Viridis: Sex, Drugs and Hot Air Balloons?

This is post number 10.

Background: This novel is written by Calista Taylor, and it is the first of a series. The cover art is of the main character. Also this novel is set in a steam punk England.

Plot: Phoebe has made a nightclub that dispenses her drug Viridis, which heightens all of a person’s senses. It is said that drinking a pure form of the drug can make that person orgasm. A man is murdered and Phoebe is one of the suspects since the man was last seen at her club. Phoebe’s ex shows up and the two rekindle their romance.

Spoilers: Phoebe’s former suitor becomes instantly jealous of her former ex, so he attacks Phoebe in her office. Her man then goes out and beats up the former suitor, who then threatens her beau with legal action. In order to prevent her man from going to jail, Phoebe agrees to sleep with her former suitor. All the while a cop is interrogating various members of Phoebe’s staff to find out why the man was killed. At one point, a mutual friend of the couple returns into their lives, and Phoebe and the friend admit that they kissed once while Phoebe and her man were broken up. Eventually, the mystery of the murder is solved; Phoebe’s brother had an affair with the deceased and someone caught wind of it and decided to kill both of them since the murderer saw the coupling as perverted. Phoebe is sad about her brother’s death, but still agrees to marry her man.

Passage:

Phoebe had been prowling the house since William left, trying in vain to ignore the sinking feeling in her gut. She was only too happy that Sarah and Martha were preoccupied in the kitchen. It was quite clear that they were shaken after being questioned by the inspector, and she could not blame them. She felt horrible that they were under suspicion, and how she would face them again, she did not know.

Opinion: This is another book that has almost too much going on, but I think Viridis actually pulls it off. The mystery of the murder had twists and turns that I did not see coming, but I could still believe that they could happen. I feel like the investigator’s plot line was by far more interesting than Phoebe’s plot line because he at least had some action not relating to a relationship. Phoebe’s relationship is her main concern rather than her business or her reputation. She has some interesting, personal moments like when she takes her birth control or makes a new potion, but for the most part, her entire world revolves around her man.

Subjectively, I was not a fan of the whole steam punk schtick. For one, the inventions are described in detail in order to show that they are both old school and technologically advanced, but I didn’t like reading pages worth of description for a steam punk computer. This really annoyed me, especially the part where I had to read paragraphs of adjectives for a hot air balloon-plane when the author could have just said that it was a zeppelin. Also, the whole point of setting a story in a time and place of extreme modesty is so that the characters have to work around these constraints and rules; all of the characters ignore the rules like Victorian hipsters, which undermines the world.

The writing is good for the most part. This story is written in third person limited perspective and switches between Phoebe and the investigator, which the author uses effectively. My only complaint is the fact that the author tries to create a Scottish accent for the main love interest and the mutual friend by phonetically writing it in the dialogue, but this only made the book hard to read and almost cringe inducing. She would have been better off just telling the reader about their accents and leaving the rest to our imaginations.

Ratings: This book is a mystery with romantic themes. As such here are the ratings:

Surprises/ Plot Twists: 8/10

Problem Solving/Finding info: 8/10

Romantic Development: 5/10

Creativity: 6/10

Plot: 6/10

Overall I give this book a 7.5/10. Viridis has a great twists and turns and effective writing. I am not a fan of the steam punk aspect, but objectively, this is a good novel that I do recommend.

Citation: Taylor, Calista (2014-02-15). Viridis – A Steampunk Romance & Mystery (The Viridis Series) (Kindle Locations 2173-2176). Daeron Press. Kindle Edition.

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