Adult Book Review: The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

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Title: The Diabolical Miss Hyde
Series: An Electric Empire Novel
Author: Viola Carr
Age Group: ADULT
Genre Type: Fantasy, Steampunk
Publication Date: February 10, 2015,
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Harper Voyager

SUMMARY from Goodreads:

Magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy retelling of the classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Henry

In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London with blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching "the Chopper" could make Eliza's career—or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father's forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.

When the Royal Society sends their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she's a sorceress, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London's luminous, magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.

Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free . . .

Diabolical, Edgy, and Seductive

The Diabolical Miss Hyde, part of Viola Carr's debut Electric Empire series, features a steampunk inspired tale with a dark and edgy new take on Robert Louis Stevenson's The Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Only in this clever version we're treated to the voice of Eliza Jekyll and her darker counterpart Lizzie Hyde.

When I first saw The Diabolical Miss Hyde and noticed it was the start of a new series featuring the dual female perspectives of both Eliza and Lizzie, I could not resist grabbing up this tale.  

The story opens up with a fascinating setting of an electric powered Victorian London that tosses the reader into a grisly crime scene where a serial killer known as "the Chopper" has just butchered his latest victim. Now enters our heroine Eliza, the daughter of the famous Dr. Jekyll. She's a crime scene investigator with an uncanny knack for solving grizzly murders by using strange gadgets and science to hunt down criminals. Here's where things get really interesting. Eliza has a secret weapon she uses to help solve mysteries. Trapped by her gender and society rules she releases her darker counterpart Lizzie Hyde through her father's alchemical elixir. Dark, uninhibited and vicious Lizzie treads the dark corners that Eliza cannot to help solve crimes. When the Royal Society sends in the dangerous and seductive Captain Lafayette to observe her practices and the investigation, Eliza will have to decide if she can trust him, as someone from London's underworld has taken a deadly fascination with both Eliza and Lizzie.

What makes this such a fantastic read is the two very distinct voices of Eliza and Lizzie. Eliza is smart, cunning and, for the most part, *ahem* prim and proper.  She has the most wonderful odd gadgets she tinkers with and likes to create all kinds of chemical concoctions to aid in her investigation. Lizzie has a saucy (foul) mouth and has no problem traversing the darker side of London, often frequenting its seedy underground. If she wants a man she has no problem acting on it and is not ashamed of her "needs."  You can feel the grittiness when she speaks and I loved the contrast between the two vastly different worlds our ladies explore in The Diabolical Hyde. By the time I was done reading this, I could not decide who I liked more nor who fascinated me the most. 

Captain Lafayette is a romantic interest that poses a dangerous threat to both Eliza and Lizzie and he holds some very, very interesting secrets himself. As a member of the Royal Society, a sort of witch hunters group for those who hold magic over the accepted science, he holds power and connections that both threaten and hold possibilities that Eliza is desperate for. I loved his role in this story and as a romantic interest. 

I'm not going to say much, but there are some intriguing secondary characters from the supernatural realm that makes this so much more than just a steampunk thriller. There's a realm of the supernatural that resides alongside this London, and "the Chopper" may be the least of everyone's worries. 

With more than one mystery plot thread woven into this clever story, there is plenty to keep readers guessing. In a world where magic and science clash and non-human creatures of London's darkest recesses threaten to spill over, our Eliza Jekyll has her hands full. 

A great start to the new Electric Empire series. Perfect for readers looking for a grittier mystery in Urban Fantasy and two exciting new heroines to follow in their steampunk adventures. 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars. I really liked it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Harper Voyager  in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Harper Voyager for the review opportunity!