Title: Bronze Gods
Author: A.A. Aguirre
Rating: 4.5 Stars
I honestly cannot re-call a time when I have sat down at my computer, poised to type out a review, and felt the urge to regurgitate word vomit. Until, that is, now. When it comes to Bronze Gods, my love can only be expressed in mere words; phrases strung together to make coherent sense will fail dramatically, I fear. (And yet, in the threat of being seen as an absolutely insane blogger, I will attempt to
regurgitate type out something that makes sense. Remotely.)
At first glance, Bronze Gods seems to promise a thrilling murder mystery, all against the backdrop of a steampunk/fantasy realm, heavy in faerie mythology and shrouded in authentic criminology. In reality, though, this novel offers so much more. A.A. Aguirre’s first work is an extremely well-written and authentic murder mystery, full of perfectly-timed clues, thorough investigations, and a surprise reveal that managed to shock even this Sherlock-Holmes-and-Nancy-Drew-fanatic reader. Now, add to that a world that feels strikingly real – despite the steampunk machinations, fey qualities, and magic prevalent in the air – and Aguirre succeeds in transporting us to another realm entirely; one we don’t exactly want to leave. And yet, the icing on top of this cake isn’t the rich world-building or the intense murder mystery on hand. No, the delectable icing atop this cake is the very characters themselves, all with a rich cherry of sexual tension to enhance the sweetness.
Mikani and Ritsuko are the type of kick-ass, fearless, and yet utterly flawed characters that you only dream of discovering within the pages of a book. From the beginning itself, I loved both of them; Mikani with his roguish charm, fey capabilities, and wit; Ritsuko with her unexpected humor, diligence, and practicality. Aguirre’s world is complicated, but as a realm that started out with a marriage compromise between the fey and humans, there are very few – if any – pure-blooded fey left. Instead, humans that possess a few fey capabilities are common, Mikani among them. Ritsuko is also an anomaly, but less because of her talents and more so for her gender. As the sole woman investigator in her firm, she is constantly justifying her position and refuses to back down from what she has earned with hard work and effort. And yet, while both of them are charming in their own right, full of flaws and unlucky with their relationships, it is when put together that these two truly shine. Mikani and Ritsuko are a formidable team. Not only do they share wordless conversations, but their respect for one another seems to slowly morph into something more…romantic. For the first time, both of these sharp-minded individuals are single and the sparks between them simply fly. One of my favorite aspects of Bronze Gods, though, was that even the simplest actions and emotions between these two felt so utterly romantic. In my eyes, this is the beauty of a relationship – the unexpected feelings found in even the most mundane of actions.
As a team, this is where A. A. Aguirre truly succeeds – in writing the distinct voices of Mikani, Ritsuko, and other central characters as well. Bronze Gods is a solidly mystery-oriented novel with the romance arriving in snippets, delightful wisps of what-could-be that leave us anxious and sexually frustrated. (I don’t even want to count the number of times I yelled, “JUST KISS ALREADY!” at the book.) And yet, while the highlight of this novel was the characters, everything about it, from its steadily built mystery to its world enraptured me. It did, admittedly, take me awhile to become entirely adjusted to the writing style, but before long, I was well and truly invested. If anything is certain, it is that A. A. Aguirre has just gained a new – and enthusiastic – fan. One who will likely forgo chocolate for a year if it means more Mikani and Ritsuko. (Okay, a year is excessive. Hmm…maybe a week? A month is bearable…I guess…) If you’re still reading this, then you clearly aren’t at a bookstore, in a line, holding this book in your hands. And, evidently, that’s what you should be doing because if reading this book isn’t on your must-do-now list, then you’re the one missing out. While I get more Mikani. (Mwahaha! *cue more realistic evil laugh*)