In London, we've got murderers by the dozen. Rampsmen, garroters, wife beaters and baby farmers, poisoners and pie makers and folk who'll crack you over the noddle with a ha'penny cosh for the sake of your flashy watch chain and leave your meat for the rats. Never mind what you read in them penny dreadful: there ain't no romance in murder.
This was a mashup of steampunk, Victorian, Gothic, and classic horror. Our heroine is Dr. Eliza Jekyll AND Lizzie Hyde. She helps Inspector Griffin study crime scenes to catch the killers, currently trying to find The Chopper, and works/studies at Bedlam. Captain Lafayette comes on the scene, he works for the Royal Society. The Royal Society works to keep fey/magical people from society, they burn them when they find them. We also have a Mr. Todd who currently resides in Bedlam courtesy of Eliza, Finch who makes Eliza's elixir that helps keep Lizzie at bay, A.R. who is Eliza's mysterious benefactor, two doctors at Bedlam who may be up to no good, Johnny the mysterious fey boy, a Penny Dreadful writer, and a bunch of characters I'm probably forgetting because holy cow. All those characters I mentioned bring with them previously created horror themes. We've got Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (of course), Frankenstein, Werewolves, Sweeny Todd, Jack the Ripper, and a sort of Silence of the Lambs relationship. Again, I'm probably forgetting something.
It took me until around the 15% mark to get any sort of footing because of the amazing amount of characters and story threads happening, I felt like I was starting in the middle of a series. The Chopper plot started off the strongest and I thought that was the main one but towards the middle, it starts to get left behind as we focus more on Eliza and issues in her life. All male characters seem to be in love with her, which was sort of annoying and the few female characters seemed to be jealous of her.
I pull his hand beneath my skirts, between my thighs, an inch above my garter where the stiletto sings. "See?" My breath is sultry against his neck. "Told you I had a weapon."
"Consider me ambushed."
Eliza, Inspector Griffin, and Captain Lafayette had fun chemistry when they went back and forth in their conversations but then Griffin heads more to the sides and a romance teases around Lafayette and Eliza and Lizzie. This is clearly the first in a series that will follow Eliza and I'm sure there will be a deepening of this relationship as we just get the start here.
Most of this was in first person pov from Eliza, with Lizzie cutting in and as so, when action scenes happen it was sometimes hard to follow along. I'm sure the author had a clear picture in her mind of what was happening but as a new to the scene reader, it was far from being clear and some of it breezed by me, it would have been nice to have a third person overview.
Basically, this story was jammed packed with characters and storylines (Sir Isaac Newton makes an appearance and starts a storyline that I'm not sure was ever really explained) and I spent a lot of time feeling lost. It was different and interesting and I might try the second now that I have at least an introduction to the world and characters.
(If anyone has read this, who is supposed to be on the guy on the cover?! Johnny?)