It’s nice to have a set of novels so completely on-the-nose to my particular set of fictional pleasure centres (detectives in smog-swatched Victorian London, especially with steampunk, and I’m there in an instant), and it’s a mark of my affection for this series that I’ve read the second so fast (I have such a big to-be-read pile that I feel guilty on behalf of the other lonely, languishing books if I read further volumes in a series too promptly).
In the best way possible, The Osiris Ritual offers more of what The Affinity Bridge did so adeptly: a barnstorming adventure-mystery with all the necessary ingredients once could wish for — in this case industrially augmented assassins, sinister magicians, smog-shrouded streets, opium dens and rooftop chases. The mystery element of the plot takes a little more a back-seat than it did in the first book, this time gearing more towards action and suspense, with a looming set of sinister villains always on the edge of the action. It’s a slight shame that Newbury and Hobbes actually spend so little time interacting in this book, as it doesn’t give a great deal of space to developing a very complete sense of their relationship, although both are engaging enough characters on their own. (I also feel that The Osiris Ritual is rather short on Queen Victoria in her scene-stealing mechanically-augmented form. Because she’s awesome, and I want more, post-haste.)
My affection for the series remains undiminished: expect The Immorality Engine shortly.