The weekend is here and it is officially autumn is SoCal. ~Well, my husband failed to close the sliding glass door last night and it is a nippy 61F degrees in the apartment currently. Despite my fleece and my blanket and my tea and my hawt guy Kpop videos, I’m still pretty cold. Ree-Ree, one of my kitties is not fazed in the least though and she is curled up in the sun baking as if it were any other day and sun cures all. And hell, it might in kitty world.
This weekend’s date with my husband is an arts and crafts fair in Del Mar. I know I just emasculated him, but he will live through it. He really comes to carry the credit card and bags. I’m going to get a jump on Christmas gifts. I’d really like to be done Christmas shopping this year no later than Thanksgiving. The best laid plans and all.
My Weekend Pick Me Up is an older book that I must re-read about once every two months. I really just adore the hero from it because he is a completely charming and unrepentant rake. Scoundrel by Zoe Archer is the second of her steampunk series the Blades of the Rose series and in my opinion it is also the best of the series, with Rebel being a very close second.
The series is of the eternal battle between the Blades of the Rose versus that of the Heirs of Albion who work hungrily to claim the mystical and magical treasures of the world to gain their power to enslave the people and acquire land and ultimately world domination. The Blades purpose to assure that the Heirs don’t get these items and that these items are returned to their origins where they can be claimed by what made them and be lost for all time.
The books are stand and are specific to those two people although they may be offhandedly referred to in later books. Scoundrel is about Bennett Day, who is a happy-go-lucky adventurer and lover of the more hedonistic things in life. When he meets London Harcourt he immediately senses in her a kinship and a like soul, not realizing that she is the daughter of the most dedicated and devoted Heirs members. London immediately has Bennett’s number and sees that he is a lover of women, drink and merriment but can’t help but be fascinated by him all the same. When he and another Blade–Athena explain to her what it is that her father and the Heirs do, London’s moral compass finds the sin of imprisoning multitudes of innocent people to be a far greater sin than cuckolding husbands and being a rogue.
This book has a great deal of action, adventure, suspense and seduction. Bennett Day is one of my favorite heroes. London also happens to be one of those really great heroines; she is funny, brave, sensible and gives as good as she gets. This book will be one of those books you want to pick up again and again. The rest of the series is quite good. I did like Warrior and Stranger–just not as much.
I must give Zoe Archer a great deal of props for her variety and diversity of characters outside of the typical Euro-centric world. She actually makes the European aristocrats into the evil Heirs of Albion. In the first book Zoe Archer has her heroine, Thalia, and her father living in Mongolia. In Scoundrel you are all through the Mediterranean and introduced to the world and superstitions of Greek fishermen. Rebel takes place in the Canadian wilds where Nathan, who is a disenfranchised Native American raised by white settlers belonging to neither people finds self-exiled Astrid and together they find a way into a mystic natural world. And then the final book looks at interracial coupling in the 19th century and Catallus Graves, an educated black man and scientist who is a monumental aid to the Blades people through being the innovator of many of their gadgets. Zoe Archer really touches on some seriously controversial topics such as prejudice and the growing diversity through the European claiming of more and more lands in the Blades of the Rose novels.
I must add a word of caution though about reading this book before reading Warrior. A lot of exposition is done regarding the Blades world in Warrior that isn’t done to such extent in this book. Bennett Day and Athena try to fill London in as to what it is the Heirs do and what their purpose is in this title but Warrior really puts a great deal more out there. In my opinion, I think you can probably deduce enough by the events of the book not to misinterpret anything at all. And Bennett and London’s Indiana Jones fight to keep the artifacts from the Heirs is expressed dearly enough that you get the critical nature of the mission without all the background given in Warrior. You can really get it without the knock over the head in my opinion.
Zoe Archer is amazing and also can be found on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Amazon Author Page. Her newest release from her Nemesis series, Dangerous Seduction is due out in November 2013.