**Thank you A-Girl Studio and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**
HRH Prince Albert's Secret Commission is a branch of law enforcement full of Raised beings who fight the supernatural during Victorian London. The newest member of the commission is Artifice (Art). She has been paired up with Jim Dastard, a seasoned member of the commission. Their first case together involves tracking down and stopping the person responsible for the murderous zombie children that have started plaguing London.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The first 10% or so is a little slow, but then the story picks up steam and keeps right on to the end. The zombie children were a nice twist on the Steampunk genre. The characters were unique and likable. Art can go back and forth from solid to ghost form. While she doesn't have her memories from her past life, she kept the traits of her personality that meant the most to her. She was a Quaker in her former life and is still very much one. Her reluctance to kill the reanimated children, even though they had no qualms about trying to eat her, gave her a real human feel. Jim is a talking skull, and by far the funniest character. Many of his remarks come from time periods well after the Victorian era, which makes me wonder if there will be a time travel element added later in the series.
My only complaint is the story felt too rushed in certain parts. This is a short book, only about 130-140 pages, and there was just too much crammed in. We have the main story, Art dealing with the everything that comes with just brought back to life, and parts of her past trying to push themselves into her present. There were characters or places that had a very brief mention early on, then were brought back for towards the end for important happenings. There were a few times where I had to do a search in the book to remind myself who a character was or what a place was. If this been a full length novel, or broken up into two 130 page novels, I think this would have been a solid 4 star read.
One thing that I absolutely loved about this title was the lack of romance. I don't mean in a "I hate romance" kind of way. Too many authors add a romance that the story neither needs or or can fit. They cram in a story that just feels forced and takes away from the overall enjoyment of the title. Watasin must have realized she already had more then enough in the title and left the romance for future titles. This title did plant the seeds for what could be a likable romance later in the series.
I will continue with the series