Published: 29th December 2016
Author: Kristen Brand
Ella Rosenfeld is a lunatic. Locked away in the remote Auttenberg Asylum, she undergoes torturous treatment to cure her hallucinations. Yet the longer she remains within Auttenberg’s austere halls, the more gruesome her visions become, until Ella is sure she’s seeing ghosts and Auttenberg’s doctor knows it. He doesn’t plan to cure her; he wants to study her ability by dissecting her.
Ella refuses to accept her fate. She assaults her captors, scales the asylum fence, and finds sanctuary in the castle of Baron Viktor Szarka. Young and arrogant, the baron offers her protection, but he’s rumored to have locked a woman in the asylum to hide his dark past. Unable to trust him, Ella must uncover the conspiracy surrounding the asylum, her visions, and the baron’s secret…or join the rest of Auttenberg’s ghosts.
If you’re a fan of steampunk or gothic romance, download a sample or buy now.
Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book you didn’t want to put down. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this gothic steampunk mystery but was gripped from the start and couldn’t put it down. Great story telling with twists, turns and misdirection’s seemingly coming at you to keep you guessing right to the end.
So Ella has come to Auttenberg Asylum in hopes of them helping her with what everyone thinks are hallucinations. Auttenberg is a place filled with history and death with battles long gone past. Not so good for Ella as the ‘hallucinations’ she sees are ghosts. She, along with her parents, thinks this is the best place to cure her but it doesn’t take Ella more than a couple of days to figure out something far worse. On her first session with Dr Grunewald, along with the help of Mrs Schuttmann (both of whom you get bad vibes from), puts her into a machine. One that seems to split her head in two, well it feels like it does anyway. Seems this machine has a purpose but right now Ella is just convinced it’s going to kill her. Fearing for her life, and after a chat with a ghost in her room, one that killed itself, she knows she has to escape. Easier said than done and luck most definitely has to be on her side because escaping the asylum is only her first hurdle. More are on the way and each more mysterious and dangerous than the last.
Now it seems Ella may have not paid too much attention to planning her escape. She found a moment to act and went with it. Thing is that the Auttenberg Asylum is in the Carpathian Mountains, a place currently with arctic weather and not one to be caught out in with only one shoe. Running for her life she fears death from the cold will get her first but its not long before wolves might play a part. Thank god for Baron Viktor Szarka as he comes to her rescue. But from the stories she’s been told can she really trust him. Could he just be luring her into another trap? He might take care of her recovery – frostbite is a bitch – but he doesn’t do much to put her at ease. He wants to hear her accounts of what really happened at Auttenberg, which she does minus the ghosts. Seems he knows what she omitted though as he has her journal. Invasion of privacy screaming from her but does he believe or think her mad? His home is a cold fortress but friendly faces do appear in the form of his younger brother Andras and his guardian/housekeeper Mrs Lupescu. All would seem well when parents arrive and with the Baron insisting they take Ella away as early as possible but with snow closing in and Dr Grunewald willing to do anything to get her back things don’t go to plan.
Adventure in the form of running for her life draws its head again and she knows its not just humans she should fear but iron soldiers too. She can see there is something different about them compared to the machines her father made. A clue to why she is so valuable to the wrong kind perhaps? Battles at the ready with flying ships, pirates, deaths and misdeeds forming but it seems she has a helper at hand with Andras throughout her journey and maybe even the Baron. Ghosts are what she feared but was she looking at things backwards. Was she meant to see them to help so they couldn’t be mistreated, even in death? She may be the asset Dr Grunewald and his team wants to claim back but she may also be their undoing. Well only if she figures everything out in time.
5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.