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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Blog Tour Review - Elusive by Genevieve Cogman

Blog Tour Review - Elusive by Genevieve Cogman

1793. Eleanor, once a lowly English maid, is now a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel: renowned for their daring deeds, and for rescuing aristocrats and vampires from the guillotine. When the notorious French diplomat Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand goes missing, Eleanor and the League leap into action. But they uncover two vampire factions feuding for control over humanity’s fate. Talleyrand’s disappearance is part of a larger, more dangerous scheme – one that threatens to throw France into bloody chaos . . .

As the mutiny continues, a once-dead queen stalks the streets of Paris and the Scarlet Pimpernel is nowhere to be found. Eleanor must take control of her own fate. If she doesn’t, she may find herself the victim of the very people she came to save.

Elusive is the sequel to Scarlet, which I thoroughly enjoyed when I reviewed it, so I have been looking forward to this next instalment in the series. It definitely lived up to its promise!

The setting for these books is such a fantastic concept. It's the French Revolution, the Scarlet Pimpernel is running around rescuing nobles, but there are also vampires. It's so elegant in its imagining, because it is such a natural fit. Probably more than any other time in history, the French Revolution is a period steeped in aristocracy and blood, mainly the blood of the aristocracy to be fair, and if there're two things commonly associated with vampires, it's blood and aristocracy (or high school and sparkles, but let's not go there!)

Of course, Elusive doesn't retread the same ground as Scarlet. It's clear to see how much progression is being made, with Eleanor, our main character, on a fascinating character arc. She's no longer quite the clueless girl of the first book, her education, specialised though it may be, and her experiences are shaping her and her view of the world. She's a lot more aware of what is going on around her, of history and politics and rights and justices. She's a lot more forceful, making her own mind up more and pushing people in the direction she wants to go in. She's a woman who knows her own mind and isn't afraid to speak it, though actually some of my favourite moments are when she does hold her tongue, but we, the readers, see what thoughts are running through her head, usually a snarky comment that is both amusing and would be unwise to voice aloud. 

Curiously, she's not the only one who knows her own mind, as after Scarlet she has a new voice in her head, a very interesting ghost with her own attitudes, prejudices and ideas. The interplay between Anima and Eleanor is wonderfully done and adds a lot of depth to her character. It also opens up some really intriguing mysteries that are partly explored here but leave a lot of scope for future stories.

There's a lot in this world for Eleanor to explore and only some of it is supernatural. There's a lot in here about class and gender, both of which have a huge impact on Eleanor. I loved the exploration of her place in society, not really just a servant any more but definitely not one of the aristocrats who make up the rest of the League. I really felt like she was trying to figure out where she belonged, and finding herself falling somewhere in the middle, neither one nor the other, and coming to terms with what this means. The gender divide adds to this, with the natural impulse of the men being to try to protect her and keep her from harm, however much she tries to put herself into danger. Of course, Eleanor being Eleanor, she's able to use all of this to her advantage much of the time, and her class status allows her to do things that the others couldn't possibly do.

The French Revolution is a time of really complex politics and philosophies, as a desire and need for genuine change was corrupted and turned into the Terror. Elusive captures a lot of this complexity really well, with no simplistic right or wrong, good or bad, but competing factions and philosophies to try and balance. Watching someone trying to do the right thing in the middle of that whirlwind of blood and corruption is very interesting and is handled really well. There are certainly no easy answers!

The Scarlet Pimpernel himself takes something of a back seat in this story, though his shadow looms over most of the action with a lot of references to what he would do if he were there. I like this approach, as it gave Eleanor time and space to shine. Or maybe time and space to mess up. Elusive has that middle of a trilogy feel, where things go quite dark before they're resolved, and it has a lot of interesting things to say about failing

Elusive is a fantastic book built around a wonderful concept. I'm looking forward to Eleanor's continuing adventures now.


Elusive by Genevieve Cogman is out now from Pan MacMillan.

I was given a review copy in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour.


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