Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference events from the previous book. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, The Diabolical Miss Hyde.
Unfortunately unmasking the Chopper on her previous case failed to gain Eliza any more credibility within the medical/police community. In fact, coupled with the fact that in apprehending the Chopper Eliza let famed serial murderer Razor Jack escape from the asylum he was imprisoned in, and her reputation has actually come under more scrutiny from the populace.
On top of all this, she’s still unsure of what to do about the unexpected marriage proposal from one Royal Agent Captain Remy Lafayette. Does he really love her as he claims? Or are his affections only a ploy to get close to her in order to inform on her to his superiors? Regardless of this, when Remy asks her to consult on a case she can’t turn it down. Her inquisitive nature just won’t let her, plus she could use the work. Yet, Eliza’s scientific sensibilities are put to the test when the murdered man is reportedly part of a dark magic coven.
Of course we can’t forget to mention Lizzie. It seems the ways in which Eliza tries to keep Lizzie at bay are growing, and still she continues to fight and claw her way into existence. Even though they fight each other for dominance in one body, they’ll soon learn that maybe it’s better to work together than going at it alone.
There’s a lot that’s going on at the start of Devious. Viola Carr handles everything really well though and I never once thought that it got too muddled. The story doesn’t depart too much from its predecessor’s territory. Eliza finds herself embroiled in a mystery to solve, while still trying to keep her alter ego a secret. With the first book giving a big nod to Shelley’s Frankenstein (not to mention the source material for the series as a whole), I was surprised when I suddenly realized what classic Viola Carr wove into this story. Unfortunately for spoiler’s sake I can’t let you know which book Carr pays homage to here, but rest assured she does it in a cleverly crafted way.
At the center of this story, of course, is the Eliza/Lizzie dynamic. I continue to love this (these) character(s). Separately, together, doesn’t matter. The way they play off one another is great. The way both are so determined to be “free” from the other, but invariably they call upon each other for help more than once, and they are truly each other’s only friend. Eliza is the more levelheaded of the two, but because of Lizzie’s more wild nature she tries desperately to keep Eliza out of trouble by making the more unsavory decisions.
I’m really interested to see how Carr ultimately completes Eliza/Lizzie’s stories. We know what happened in the end with their father, and I don’t know if it would be possible for them to live harmoniously, but the alternative is….
While I think Diabolical was a bit stronger for me, Devious still delivers. This has been a wonderfully surprising debut series this year. Now, I’m off to brush up on my Gothic fiction before the next book.
Sexual content: sex