Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Bronze Gods by A. A. Aguirre


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*)

11 comments:

  1. Keertana, you love for this book is just adorable! I always hate having to write reviews for books which leave such a great impression with me, but seriously once again you have blown me away with your awesome review. Mikani and Ritsuko sound like fabulous characters that I can't wait to meet! I will be sure to get onto this book right away, as we can't let you have Mikani all to yourself! ;)

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  2. Well I think I just fell in love with this book after reading your review. I've heard great things about it and I knew it was awesome but not this awesome. Really I must read this soon. Amazing review Keertana :)

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  3. Please forgive me for repeating myself, but I have to say this: YAAAY! I just love them both so much! (I mean Ritsuko and Mikani, but Ann and Andres too. :)) This book is really steampunk at its best as far as I'm concerned. I'm so glad you found the time to read it and I'm even more glad you liked it.
    <3

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  4. This sounds just like the type of story I would love, Keertana! I like the slow build romance brewing between these two and I'm a sucker for a well done mystery! Wonderful review. :)

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  5. OMG! This is definitely being added to my TBR pile! It sounds awesome and I've never really read any steampunk and that's not cool at all! Just EVERYTHING you said in this review makes me want it RIGHT NOW! So I can read it asap. I'm so glad you enjoyed it :D Great review as always!

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  6. Keertana! This is the type of review that I absolutely love! When a blogger's love of a book shines through in their review, and their passion makes me insanely curious about the book, it's gold! Because of you, this one just got added to my TBR on Goodreads ;) wonderful review!

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  7. You and Maja are far too convincing! I've had this book waiting in my checkout basket for weeks now, but I haven't actually ordered it yet. I guess I know what I need to do now. :)

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  8. Okay, this statement, right here, is why I love your reviews:

    "No, the delectable icing atop this cake is the very characters themselves, all with a rich cherry of sexual tension to enhance the sweetness."

    That is awesome (and kinda dirty sounding, but you know, in a good way:) And it makes me feel differently about this book, because that kind of insider info isn't offered in the synopsis. YOU should have written the synopsis for this book, K, because I think phrases like the one above would insure more sales:)

    Maybe it's just me but with SO many Steampunk books out there right now (and I love them) it seems like it's kind of hard to make one stand out. Kind of like all the dystopians out there. And Steampunk covers and that whole Steampunk look (which is way cool, btw) almost make these stories feel interchangeable. It's nice to read an enthusiastic review like this one because it helps me decide which books in this big genre are worth a look after all:)

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  9. Another book I didn't know anything about, but now NEED TO OWN NOW! You definitely sold this to me. I've seen a lot of these types of steampunk covers, but very few seem to pan out, however a well done mystery, strong characters and a subtle romance are all winning book elements to me. I LOVE when a love story builds slowly and subtly. Clearly, I need to get myself to that bookstore line asap!

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  10. Hah hah, I only read the first paragraph of your review, but it appears I need to bump this up the TBR pile IMMEDIATELY. <3

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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