Is that enough genre mashups for you? Because it was for me!
“Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts” is book 4 of Nancy Campbell Allen’s “Steampunk Proper Romance” series. I wasn’t surprised that the series continued after a solid trilogy because there were always four comrades who served in the military together; Miles (book 1 with Lucy), Daniel (Lucy’s brother, book 2 with Isla), Sam (book 3 with Hazel), and now Oliver (their captain, book 4 with Emme). After reading book 4, I won’t be surprised if there’s a book 5, but we’ll get to that later.
First of all, this is book 4 in a steampunk paranormal, so it helps to read at least the first two books before jumping into this one. The chemistry between Emme and Oliver is evident in book 3, but it’s Emme’s cousin relationship with Isla that makes book 2 more important to understand. Then, of course, it’s helpful to read book 1 to understand the peculiar technology and paranormal rules of the world Mrs. Allen has created.
Still, if you really want to skip to book 4 because Cinderella’s your favorite, you can. Just be ready for a large learning curve.
Mostly because Emme’s main goal in life is to advocate for the rights of predatory shifters. Oliver’s goal, as a detective, is to keep the peace. So when Emme’s protests turn to riots, she finds herself thrown over Oliver’s shoulders and taken to jail. The interactions are always passionate between Emme and Oliver as enemies-turned into forced partners-turned into something more. (That’s not a spoiler, it’s implied on the back of the cover). Regardless, their chemistry is strong no matter what stage they’re in.
Also, take note: all the books in this series have been loosely based off the Disney versions of the fairy tales (which are loosely based on the Perrault versions). So, no one cuts off their toes, birds don’t pluck out any eyes, but there is literally a character named Gus-Gus. And he’s simply adorable.
More so in this story than the other three, the villains are truly villainous. They made me squirm, and I really wanted to see them go down. We learned earlier that Oliver’s brother is a notorious vampire, but he’s not the only problem in town. I wish I could say more, but they’re spoilers of the worst sort, unlike the vague theory I have in the next paragraph.
My prediction: there will be another book based on–HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER>> “The Little Mermaid.” I could be totally wrong, but Madeline’s story is left open, and I think there’s something to develop between her and Nigel Crowe.
Over all, I give it 4.3 stars. It’s not a quick read, but it’s fun and easy. I predicted most of the twists, but it’s a tie for my favorite in the series (tied with book 2) for its well-written characters.
PS. This book will be released Oct. 6th. It’s original release date was the first week of August, but then COVID happened… and riots… and I expect they wanted to postpone its release when the very first page begins with a riot.