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Isabel and Jacques are lively and engaging characters, adventurous and creative thieves. The couple were all set to retire in comfort with the spoils of their biggest and ‘last’ heist. Then one night they find intruders in their new home. They are confronted by a mysterious, supposedly cripple man and his male and female body guards or goons. The man is the king’s shadow councilor who has frozen all of Jacques and Isabel’s assets to force them to do his bidding. They must pose as a couple known for dueling skills - Baron and Baroness Bonvillain. They are to infiltrate the local nobility to ferret out suspected conspirators who are threats to the king, queen and the newly announced, unborn heir.
Jacques and Isabel are used to play acting, so assuming the roles is not such a problem. And they are pleased with the nice mansion they are provided to decorate and occupy. But the nobility are nicer than their strong arming boss and the bodyguards who are trying to teach them to shot and fight. The problem is that Jacques has no aptitude for shooting. Plus, the ‘Baron and Baroness’ are actually making friends with some of the people they are spending time with until one of them challenges ‘the Baron’ to a duel to the death!
Jacques and Isabel do uncover a conspiracy, but it isn’t the one they expect. Looks like they need to plan a heist to save their own hides from assassination. Jacques finally gets to ride in the steamships he’s been obsessing over, if only he can keep it from being their last ride.
The story has wonderful banter and energy. Isabel and Jacques are clearly in love and willing to take risks for excitement but they have their own standards of thievery. There were good twists and bits of irony. There was good pacing although there were also some issues raised that weren’t fully explained like the mystery of the Ooze – little worms seeming to ooze and grow in the sewer tunnels.
This is a fun fantasy with steampunk airships, duels and fun romance elements. I recommend this to readers who enjoy those elements with a good conspiracy romp. This is the first story I have read by Mr. Hayes but it won’t be the last.
Audio Notes: The narration is excellent. Schatzie Schaefers provides a wonderful performance of the primary characters, conveying their energy and love. She does a good job with all the other characters too. The narration enhanced my enjoyment of the fun story.
I received this audio book from the author. My rating 4.5.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Isabel de Rosier and Jacques Revou are thieves, they are the best in the business and have accomplished pretty amazing heists. Nothing compares to their last one, which they did so that they could retire in comfort. One day a man named Renard Daron approached them and said that he had frozen their bank account and assets and the only way to get them back was to do a job for him. They have no choice but to accept.
Plot wise, this isn't exactly action packed, but it moves along at a good pace. It was well written and developed and I enjoyed the kind of steampunk, old Victorian feel to it. I enjoyed the kind of "spy" feeling too. It would make an awesome movie :)
I think what makes this book are the characters!! Isabel and Jacques were such an awesome couple. They are totally devoted to each other and it showed. I loved seeing them together!! I also loved when they were in their "other" personas! They are both excellent actors :)
In all, this was a fun and enjoyable book. Filled with amazing characters and a book that will grab you from the start, it is a good book to start a series with. I really can't wait to see more of the fantastic Isabel and Jacques!!!
Now, unfortunately I wasn't too impressed with the narrator choice. Her tones were kind of..... ridiculous to be honest. I don't know what she was thinking when she spoke as Renard Daron. I know he had a gravelly tone, but the narrator shouldn't have tried to replicate it as it wasn't very good nor pleasant to listen to. I was doing a lot of eye rolling, and I have to say, that it was a very near DNF for me. I think she tried to hard and it didn't turn out well.
*I received a free copy of this but voluntarily reviewed it. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.*
3 of 4 people found this review helpful