Book Review: Nefertiti’s Heart by A.W. Exley

Disclaimer: Not sure if I need this or not on this one – I won this book through participation in the 2013 NaNo Virtuosos Contest with Curiosity Quills, but I was not required to give a review because of that. I just chose to :D.

Genre & Length: Historical Fantasy/Steampunk/Romance/Mystery, 286 pages

The Blurb:

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father – sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.

Her Majesty’s Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti’s Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara’s search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.

My Thoughts

Plot: This is, honestly, the first steampunk book I have read. I loved it. The plot was well thought out, and it kept me HOOKED. I could barely put the book down.

There were enough twists that the ending was a surprise to me, but I’m also not an avid mystery reader.

I’ve read a few reviews where they were upset with the climax of the plot – when everything finally comes together, and the antagonist is doing his thing, the heroine (Cara) is unconscious. Because she’s drugged to high heaven.

The MO of the antagonist has been established from the very beginning of the plot, though. I honestly would have been surprised if Cara WASN’T unconscious, because why would the antagonist have suddenly changed how he worked?

Cara is still kick-ass. She gets plenty of opportunity to show it. So for me, the climax (or anti-climax, according to some) wasn’t a deal-breaker.

Just a note: there are detailed sex scenes in this book. I . . . wasn’t expecting it. They were well written, and fit with who the characters were, but there was absolutely no warning from the blurb, or from the genres, that they were going to be that detailed. They didn’t overrun the book, and actually fit well with part of what the plot is (trust me, you’ll have to read it). But when the first came around, I was like “Oh . . . okay . . . OOOOOH. Gotcha. Not just the seduction. The whole production, as well.”

Pacing: Perfect.

Writing Style: I very much enjoyed just the pleasure of reading this book – I was captivated. Everything flowed smoothly, with the exception of one or two sentences that threw me out of the story. The entire story takes place in Victorian-era England, and Exley does very well at keeping with the style of language of the time, except for a few times. There was one sentence (and I can’t remember which one it was at the moment) where I seriously went “An editor didn’t catch this? I had to read it three times before I understood!”

Would I read this book again: Yes. And I can’t wait for the sequel. This is why fanfiction was invented XD. Now if only I had time to write more fanfic . . .