Monday, September 20, 2021

Review of "The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn," by Michael Merriam

 Review of

The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn, by Michael Merriam

Four out of five stars

Set in Victorian times with a bit of the occult

 The setting is a pseudo-Victorian environment with some advanced airships with a bit of magic. Arkady Bloom is the main character and he is a security agent for the Crown. The story opens with him acting like James Bond, his hands moving suggestively along the body of the Contessa Moretti. At first she seems to be accepting of his actions, right before she tries to stab him with the long, silver pin taken from her hair. Being the nimble sort, Bloom is able to avert injury.

 There is the almost obligatory sidekick to Bloom, he is Chillblood, a massive African man with two major scars on his face. This feature reminded me of the comic character Mandrake the Magician with his black sidekick Lothar. Loyal to the point of risking personal injury and death, the two of them make a formidable team when battling those on the evil side.

 The story is short, so there is not a great deal of opportunity to grow stale and repetitive. While the magic adds to the story, like all such opportunities, it must be used with caution. For if the magic can be used to solve everything, then there is no danger or tension. That aspect is handled rather well, the magic remains secondary rather than becoming the main plot device.

 A solid story that does not rise to the level of exceptional, this story is interesting. On a personal note, there was the additional point of interest that it was published in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I live.

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