After the events of the Red Plague Affair, Emma Bannon has kept to her house and not ventured out. She is ignoring requests from the queen and still needs to have a serious conversation with Mikal about what he did to save her. Archibald Clare is doing his work as a mentath and being the general know-it-all that he is. When an accident wreaks havoc in his life, Clare turns to Bannon for hospitality and care. He also has learned of what SHE did to save him. And, let’s just say he is none too pleased. (Who doesn’t want this gift? He should be thankful!!!) The queen makes a personal visit to Bannon to ask for help with a string of murders occurring in the slums. They are somehow weakening her spirit through sorcery. Reluctantly, Emma agrees for one last service to the crown.
Where to start? I was surprised at the emotion in The Ripper Affair. From the heartbreaking loss early on, to the revelations about Emma’s early childhood. Just wow. So well done. Clare also struggles throughout the book with Feelings (he capitalizes them as they are an unknown quantity to a mentath and he has no idea how to deal with the pain, rage and sorrow he feels.) Many times he takes out his frustration on Emma and that was hard to read. They have so much respect and care for each other yet they both have such strong personalities that they clash painfully at times.
The Ripper story isn’t overdone and melds nicely with the sorcery aspect of this series. The author did a great job of tying into Emma’s past (both recent and childhood). I appreciated that she didn’t romanticize the Ripper’s actions. It is clear this killer is a psychopath who needs to be stopped.
Mikal is such an interesting character. I think my biggest disappointment while reading this was the knowledge that the publisher isn’t continuing with the series so this is it. We do learn a teensy bit more about Mikal but not nearly enough. Emma still has questions. I still have questions. GAH!!!!!
As I said in the review for RPA, it’s all too unusual to see a real male/female friendship in a fantasy/steampunk novel. Saintcrow did a nice job with the relationship between Clare and Bannon. (There is a strong hint of something about Clare that I’ve suspected but I’m glad that she didn’t overplay that hand. It shouldn’t matter. Vague, I know but if you read the series, you will pick up on it.)
A really great finish to this too-short trilogy. 4.5 stars (so close to 5 but Clare still talks about Bannon’s childlike face way too much.)