Welcome back for another recommendation from my fairly recently read pile. If you clink the S’n’S graphic you’ll be taken to the list of Seductive Studs and Sirens authors to read the samples of their fiction.
Last week we had a story very firmly rooted in reality – The General and the Horselord by Sarah Black – this week I’m going on an incredible flight of fantasy with Mongrel by K Z Snow. Just look at that cover!
As soon as you hear a term like Hunzinger’s Mechanical Circus you know you’re straying into steampunk territory but this story has far more to it than interesting steam powered gizmos and a few sly digs at Victorian prudery. The circus is a shady place with scary rides and sideshows and a genuine snake oil salesman in fast-talking Will Marchman, purveyor of Dr Bolt’s Bloodroot Elixir, who finds himself caught up in dangerous doings after a conversation with Fanule Perfidor, the Dog King of Taintwell. Fanule is the titular mongrel, the leader of his kind, a 40:60 mixture of human and ‘something else’. A magnificent physical specimen, despite being branded and mutilated, Fanule has the ability to perform a type of very specific magic, but is sorely afflicted with violent moodswings. He only functions effectively thanks to medicine provided by one of the most interesting healers I’ve ever seen in fiction. The word building is impeccable and K Z Snow’s style just makes me happy. Fanule describes Will as the “tender cutlet with the wind-rouged cheeks and inviting, unstoppable mouth”. The names are amazing – Taintwell, Mayor Pushbin, Skipskin Mews – the plight of the mongrels is horrifying, the bigotry of [some of]the humans despicable. There’s action, violence, breathtaking escapes and enough sex to add a little spice but not so much that I got bored with it.
I absolutely LOVED this book [and pssst there’s a sequel to this one too!]