The Diabolical Miss Hyde
Electric Empire #1
By Viola Carr
Author’s Website: http://www.violacarr.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele
Beware of mild spoilers
Magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy retelling of the classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Henry.
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…(Goodreads)
The Diabolical Miss Hyde is an imaginative retelling of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story. This time we are introduced to Dr. Eliza Jekyll who carries her father’s (Henry of the original Dr. Jekyll fame) curse, her own shadow existence known as Lizzie Hyde. Where Eliza is proper, reserved, intelligent, blond and petite, Lizzie is buxom, taller, gregarious, and much coarser and passionate. Lizzie “lives” in the background of Eliza’s consciousness, and Eliza takes a tonic regularly to either suppress or encourage the emergence of Lizzie.
Eliza is an aspiring police doctor and crime scene investigator with lots of fun gadgets and a cogworks dog-like sidekick named Hippo. Her world is an electrified Victorian London written with plenty of steampunk feel. She is called to the scene of a murder where a visiting ballerina has been discovered with her legs amputated. Soon more victims are added to the mix, and Eliza knows that if she can catch “The Chopper” it will make her career. In addition to her regular obstacles of men who do not take her seriously, Captain Remy Lafayette of the Royal Society arrives to investigate her suspected use of sorcery.
The pair work against each other and together to solve the crimes all while Eliza attempts to keep Lizzie, who has taken quite a shine to Lafayette, a secret, and Lafayette deals with a werewolf like curse of his own. Their investigation takes them into the dark fey underworld and to the throne of the King of Rats, the underworld’s commander, where Eliza and Lizzie must both face the King’s true identity and the secrets of the past and those who they most trusted.
The Diabolical Miss Hyde is a richly detailed romp through an alternate late nineteenth century England. It is chock full of steampunk gadgetry and colorful fey and human characters. Lizzie is a bit coarse for my taste (but then shouldn’t she be) but with a true, loyal heart. I particularly enjoyed Eliza and Lafayette’s flirtatious, sarcastic banter. The humor here was right of my alley. I do not care for Lizzie and Lafayette as a potential couple, but I do look forward to seeing how the relationship of all “three” of them unfolds. I am sure it will be complicated. I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued by the identities of some of the characters and their relationships. I found the inclusion of Frankenstein and shape shifters added layers of interest and fun. The book did leave some things open ended, and I hope they are addressed in future installments.
I enjoyed Miss Hyde quite a bit and look forward to reading more. It is a delightful remix of classic literature. I recommend this to fans of the classic stories of Jekyll and Hyde and Frankenstein, of offbeat heroines, and steampunk.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*