Thursday, 6 August 2020

Balthazar's Bane by Kat Ross + #Giveaway

Balthazar’s Bane
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #6)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: July 31st 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

A More Than One Challenge read
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 is a lush adventure novel that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's the second of Kat Ross' Gaslamp Gothic books that I have read (it's actually the sixth in the series) and I'm happy to say that I was just as entertained by this story as I was by my previous read, Dead Ringer. The novels both start in the year 1889, but otherwise they are standones with different characters and very different settings.

Balthazar's Bane is steeped in fantastical mythology with spiteful demons and powerful djinn, the magical city of Al Miraj and a suitably impossible Quest for our hero. I loved reading about Balthazar. He is humorously vain and likes to pretend an aloofness and lack of emotional depth, but does actually have a good heart, albeit one that is pretty well buried. His ever-loyal secretary, Lucas, is another great character and their dialogue always sparkles especially once Balthazar's eye is caught by a certain alluring woman. The will-they-won't-they attraction between Balthazar and Zarifa is seriously sexy. It's a fun battle of wits.

Ross excels at creating richly detailed and imaginative settings throughout this story and I love how she can impart descriptive information without ever losing the exciting pace she sets. From the Cairo bazaar to Al Miraj and beyond, I was transported to a wondrous 'Arabian Nights' environment with hints of ancient Greek mythology scattered around too. Keeping up with all the changing allegiances is quite a challenge because, apart from poor Lucas I think, everybody is out for themselves to some extent. I appreciated that no one is completely good or completely evil and the mix of motivations adds a good depth to the novel. I'm now a committed Gaslamp Gothic fan!

Author Bio:
Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

Win 1 of 5 ebook copies of the Gaslamp Gothic boxset which contains the first five novels in this series.
Open internationally until the 13th August.


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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting today, Stephanie! Great review! :)