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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Steampunk Novella Review: Heart of Perdition by Selah March

Book cover of Heart of Perdition by Selah March
Synopsis: As the nineteenth century draws to a close, James Weston, Earl of Falmouth, is dying along with it. Despite living in an age of airships and automatons, even London's finest physicians cannot cure the young man's ailing heart. His last hope lies in retrieving a powerful artifact from the remote island home of an eccentric scientist's daughter.

Elspeth Shaw prefers her solitary life to the tragic results that come from mixing in society. Elspeth is cursed: every mortal being who forms an attachment to her dies a horrible death. Yet when the doomed Lord Falmouth arrives in search of the very artifact that blights her, she hasn't the will to refuse. But the price for cheating death may be more than any human can pay...

*Caution: Mini-spoilers ahead

My thoughts: As a novella, Heart of Perdition is very short.  It also ends with a cliff-hanger and an ominous and rather frustrating "To be continued..."  Clearly, the novella is meant to be a prequel to a full-length novel or series, but I can't find any information about that on either the author's site or Carina Press' page.

As a story, Heart of Perdition is short and chilling, with a heavy dose of Gothic horror.  Yes, the heart of the plot involves steampunk, but it's more paranormal than steampunk. There's also just the teensiest bit of romance, but given the ambiguous ending, I'm not sure how romance-y it really is.

It's also difficult to get to know Elspeth and Falmouth because of the abbreviated length and the rapid pace of the story. Additional character development is a definite necessity in whatever follows the novella, and I'm hoping it will shed more light on the characters and clear up some of the confusing and unresolved plot points.

*I'm reserving full judgment for when the next book comes out, hence the lack of rating below. As Heart of Perdition stands, it's rather unsatisfying.

Rating: *See note above
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: March 5, 2012
Length: 22,000 words (ebook)
Sensuality: Mild

Other reviews of Heart of Perdition:
Nyx Book Reviews (2 stars out of 5)
Reading Reality (Rating: B+)

Romance novel book reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.


  1. I don't prefer to read novellas because they tend to be underdeveloped. But I can't help but wonder whether authors/publishers use mechanisms like this to force readers to keep reading. It makes me want to steer away and not keep reading to find closure.

    1. I hadn't looked at it from that perspective, but maybe it is a business decision. If that's the case, it's pretty disappointing, but not surprising. It is a business, after all, and I can't fault them for trying to make a profit.


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