Received: Publisher (Open Road Media)
Publication Date of Book: December 2015
While investigating a series of mysterious murders, Nate uncovers dark secrets that threaten to reveal the true nature of the Wildenstern family.
The British Empire is no longer the authority it once was. Instead, it's controlled by private business organizations--the most powerful of which is Ireland's ruthless Wildenstern family. Eighteen-year-old Nathaniel Wildenstern has given up his dreams of travel and adventure to devote himself to being his brother Berto's head of security. With the help of his wife, Daisy, Berto wants to change the barbaric ways of the clan. But there are many among the Wildensterns who like things the way they are, and will resort to whatever devious methods necessary to keep it that way.
Meanwhile, the burnt bodies of women are appearing around Dublin. When a connection to the Wildenstern family is discovered, Nate, Daisy, and Nate's sister Tatiana decide to investigate. Soon the young Wildensterns are digging into shadowy societies and dark family secrets that date back to the origin of the engimals, who are part animal, part machine. And what they find could shed light on the savage nature of the Wildensterns themselves.
I have to say that it's almost impossible to find a series that only gets better and better as it progresses. Oisin McGann has no doubt achieved this. I was so excited to continue The Wildenstern Saga once I finished Ancient Appetites, and The Wisdom of Dead Men met just about every single one of my expectations. There was more betrayal, bloodshed, and countless Wildenstern family secrets coming to light. The mystery and action never ceased, and the story only became far more interesting and complex.
McGann has a talent for juggling a plethora of characters. Although you might pick Nate out as the main protagonist (and an amazing one at that), the story doesn't solely revolve around him. Daisy, Tatiana, Berto, and countless other characters get appear in this second installment and receive their fair share of the limelight. I really haven't come across a book or series that's truly been able to explore so many characters and do it justly. Usually there are only two perspectives and maybe a single side plot that gets the reader through the story. However, McGann is capable of taking many characters and weaving a tremendous tale. I am so glad that McGann continued this trend, as it just adds so much more depth to the story!
It was also interesting to see an accurate historical representation of how women were treated in the nineteenth century. Some may refer to the treatment of women in this book as sexist, but that's how life was then and the author was trying to portray this time period with justice. Although this treatment was extremely unfair, McGann was able to show just how capable Daisy and Tatiana were of overcoming many obstacles that society placed before them. Half the time they were far more intelligent than the men who behaved as if they were above their female counterparts, and I loved that!
You will definitely not be disappointed for picking up the second installment to The Wildenstern Saga. This particular novel has even more twists, turns, and deception (I really don't want to give any spoilers, as revealing what characters die and who the killer is will definitely spoil all of the fun and excitement!). Trust me when I say that it has everything you could ask for, and the steampunk aspect is starting to rev up! I saw that some readers complained that there weren't enough facets of a steampunk world to really label the series as "steampunk." However, we are coming ever closer to discovering how the engimals came into existence and what is found within the blood of the Wildensterns.
This particular book may be a bit of what I would refer to as a "bridge" between the first and final book of a series. The story may also have had a few odd additions to the plot, but they were all required for the final installment and what will come to pass in Merciless Reason. People often say that the first book of a series is the best. I do agree that I loved the first book a bit more, but the second was still an amazing read!
As a side note, I really wish that this series got more attention. And I am so grateful to Open Road Media for making it available within the U.S. There are so many authors whose works aren't available to North American readers, and I am so glad I didn't miss out on McGann's work.
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