The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire #1)
Published: Feb. 10, 2015 (Harper Voyager)
Purchase: Book Depository or AmazonReview Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Doctor Eliza Jekyll lives a rewarding, if sometimes lonely, life. She is a crime scene investigator who uses not only her intelligence, wit, and education to help catch criminals, but the latest in technological devices. When Eliza is called to consult on the case of “The Chopper,” she knows catching this murderer could give her some well-deserved credibility. When the Royal Society sends one of their men on the investigation as well, Eliza assumes it means one thing: They know about Lizzie.
Lizzie Hyde is Eliza’s other half, literally. Created from their father Henry Jekyll’s magical elixir, Eliza tries to keep Lizzie hidden as much as possible, but she can only be suppressed for so long before she breaks free. See, where Eliza tends to be on the conservative and quiet side (what Lizzie might term “plain”), Lizzie is wild and uninhibited. Lizzie balks at authority. Instead of Eliza’s more justified method of committing criminals, Lizzie would just rather take care of the problem herself, personally–if you know what I mean. When Eliza’s current case leads to the seedy underground of London’s streets, she begrudgingly admits she may actually need Lizzie’s help. Will they be able to work together to bring justice as well as keep their secret, and their lives, safe?
It’s funny to me to use the word ‘their’ when describing Eliza and Lizzie since technically they come from the same body, but Viola Carr accomplishes quite the feat with these characters because they are, indeed, two completely different beings. Once you get going with the reading, the distinction between the two voices is very apparent. Eliza is a little more refined, yet shows this great ability to verbally spar with everyone in the male dominated line of work she’s in (could this be a Lizzie characteristic bleeding over?). Lizzie, for all that she’s brash and doesn’t care who knows it, exhibits times where you see she’s a little bit of a softy (Eliza’s influence?).
I loved the love/hate relationship between the two. Lizzie despises Eliza for keeping her hidden within herself and she looks upon Eliza as weak. In that regard though, Lizzie is quick to come to the surface to defend Eliza and I don’t think it’s just to save her own neck–seeing as how they share said neck. Eliza, too, knows Lizzie is untamable, but when it seems Lizzie may be caught in a dangerous situation, she’s the first to try to prove Lizzie’s innocence.
The murder mystery was tangled and twisted and revealed all sorts of long hidden secrets. I’ll admit I was usually a step ahead of Eliza in figuring out who-done-it, but I was all right with that. I liked seeing the process of how Eliza arrived at her conclusions.
Carr expertly handles the potentially problematical love triangle between Eliza/Lizzie and Captain Lafayette of the Royal Society. I’ll confess I enjoyed his repartee with Eliza more than his time with Lizzie.
Diabolical has all the characteristics of the classic “monster” stories, before they were all modernized; complete with lightning flashes, electrical switches, and reanimation! One of the things I really liked with the story was that it wasn’t only a reimagining of a classic but a continuation of it. I’m really happy this one lived up to my expectation.
Sexual content: Sex
…and we liked this one so well, we’re going to give away a copy. Enter below.