Welcome to Face-Off Friday, where I pit the two books most recently arrived in my mailbox against each other! Leave a comment as to which book you’d prefer to read for a chance to win both of them. If you only want one, you can throw one back in the pot for another reader. Because my TBR mountain range is way out of control.
Today is a real adventure because I had two books come in over the past week and I haven’t opened the packages yet, so I have no idea what’s in contention.
Up first, in envelope No. 1, from HarperCollins, is—ooh, pretty cover—The Clockwork Dagger, by Beth Cato. The blurb:
THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER: Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.
Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.
And in envelope No. 2, from St. Martin’s, is…um, interesting…The Bloodline Feud, by Charles Stross. The blurb:
THE BLOODLINE FEUD: Miriam knows there’s no smoke without fire. And she’s about to get burnt…
The Family Trade and The Hidden Family – The first two installments of the Merchant Princes series combined in one volume.
Miriam Beckstein is a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine. So when she discovers a huge money-laundering scam, she thinks she’s hit the big time. But when she takes it to her editor, she’s not only fired, but receives death threats. That’s just the beginning.
To distract her furious daughter, Miriam’s adopted mother unearths mementos from her real mother, murdered when she was an infant. But these reveal a secret that will ultimately throw governments into disarray. For what Miriam thinks is a simple locket has the power to fling her into an alternate timeline. In this less-developed world, knights on horseback wield automatic weapons, and world-skipping assassins lurk on the other side of our reality. Here, her true family runs a criminal empire – and they want her back. But Miriam has other plans.
THE OPENING SENTENCES:
THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER: Octavia Lander’s journey to her new source of employment was to be guided by three essential rules: that she hide her occupation, lest others take advantage; that she be frugal with her coin and avoid any indulgences that come with newfound independence; and that she shun the presence of men, as nothing useful or proper could possibly happen in their company.
THE BLOODLINE FEUD: The sky was the color of a dead laptop, silver-gray and full of rain.
PAGE 100 (last two complete sentences):
THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER: The Wasters chose water as their medium again—appropriate, since the last war started with irrigation rights as their excuse. She touched the circle around the icebox.
THE BLOODLINE FEUD: Her skin itched. She poured expensive bath salts and perfumed oil into the water without remorse, then slid down into the sea of foam.
Hm…an interesting set of options. I’m not a huge steampunk fan so my first instinct was toward Bloodline, but that first sentence of Clockwork made me laugh. So it almost wins based on that alone. In the end, though, I’m still more an urban fantasy fan than a fan of steampunk and for that reason only, I’m choosing The Bloodline Feud.
Which one would be your choice?