Top critical review
Interesting steampunk mystery - but somewhat disjointed delivery and not the best start of a series
Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2020
I'm kind of surprised some people rated this so highly, even people who are new to the steampunk genre in general. Because while I think the steampunk was fine, the whole mystery and characters were really pretty disjointed.
The Affinity Bridge is the FIRST novel in a series about our two main characters: Sir Maurice Newbury, and Miss Victoria Hobbs, his assistant. Newbury is an anthropologist working at a museum, but really he is an "Agent of the Crown" or something of a Victorian steampunk James Bond/Indiana Jones/Sherlock Holmes type. As far as I can tell, Miss Hobbs is his "more than meets the eye" assistant. The two get up to all sorts of investigations on behalf of the Crown and Scotland Yard. There are airships. There are zombies. There are very bad people.
The mystery and steampunk setting work well together. The dashing lead hero and his plucky assistant are nothing new to the steampunk genre. My issue with this 1st novel, is that it sort of just drops you into the world of Newbuy and Hobbs, who have apparent met BEFORE the events of this novel. How? Why? We're never told.
As a first novel in a series it can be pretty disjointed: I often felt as though I was missing some key part of a prequel story about these characters (check and there isn't one), and the reason they're even working together in the first place! Perhaps the author has that in a later book, but it should be here in Book 1.
My other issue is Newbury. He's a great character, handsome, progressive, intelligent, addicted to opium... but he's often TOO PERFECT. He gets massively injured, but is miraculously healed by "The Fixer" and is all ready to go chase more baddies within like 24 hours. Um... OK. Not bloody likely, and there are no superpowers involved here as their sometimes are in other steampunk series (like the excellent The Parasol Protectorate).
My verdict is mixed. It seems promising, but not the best start for a series.