Friday, 27 September 2013

Book: Viridis by Calista Taylor

Book 1 of the Viridis series. Late one night a body is found, and discovered to be that of a young Lord. Recently made an inspector, William sets out to solve the crime, introducing him to the club Viridis and its owner, Lady Phoebe Hughes. Phoebe and her only remaining family member, her brother Gabriel, run the club together, selling a herbal concoction of Phoebe's design which makes the sense more acute and increases desire, a potent combination when Phoebe's lover, Seth, returns from a year long absence, and though she tries not to fall for his charms, some things are just doomed to fail. With a rejected suitor on the path for revenge, a revolution brewing and the Secret Service sticking their noses in, can the entourage prove their innocence and solve the crime, and remain unharmed, or is that as doomed to fail as Seth and Phoebe staying away from each other?

Link to Goodreads
Link to amazon

Having written the above synopsis, I don't even feel like I have scratched the surface of what Viridis has to offer as a book. I loved reading every minute of it, the story captivated me, the relationships and characters all had their faults, or in the case of the 'bad' characters, their redemptions, and ultimately they were all 'real' (something you will realise I love if you just read a couple of my reviews!).

Take your warning now though: Viridis contains regular scenes of a sexual nature, including one that could almost be defined as rape (I say almost as the flow of the story makes it so that, technically, the character involved agreed to be placed in that situation). Personally I didn't have a problem with the sex scenes (well other than the rape obviously), though it had a steampunk setting and contained elements of crime, Viridis was primarily a romance story, and a romance without sex is just a bit flat in my opinion, it just doesn't seem to be realistic. Additionally one of the properties of Phoebe's herbal drink, also called viridis, is that it enhances desire, and again, not showing the potential results of this would have been a little odd.

I saw a couple of reviews of Viridis from people saying that they didn't like it and that the characters were self-absorbed. Now even allowing for differences in personal taste, I have no idea what they were reading, but I am shocked that it is the same as what I read! Yes, on occasion the characters could be a little selfish, but then I would like you to show me someone who isn't, in my mind it is highly unrealistic to have a completely selfless character. In actual fact, I thought that a lot of what the characters did was for other people, just look at what Phoebe did to save Seth, to my mind that took a lot of love and a lot of courage to do, even for a fictional character!

Overall I thought that the characters were well written and well-rounded, which really helped the story to flow. Even when one of the characters did something bad, you could see how they felt they were justified doing it, and you can even feel that they were justified. Really this all comes back to having real characters who act like real people!

Intertwined with the love story is the mystery of the murder. And I must say, hats off to Taylor, I had no idea who the murderer was until it was revealed, of course none of the characters really had a clue either! One thing I can say was that I at least worked out the motive, well sort of. I worked out a fact that wasn't reveled til much later and that turned out to be the motive, but I still feel that that deserves a pat on the back!

I really enjoyed all the aspects, characters and themes in Viridis and I would most definitely recommend it!