Published by Acorn on July 31, 2020
Series: Gaslamp Gothic #6
Genres: Young Adult, mystery, Mystery & Detective, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from Publisher
A bungled murder.
A ridiculous quest.
And a hero with extremely dodgy credentials.
Christmas 1889. Count Balthazar Jozsef Habsburg-Koháry tries to lead a simple life.
Oh, he enjoys a few hobbies.
Collecting ancient Egyptian artifacts. Hunting necromancers with a wire garrote. Impersonating dead Hungarian nobility. Seducing an endless string of women who never suspect the price of the count’s attentions.
But considering what Balthazar used to be like, these pursuits are harmless. And surely he deserves a reward for assassinating the elusive necromancer John Mortlake in the middle of Cairo’s teeming bazaar. What could be better than a holiday cruise up the Nile with his secretary Lucas Devereaux?
There’s just one thing that might ruin his mood.
If, for example, someone stole the talisman that’s kept him alive for two thousand years.
That would really suck.
Unfortunately for Balthazar, he just killed the wrong necromancer – one with a vengeful daughter and huge debts to some very shady djinn. To get his mojo back, he and Lucas must find a legendary sword and liberate a desert kingdom of magical misfits. For centuries, the people of Al Miraj have sought a valiant champion willing to face the wrath of the arch demon Fulad-zereh!
What they get is Balthazar.
But the gods always did like a good joke.
Balthazar’s Bane is the sixth book in the Gaslamp Gothic series by author Kat Ross. The gaslamp Gothic series, was previously known as the Dominion Mystery series, which includes The Daemoniac, The Thirteenth Gate, and Bad Breed (among others). I loved, loved loved the first three books in the series but then I missed books 4 and 5, and I am completely kicking myself for missing them because I always love Kat Ross’ books! Her writing is always so on point and engaging, which these days is one of the most important aspects I look for when I picking what books I want to read. I love her ability to write an atmospheric story that completely captures my attention.
Though Balthazar’s Bane is the sixth book in the Gaslamp Gothic series, it can be read as a standalone, so if you really don’t want to, you do not have to reads the first five books. However, I really enjoyed both The Daemoniac , The Thirteenth Gate, and Bad Breed, so if you love a good dark series, I would read them all in order. As I mentioned before, I skipped books 4 and 5, and I was completely fine while reading Balthazar’s Bane. It totally works well as a standalone book. However; you will see plenty of characters from Kat’s previous books and other series, so you may want to take some time and read all of her books in order. I think once you start, you won’t be able to stop!
In Balthazar’s Bane, we get to see more of…you guessed it…Balthazar! I am super excited that he got his own book. We have gotten to see peeks of him in previous novels, but here we really get to know him, which was super interesting because upon first glance he is not what I would describe as a “good guy”. I mean, this story is premised on him trying to track down his talisman and steal it back. The very same talisman that he used to steal other’s life force and keep him alive eternally. Yea, that talisman. But the grey ambiguity of his morality just made him an even more interesting character in my book.
As always, I love the setting in Kat’s book, and I love how effortlessly she blends, mystery, paranormal, and historical all into one really awesome adventure. Balthazar’s Bane takes place in Egypt and Al Miraj, and we get to see a bunch of beloved characters from the previous books like Lucas and Zarifa. I loved Balthazar himself so much! His adventure felt very fast paced and high stakes intense for almost the entire length of the novel. It made for a very exciting read! Whether you read this one as a standalone, or you read the series in order, I think you will love Balthazar’s story, and the mystery woven in. I am really, really hoping to see more of Balthazar in Kat’s future books!
Bottom line: Balthazar’s Bane is perfect for fans of the Jackaby series and of the Netflix tv show Penny Dreadful, and fairy tale reimaginings with a dark feel. I really enjoyed the ride this mystery took me on. Read it in the fall for a great atmospheric mystery.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge
- 2020 Retellings Reading Challenge
- ARC August 2020