Steampunk Canada

Tie up Your Dirigible and Visit for a Spell


Review - The Dark Victorian

Posted by Lee Ann Farruga on April 30, 2012 at 12:55 AM

In an 1880 mechanical and supernatural London, two resurrected criminals, Artifice the artificial ghost and Jim Dastard the animated skull must fight supernatural forces run amok as agents of His Highness Prince Albert’s Secret Commission.

Book 1 - RISEN:

Jim Dastard gets a new partner, Artifice the artificial ghost, and they must capture a rogue reanimationist who’s resurrecting murderous children.

The two main characters are intriguing,not only is Artifice, or Art as Jim calls her, a past criminal and now a ghost, but she's also a Quaker. My sister is a Quaker. I think the author has done a fine job of incorporating their beliefs here. Eventhough it seems a strange bedfellow in a story of murder and magic, it suits the character well and gives her a lot of dimension and heart which can often be lacking in such a dark story. Jim is very lively and has a sharp tongue, which is difficult when you are a skull with no actual tongue. His wit and wisdom are fantastic.

I quite like the Prince's Secret Commission created by Ms. Watasin and the fact that they use the animated corpses of executed criminals for their special agents. Fabulous recycling! The use of magic instead of technology for their special gadgets is also quite refreshing.

The many secondary characters introduced in this first book are just as interesting as Art and Jim, and I look forward to learning more about them in future volumes. A few of these minor characters also hold clues to Art's past, and from the crumbs given in this volume, it seems a most fascinating past will be revealed.

The scariest part of the book is the small army of undead children wreaking havoc amongst the upper and lower classes alike. It not only gave me the willies, but also flashbacks of Steven King's Pet Cemetery. However, the story behind this reanimated horde is well thought out and poignant. Luckily there is much humour in the story as well to lighten the mood and move the tale along.

One of my favourite parts of the book came when Jim took Art to the Vesta club. I had a feeling about the club before they even entered and was quite pleased to be found correct. Little did the author know, before giving me her book to review, that I had researched Vesta Tilley quite a long time ago, and for which our steampunk trailer is named. Kudos Ms. Watasin for covertly incorporating such a fine person within your story.

Risen is a short book and a quick read, but it is very entertaining. It is a good lead up to future volumes inThe Dark Victorian Series.

Author Elizabeth Watasin has worked on 13 animated feature film favorites including Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, and Princess and the Frog. She wrote for Disney Adventures magazine and her graphic novel Charm School is published by SLG Publishing.  She lives with a black cat named Draw in a tree house in Los Angeles. She's currently working on her storybook Fey Dently, Vampyre, A YA adventure novel, Wit's World: Never Was, and the short story Gothic steampunk series, The Dark Victorian.  You can find out more about her at

You can purchase The Dark Victorian through Amazon and BarnesandNoble .

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Reply Calliope Rose Handcar Jones
12:10 PM on April 30, 2012 
Is this a novel aimed at our Steampunk youth, or is it more suitable for adults? When you say it is a short book... how short?
Thank you.
Reply Elizabeth Watasin
10:48 PM on April 30, 2012 
Hi Calliope,
The book is general adult fiction, not young adult, and according to Amazon it is about 101 pages. I hope Lee Ann won't mind that I've answered your questions. Thank you for asking!
Best wishes,
Calliope Rose Handcar Jones says...
Is this a novel aimed at our Steampunk youth, or is it more suitable for adults? When you say it is a short book... how short?
Thank you.
Reply Lee Ann Farruga
6:49 AM on May 1, 2012 
Elizabeth, I don't mind whatsoever. Thank you for answering!