[Book cover credit: librarything.com/work/3871633]
When Mariah Mundi is sent to the Prince Regent Hotel, he knows that his life is about to change more than he can imagine. No longer a privileged son away at boarding school, he is suddenly an orphaned employee, out of place in his Colonial School suit. What he doesn't know is that he is the last in a long line of Colonial boys, all since disappeared, to be sent to the Prince Regent at the request of the owner.
This milder take on steampunk-y goodness was just what I needed to ease myself into the genre and get ready to read Leviathan (which is still languishing on a dresser waiting for me to have time to give it my undivided attention). This is, at heart, a fantasy/mystery book that happens to take place in a Victorian hotel completely run on steam. Upon arrival at the Regency Hotel, Mariah is immediately befriended by Sacha, a young servant girl who is almost as enamored with all of the steam-powered innovations in use at the hotel as she is with Mariah's predecessor, Felix. Sacha's infatuation with Felix, and Mariah's eventual jealousy over it, are the only hints at romance that exist. I read this at the same time that I read Shiver, making the lack of lovesickness one of the best things about this book.
Of course there are lots of other great things going on here too, such as:
- a magic act
- a kraken
- a gruff sailor who knows a mysterious amount of things about Mariah
- a shifty guy on a train
- a pack of cards that can tell the future
- a creepy doll that moves around the hotel without anyone knowing how or why (okay, she's not supposed to be creepy, but I'm not a big fan of dolls the size of 4yr olds)
- and, of course, the title feature: The Midas Box.
I did, however, feel like something was missing with the ending. After so much detail throughout the book, I felt really let down by it. (No Spoilers, just to be clear) The ending felt a bit rushed. Everything had to happen before midnight, so things were definitely rushing, which I get, I just wish I had gotten to see more of it. All the good guys split up to run around and perform their various death-defying feats in order to beat the bad guys, and instead of seeing each person's part in the action, we're only shown one or two and then see them all meet up at the end so we know they're okay. I'm not a fan of this sort of thing. I prefer to be shown not told, but at the very least, I want to be told.
My issues with the ending are not going to be cleared up by the sequel, but I'll probably read it anyway once it makes it over here. There is a listing for book 2 on amazon, but it is basically a bunch of UK amazon marketplace sellers. amazon UK has all the good stuff:
Mariah Mundi and the Ghost Diamonds
Mariah Mundi and the Ship of Fools
Book Source: Philly Free Library