Taking place after Wicked as They Come, this original eBook features a mysterious lady and a reclusive mechanical genius who find love and danger in a traveling circus.
An elusive woman arrives at Criminy’s doorstep with a steamer trunk, begging for a position in the caravan to perform her unique new act. She opens her trunk to reveal a menagerie of brilliantly colored butterflies. The woman, who calls herself Madam Morpho, is on the run from a dark past in London, where she was forced to leave her equipment behind and abscond with only her tiny performers. Playing a hunch, Criminy hires Madam Morpho on the spot. Taking her down to meet Mr. Murdoch, the reclusive talented engineer who keeps the carnival’s clockworks running, Criminy instructs them to work together to design and build a groundbreaking new circus for the butterflies. Amid the magical ambiance of the circus and the hint of danger from Madam Morpho’s pursuers, she and Mr. Murdoch soon find that their scientific collaboration has produced chemistry of a more romantic kind.
I loved this story. Normally, I am not a fan of short stories. I always feel like either I’m missing something or that there is so much more to tell. I did not feel that way this time, probably because it gives me my Sang fix until Wicked as She Wants comes out. I never knew I could become so excited to read about a fictional world until now.
It starts out with Madam Morpho on the steps to Criminy’s trailer requesting (pleading) for a job. Due to unfortunate circumstances, she is forced to leave London, and finds herself in need of a place to stay (hide). She carries with her a butterfly circus. The reader is lead to believe that Butterflies are now extinct. In order for her to perform her act, she must gain assistance in the construction of her circus from the Mysterious Mr. Murdoch, a reclusive artificer. This story follows Imogen (Morpho) through the building and subsequent performance of her butterfly circus.
Imogen is very clearly hiding a very big secret. She tells the tale of her life in the city to be one that truly sucks. The women of Sang are certainly under-appreciated, but Imogen’s story is even worse than under appreciation. You feel so sorry for her, and at the same time, you are so happy that she was able to escape the horrible life she had led up until that point. You want her to have her happy ending. The fact that she can be as strong willed as she is is amazing to me because I would have just curled up into a ball and cried if I had to go through what she did. She is a very strong woman indeed.
As her story and what she is hiding unfolds, I found myself anxious to find out the truth. I honestly thought her secret was going to be worse than it was, but it was still a pretty serious problem. I enjoyed the progress of her relationship with Murdoch, but I did want to kick him at one point for being an ass-hat. This story could have easily turned into a story more about him, but Miss Dawson does a good job of keeping us focused on the main character.
Delilah S. Dawson does such a great job in building the world of Sang. I often have trouble picturing certain environments in books I read, but I have found that I have no such problem here. I can picture every detail of the circus, from the clockwork animals, to the blud-badgers (who knew a group was called a cete or clan?) to the beautiful costumes designed by Master Antonin Scabrous. Her descriptions of the world around are beautiful even though they are sometimes filled with darkness.
I recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who have read Wicked as They Come and are patiently waiting for Wicked as She Wants (Releasing April 30, 2013).