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Book Review: Vanished, by Nicole McKeon

I picked up a copy of Nicole McKeon‘s cozy gaslamp fantasy, Vanished.

vanished coverEccentric social outcast Lady Gwenevere St. James knows many secret things: magic, alchemy, artifice, and even the truth about the long-forgotten faeries. But she does not know why common criminals are using rare and dangerous magic to kidnap orphans from the streets of New London.

After rescuing one young girl, Gwen vows to save the rest, no matter the cost. But the handsome Scotland Yard inspector is also investigating the case, and he thinks Gwen knows far too much about the kidnappings to be innocent.

To save the children, Gwen must dodge the Inspector, bully a coven of witches, and outsmart her marriage-minded mama, all while managing a wily young pickpocket and a headstrong raven. But an unexpected secret hides at the center of the mystery, one that will force her to confront the most painful event from her past, and possibly sacrifice her future.

my review

I enjoyed this but wasn’t blown away by it. I liked Gwen well enough, but she’s no Alexia Tarabotti (though she is trying very hard to be). The plot kept me interested, but there were no big surprises. Even the villain is fairly obvious. I liked the world, but it’s slapdash and thin in places. For example, almost everyone in a world of humans, witches, elves, and dwarves—all of whom use magic of sorts—doesn’t believe in fae magic despite knowing fae existed. Like, why not? That makes no sense to me. The children were cute but didn’t seem to be a necessary component of the story. The hero was noble and appreciateable but kind of bland. All in all, I don’t regret reading it, and I would read another in the series. But I’m not rushing out to buy the next book, either.

vanished cover

Other Reviews:

Review: Vanished by Nicole McKeon

Vanished: Book One of the Gwen St. James Affair by Nicole Mckeon