A former jewel thief acrobatically attempts to rescue an entire circus while one corner of her love triangle chases her down in a ruby-powered airship and villains build evil mechanical armies.
A French circus performer and wanted criminal, Rémy has gone straight since her previous steampunk adventures (The Diamond Thief, 2014). Instead of stealing jewels, she makes a living as a wire-walker on the London stage (spicing up her life by rescuing the gentry from highwaymen, all while wearing a painted mask and a visible corset). She's happy enough living with her best friend, a guttersnipe engineer who blends the faux-Cockney of Bert from Mary Poppins with an ahistorical touch of vaudeville. When Rémy's tentative suitor, a handsome teenage policeman, doubts her reformation (mind-reading gem powers aren't all they're cracked up to be when they let a girl know her love's not-always-supportive thoughts), she flounces off to France in a rage. But not a one of her old circus friends is truly the person Rémy thought she knew: Some are villains, while others are storybook victims. The usual larger-than-life steampunk fare (automaton armies, airships, goggles and corsets) sits alongside magic jewels that enable telepathy or produce lighter-than-air gas. And of course, there are plenty of secrets held in reserve for the next book, promising revelations both personal and epic in scale.
Steampunk fans will enjoy the action-packed, takes-itself-seriously silliness. (Steampunk. 12-16)