What a marvelous book! K.Z. Snow drops you into the weirdly wonderful world of Steampunk, in Mongrel. Because I'm not familiar with the Steampunk genre, I found it a bit difficult at the beginning to fully immerse myself in that world. Some of the contraptions mentioned in the book lacked detailed descriptions, which I found difficult at first. What exactly is an aeropod or a voxbox? But that lack of description eventually allowed my inner-child's imagination to kicked in and create the images for me. What a pleasure to re-connect with my younger self's very vivid imagination where the most fantastical creations are possible. (Thank you for that, Ms. Snow!)
The main characters are multi-layered and interesting. Fanuale Perfidor, a Branded Mongel, is intense, caring and principled, taking upon his shoulders the duty to protect his fellow Mongrels from increasing persecution. He also suffers from what appears to be a bi-polar disorder, adding to the difficulty in performing his duties as the Eminence of Taintwell.
Will Marchman, a pure human, makes his living as a pitchman for a patent medicine at Hunzinger's Mechanical Circus. Sweet William is young and naive but with a brave and caring heart.
The secondary characters of Clancy Marrowbone, a vampire, and Simon Bentcross, a bounty hunter, are just as interesting. I would especially like to learn more of Marrowbone's backstory.
Fan and Will's relationship develops and grows as, together, they try to solve the mystery around the disappearance of an increasing number of branded mongrels. The more they learn, the more horrible the implications.
I would heartily encourage everyone to read this charmingly romantic and well-crafted book.
*Book won @ http://www.stumblingoverchaos.com/ thanks to Chris and K.Z. Snow!*