Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Book Review: Mages & Mechanisms (Jak & Leander #1) by Devin Harnois

From The Blurb:
Leander Weatherford doesn’t want a mage, but he needs one. Enchanted mechanical animals are all the rage among the upper classes, and selling them will save his struggling family business. Enter Jak, whose enchanting ability is second only to his talent for flirting. It’s dangerous to keep such a tempting man close, but Leander can’t resist—in more ways than one. 
Jak needs money to continue his aimless life of running. A partnership with Leander provides both income and a lovely diversion. Their masterful creations catch the attention of an eccentric baroness who offers them an enormous sum for an ambitious project—a full-scale mechanical dragon. 
Swept into a life rubbing elbows with nobility, Leander is pleased but overwhelmed. Spending both workdays and evenings with Jak, he finds himself drawing closer to the charming mage. But Jak is hiding a dangerous secret, and the truth could tear them apart.

Karen's Rating:

What's better than dragons? Why steampunk dragons of course...

I have a weakness for dragons and for steampunk but when the two are combined...well, saying no isn't really an option for me. however, I am also a wee bit fussy when it comes to these, more often than not I can be disappointed.

However, while I wouldn't label "Mages and Mechanisms" as disappointing I have to admit that for me there just seemed to be something missing and I'm not even sure I can put my finger on what that something, let's talk about what wasn't missing...

Characters...of course we have our MCs, Jak and Leander. Two very different men. Leander is quiet and he lives by the rules. He wants to secure a better station in society for his family, to be able to provide for them. Jak is bold and brash, not only does he not live by the rules, he lives to break, skirt the edges of and bend every one that he can. Yet these two men are inexplicably drawn to each other and for better or worse they form a business partnership that could be the making or breaking of all that they want and hold dear.

Leander's a machinist of the highest skill...his workmanship is exquisite and Jak's a mage who's powers are very possibly the answer to Leander's prayers.

In a time when mechanical pets are all the rage Leander's creations are possibly without parallel or at least they would be if he could just find a mage to enchant them and give them life...enter Jak and thus a business partnership is born.

So we've got characters, we've got the start of an intriguing storyline, we've got some seriously interesting world building going where did things fall short for me...well..

Let's start with Jak...Jak just didn't seem to have any sense of self preservation. For someone who was suppose to be flying under the radar so to speak, he was just a bit to out there. On one hand we're given to understand that Jak needs to not garner attention and yet, nearly every action he takes screams 'look at me' and for the most part it's not something he's doing accidentally or without intent. He frequently felt like the matador waving his red cape at a very angry bull. For the most part this seemed more deliberate than accidental, which left me wondering  just how much danger he was really in?

The only other thing about this story that really niggled at me was that when it came to Jak and Leander as a couple...well...I just wasn't quite feeling it. That's not to say that I won't but at the moment it's hasn't happened for me, but I'm not feeling like the match is unrealistic either so there's always a chance that something will click into place for me, but in the meantime, I am liking the story and what's happening and really there's steampunk and a dragon so for me there's always hope and so many possibilities...


A copy of 'Mages and Mechanisms' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

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