Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘See what we bring – a human child, spat out of the darkness. I fear there’s only a gasp of life left in her.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I love this as an opener. Immediately we pick up where we left off at the end of The Devil’s Paintbox, with just enough hints and suggestions to pull us in. Lil will hopefully survive, but what of Verne?
I can remember there being some mutterings about a dearth of aufwader presence when Devil’s Paintbox came out, and perhaps Mr Jarvis was missing their walnutty faces too, because we begin this instalment directly with Hesper and Nettie. Can’t say I blame him, I love me a good bit of fisherfolk gossip, and the aufwaders can always be counted upon to have some sort of soap opera going.
Considering that it’s clearly the Victorian era and Hesper and Nettie are still having trouble with Silas Gull, this chapter really brings home how jolly old the aufwaders are. Those two have probably been dealing with the same angst for centuries, and Hesper at least will still be caught up in that for almost a hundred years. No wonder she has so many worry lines.
Matt’s Thoughts: I’d never really thought of time travel as something that might cause physical damage, but apparently so. What I like is that it’s not immediately apparent what time we’ve landed in. Bathing machines puts it in the Victorian era, I’m pretty sure, but not quite sure where. Our resident Whitby Witch is not Alice Boston, so we know it’s earlier than her.
But far enough back that we have our aufwaders: Hesper and our new character we met in Power of Dark, Nettie. I have no doubt my blogging colleague would have been happy even if the rest of the book was absolute rubbish just to have a prologue like this one.
But this is just the prologue, there’s a whole book ahead of us, and I’m certainly full of questions: Where is Dark? Where is Verne? Is Dark really going to try to work out his threat from the last book of making two Nimius devices? Would that then be a pair of …Nimii?
Either way, I’m cracking on with the book!