No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
This is my first book by Roshani Chokshi and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Also in typical me fashion, I didn’t read the blurb or any reviews beforehand so I had no idea what this book was about really. I just happened to see it on Scribd and decided to give it a listen. I was so glad I did!
I loved the world-building in this quasi steampunk world build around a type of magic called forging that only limited people can do. Forging is manipulating the core abilities of materials so that they can become otherworldly. These are all possible due to the fragments of the Tower of Babel of biblical lore.
The characters are al very interesting and flawed, I am always 100% here for feminine gay men as they are underrepresented in fiction. I loved so many of them and their quirks and flaws, I loved that they were all minorities and the cast was very diverse, with Indian, Black, Filipino, Jewish and Asian all represented in the cast. The book explores what this means in France in the 1890’s.
The plot was always interesting and I thought they were setting us up for one particular betrayal and instead there was a twist. The pacing wasn’t the best especially the last quarter of the book. Which really brings me to the reason this book is only a 3 stars despite everything I said above. The ending, or endings I should say. I counted about 5 different places where this book felt like it ended, and we were done, yet another chapter was beaten out of the horse, again. And again. I found it very jarring and took away some of the power punches that the previous “endings” made.