But on to content! Sorry I haven't been updating lately, but I prefer to be silent then bombard ya'll with crappy posts I haven't spent any time on.
I unfortunately wasn't able to read THE EXPLOSIONIST first. I dislike starting with a sequel, but sometimes it's fun to see how well the book works when you don't start familiar with the world. INVISIBLE THINGS did manage the set-up well. I liked that it was set in Denmark and other places that aren't often seen in English literature. Plus, the places were new to Sophie, who came to Denmark by way of a school in Scotland, so new readers wouldn't be lost there. The details of the steampunk world took awhile to unfold, but one paragraph in particular played catch-up nicely:
When would the dynamiteur Alfred Nobel send word that he was ready to see Sophie? . . . When Nobel did finally reach out to her, would the message be brought by her old chemistry teacher, Mikael's older brother, Arne? Would Mikael - but Sophie could hardly stand to thing about it, the idea so thoroughly and confusingly excited and shamed her - ever want to kiss her? (ARC, p. 20)The rhetorical questions felt like someone testing out different scenarios in their mind. It also brought in things that had happened while still focusing on future action, which prevented drag.
Unfortunately, drag did occur elsewhere. Due to my current focus on my thesis, I read INVISIBLE THINGS in bits and pieces, spare moments snatched during bus commutes and waiting for water to boil. Thus, I may not be doing full justice to the book. At the same time, I just never felt compelled to sit with it longer. I'm behind on a term paper outline because I picked up Jim Butcher's DEAD BEAT and didn't put it down for 200 pages. Jenny Davidson never managed to make me forget other responsibilities waiting.
Davidson's writing, mechanically, was lovely. The prelude to the story is atmospheric while managing to pack in some action. But it seems like the action parts got lost sometimes. Part of this is due to Sophie's intelligence, which sometimes translates as pretentiousness. She tends to think about things in ways that can be lovely, but don't create forward momentum.
I enjoyed INVISIBLE THINGS, but I somehow though a novel that revealed dark secrects, featured an eve-of-war setting, and began with an assassination would be more of a page-turner.