interested in any of the thematic or historical aspects, this novel still succeeds in pure entertainment. The murder mystery is really good; the descriptions of the steampunk technology create a wonderful mental picture; and I just love Hippocrates, Eliza’s mechanical pet. Of course, I always love the pets. The characters feel real, the conflict feels real, and it’s very easy to care about Eliza, Lizzy, and all the characters in Carr’s world.

badge4v4There did not seem to be a resolution to the situation between Eliza and the Royal Society, however, which makes me believe there will be another novel in the series. I have confirmed on Amazon that The Devious Dr. Jekyll is due out in October of this year. I think I’m going to go preorder it right now. In the meantime, I’m checking out my options for audiobook editions of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” I want to refresh myself on the story so I don’t miss any more details or references that Miss Carr might choose to include. I’m pretty sure this series will be one of my favorites for the year.

Oh, Miss Carr, might there be an audio version of the book in the works? I would LOVE listening to this in audio.

Stand Out Award Badge2Other reviews:

If you like this book, try: