Read The Dark Victorian: Risen by Elizabeth Watasin Online


“Way will open."She is Artifice.A resurrected criminal and agent of HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission.An artificial ghost.A Quaker.He is Jim Dastard.The oldest surviving agent of the Secret Commission.An animated skull.A mentor to newly resurrected agents.It is 1880 in a mechanical and supernatural London. Agents of Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, their criminal pas“Way will open."She is Artifice.A resurrected criminal and agent of HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission.An artificial ghost.A Quaker.He is Jim Dastard.The oldest surviving agent of the Secret Commission.An animated skull.A mentor to newly resurrected agents.It is 1880 in a mechanical and supernatural London. Agents of Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, their criminal pasts wiped from their memories, are resurrected to fight the eldritch evils that threaten England. Amidst this turmoil, Jim Dastard and his new partner Artifice must stop a re-animationist raising murderous dead children. As Art and Jim pursue their quarry, Art discovers clues about her past self, and through meeting various intriguing women—a journalist, a medium, a prostitute, and a mysterious woman in black—where her heart lies. Yet the question remains: What sort of criminal was she? A new beginning, a new identity, and new dangers await Art as she fights for the Secret Commission and for her second life....

Title : The Dark Victorian: Risen
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781301012022
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 162 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Dark Victorian: Risen Reviews

  • Lex Kent
    2019-04-26 15:19

    After hearing so much about Watasin I have been excited to start this series. This is a novella that gives a taste of what is to come. This is a paranormal story that takes place in Victorian London with a steampunk vibe. I was a little confused with the order of these books. If you want to try this series start here, next is The Dark Victorian: Bones Volume Two than Ice Demon and finally Medusa. Thanks to Lov2laf for the rec and correct order.Art is a reanimated ghost. She was shot and killed, and brought back to life to fight the paranormal evils of London. Her partner Jim is a talking head, well actually a skull. I don’t know what to think of Jim as a character yet, but the concept of Art having to haul around a head was pretty funny to me. I really liked Art as a character. This was only a novella so you are still getting to know everyone, but she is already a badass. Plus in her former life she was a Quaker so she has a conscience when it comes to violence. You can tell this series is going to be on the grittier side when it comes to violence and blood and gore, but I don’t mind that in my paranormal books. It did take me a little bit to get use to how Art spoke and some of the other characters, but you get used to it pretty quickly. There was no romance in this novella, but Art knows she is a lesbian so who knows what is to come. There was a prostitute character that may be a nymph, or some sort of Fae, it will be interesting to see if Art and her might get together. My only real complaint was it was over too quickly. I want to read more so that is a good sign. I have been having bad luck lately in books I have been reading. It is nice that I can say for a novella this was a solid 4 stars. I look forward to the other books in this series.

  • lov2laf
    2019-05-08 15:41

    Upping this to 4 stars (with the rest of the series getting 5 stars).I had fun re-reading this novella this past weekend. When I originally read it I wasn't writing reviews and, of course, hadn't read the entire series yet nor was I familiar at all with the fabulous writer Elizabeth Watasin. So, I'm adding some extra notes to give it its proper due.First off, this is a novella that really is the setup and teaser to a much larger story. On my first read through, I was disappointed that it ended so quickly but I didn't understand at the time it wasn't a full novel so that's on me.Also, this story is a bit like stepping off a cliff. The combination of Victorian London with paranormal elements with an injection of steampunk, large cast, strange language, and a dark mystery had my head spinning. I haven't read anything like it before or since and there's an adjustment period to take in the new world that Watasin creates.The story is mainly told through the point of view of Artifice, a woman brought back to life to become a new agent in the Secret Commission, a branch of law-enforcement that deals with paranormal crime. The book contains mysteries on numerous levels, one of which is Artifice herself. For, you see, the agents of the Secret Commission were all previously criminals in their former lives who met their end at the gallows. When the agents are risen, they do not recall any of their history, and the fact that we soon come to realize that Artifice is a kind-hearted, pacifist Quaker who is now a crime-fighting ghost gives her and us a big question of why and how she came to be.Add that Art's seasoned partner agent is a talking skull in a top hat who speaks in strange lingo, welcome to bizarro world of the best kind.The main feel of the book is a paranormal mystery and Artifice is basically a Victorian super-hero. In this caper, she and Jim Dastard (the skull) are on the trail of zombie-like children viciously murdering people in the streets of London. This is not a romance but the lesfic element comes in from Artifice being a woman loving woman sapphic lead...and she's not the lone one in the story.What I also love about Watasin's work, in addition to the crazy imagination, is the breadth of amazingly strong and interesting female characters she writes. Though Artifice is the lead, by no means is she the only powerful and intriguing character. It's truly a lovely cast. If this sounds like something up your alley, take a read and definitely get book two (Dark Victorian: Bones) as, again, this first novella is really just a taste of greater things to come.Love it!****3.5 stars. I felt like the story was too short but it was really imaginative. Another reviewer said it took a little while to get into the groove of how Art spoke, in particular, and I agree with that. It's worth sticking with, though. I liked the character of Art a lot and the supporting cast. I felt the 2nd book in the series was much better but this is a good book to read to get a feel for Art and the world she lives in. Recommend reading.

  • Ted
    2019-04-28 17:13

    This has to be the most singularly unique book I've read in a *very* long time. Sapphic story of a paranormal London and a flair for steampunk. The author's voice is really really something. It really takes some getting used to. But once I did I thoroughly enjoyed it. Liked it alot. Moving on to book 2 :)

  • Kurt
    2019-05-15 20:41

    The book is titled "The Dark Victorian" and this is fairly dark at that. Watasin creates a pretty cool world of the paranormal set in late Victorian times. It's surprised me how quickly I became accustomed to our heroine, Artifice (Art), carrying around an animated skull who takes her on her first case. Art is a six-foot wonder, a lesbian Quaker who is a reanimated criminal now turned agent for the crown.I enjoyed this. I wouldn't have minded more romance to offset the macabre violence, the darkness of the subject matter, but on the whole, this story is well written and enjoyable. The author does not give us an info dump all at once so there were surprises having to do with Artifice spread throughout the story. Quickly read, I hope there is more depth in the sequel.

  • Jolene
    2019-04-29 20:40

    **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

  • Yzabel Ginsberg
    2019-05-25 20:31

    (I got a copy courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)This novel is quite a short one—too short, in fact, for the scope it seemed to want to reach. Maybe it's a case of "first book in a series syndrome". Anyway, I found the premise interesting, but kept wishing it went deeper into some of its aspects, and developed things more than it did.The plot felt somewhat muddled, rushing in parts, not really going anywhere in others. I'm still wondering what exactly it was about. A reanimator, sure, and a gallery of other characters that looked like they were introduced for later use mostly, because while they helped with things like clothing, they didn't really do more. But I didn't exactly feel a sense of urgency, and it was as if some hints and links between events were thrown in, in a disjointed way.The banter between Art and Jim was likeable at times, definitely weird at others, taking space that might have been better used for more scenes, more plot development. Art's way of speaking was also rather quirky, the whole Quaker business leaving me perplexed: I didn't understand to which degree it was relevant. She seemed like an interesting character enough as it was, with a lot of potential, without the need to add such quirks. Maybe reading the sequel would allow me to appreciate them more... or maybe not. I honestly can't tell.I would also have liked to know more about this organisation resurrecting criminals while wiping their memories. Not "more" in terms of secrets (every such organisation needs secrets, to be revealed later), but as in "a larger view of its agents". Who else was involved? How does the Secret Commission operate, since everybody appears to know about it and either respect or fear their badges? There's some potential here as well, and I'm positive it would have deserved more spotlight in this first installment. Just a few more agents walking around, to make me feel like Jim, Art and Fall weren't the only ones.Art's leaning towards other women was also dealt with a little too strangely to my liking, in that the way it was revealed, the way it unfurled, felt wonky and jarring. It's probably a pacing problem more than anything else, because I had the same feeling with other scenes, as mentioned above. However, it was also good to see it accepted by other characters as something that just happens, something that "is". Though Jim makes a few quips about it, it's in a friendly way, the same kind of way he comments about other situations.I'm not sure I'd pick the next book. It's more a 1.5* for me, leaning towards a 2, because there are intriguing elements about which I'd like to learn more, so you never know... But not if it's as disjointed as in this one.

  • Babel
    2019-05-18 20:19

    I can safely say that The Dark Victorian is, to say the least, unconventional. It comes loaded with steampunk flavour, quirky characters, situations that border insanity, and layers of horror peppered with light-hearted fun.It constantly defies expectations as it travels the deeply rooted image of Victorian England that the reader has in mind. To begin with, the main characters are enough to put you in a laughing mood. Jim Dastard is a skull. Just like that. No arms, no body, no flesh. Picture him as a washed skull wearing a top hat and smoking a cigar. Ah, what a sight to behold. With his dashing attitude and his out-of-this-world chit-chat, he makes for some funny moments. He's in league with another bigger-than-life character, Artifice, a ghost who has no memory of her original self but who can kick ass like a comic hero. They are both living, so to speak, a second life in the service of Queen and country. In atonement for a criminal past, it is their mission to chase and neutralise paranormal felons that roam London. The first case we encounter is that of reanimated children that attack with rabid and morbid violence those who used to know them. A terrible mystery lies behind the motives of both the murderers and the criminal responsible for their evil endeavours.When I started reading this short novel, I was taken aback by the monotone description. After three pages, though, it all started to change. London comes to life with the author's words, that old city brimming with human cacophony and smells and dark deeds. In my opinion, the best assets of The Dark Victorian are three: original characters, lively pace with so many stimulating details and a disturbing mystery that makes room for horror, emotion and hilarity. Artifice is a physically powerful woman who can be flesh and ghost at will. The fact that she doesn't remember her past is a source of mystery that will bloom in subsequent stories. On the other hand, Jim is the funny, smart and weird counterpart. While both are chasing the criminal, the detective plot is full of action, secrets and terrible acts of violence, but at the same time it's possible to get to know the characters really well. I loved the specially tailored clothes that Art wears, and her abilities as a ghost. And I loved that she is so sensitive but so strong at the same time. London, of course, is a literary trap that's perfect for steampunk mystery-seekers.

  • ᴥ Irena ᴥ
    2019-05-25 14:24

    3.5Risen suffers from a first book in the series syndrome, but not in the usual, info-dumping way. On the contrary, there is no info dumping here at all. 'She wondered what had just happened' best describes my thoughts while I was reading it. It is both its strength and weakness. I felt pretty good reading something that the author didn't feel any need to explain and at the same time I wanted a bit more information.Artifice, a corporal ghost, is partnered with Jim Dastard, an animated skull. Their job is to fight paranormal dangers in the name of the Crown. Jim is one of the oldest and the most experienced agents of Prince Albert's Secret Commission. I found it silly since everyone and their grandmother know about it and its agents. The Commission takes executed criminals and resurrects them as its agents. “Well, Artifice. It’s time to fulfil your duty to the Crown. Upon your execution it was decided you’d be resurrected into a form and purpose best suited as an agent of His Highness, Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, and that you would dedicate your life, as it has been given back to you, to the service you will now bear; ridding England of its supernatural evils. Raise your right hand.” The case itself isn't the focus of the story. Someone is reanimating corpses all around London and they go and kill someone, usually in some gruesome way.The mystery was achieved through other characters and their actions, all somehow connected to Artifice. There are hints of her past scattered all throughout the book and I can't wait to read more about it. She will have to find out on her own, or those characters will decide to tell or show her more. “Memory surgery,” Jim said in her hand. “Amazing trick. You’ll remember nothing of yourself, your previous life, your identity; none of it. But you’ll know how to dress yourself, how to speak, what meat pies are and what they taste like; butter, treacle, pudding, ginger beer, who the Queen of England, Punch and Judy, and Father Christmas are, and your letters and numbers if you were suitably educated. Let’s buy a paper. That boy there, he has the one we want. You’ll recall your coinage as well and count accordingly.” While I am not impressed with the case (they just breezed through it), the main premise for this series (a talking skull that feeds on fire and smoke and a Quaker lesbian spectre fighting the evil) is great. All those hints and half revealed truths might annoy some readers, since they don't get any explanation here. However, they are well placed and you get just enough to wish there was more.

  • Barry Huddleston
    2019-05-19 21:40

    First let me admit my bias for dark Victorian stories. From my misspent youth watching Hammer Films to my current love of goth and steampunk, I have enjoyed my fiction like I like my chocolate, dark. So it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed “The Dark Victorian: Risen.”Set in a Victorian-era London, a “not-so” secret agency protects the citizens from supernatural evil. Watasin has created two of the most interesting characters that I have ever read, and between you and me that’s saying something. Artifice (Art) is an artificial ghost with abilities beyond her massive frame. Her senior partner is an animated skull, Jim Dastard (you have got to love that name). Art is the perfect foil to speed our supernatural story along.While the pair attempt to solve their case, Art tackles the age old question of who am I. I liked the development of her character and the pace of the story. I did find a minor typo. I have to say that the illustrations are eye-popping beautiful and I’d like to have seen more. Also I’d would like to have seen some multicultural London in the story.If you like James Blaylock, O. M. Grey, or Guido Henkel, you should enjoy Elizabeth Watasin’s The Dark Victorian series. I highly recommend it and give it a “must read” score of 5 stars out of 5.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author Elizabeth Watasin. I was not required to write a positive review.

  • Corrie
    2019-05-01 15:28

    (March 7) I LOVE this! And lucky me, I bought the other books in the series already so I can keep reading about the fabulous Artifice and her partner Jim Dastard. Yes, the story was short(ish) but Elizabeth Watasin did some excellent world building and has left me hungry for more. I like the cut of her jib! :-)(April 18) Barely a month later but it was even better the second time reading out loud to my book club buddy D. She is totally beguiled by the good Miss Watasin as well now. My job is done *grin*

  • Penelope Bartotto
    2019-05-21 20:40

    I will admit, I hope I can call Elizabeth Watasin a new friend, because otherwise I am going to have to become one of those stalker fans. I absolutely loved, The Dark Victorian: Risen, and am eager to read The Dark Victorian: Bones (Volume 2). Thankfully, I have it sitting on my humongous To Be Read pile, next in line, in fact!First, I must say that the cover art and illustrations (found in paperback editions) are gorgeous, and the credit is 100% due to the author herself. Fabulous showcase of multiple talents. Note I find her quite modest though when discussing her talent. What's within the cover does not disappoint either, Watasin writes with such panache that she had me chuckling and even second guessing my knowledge of historical items. Many a discussion ensued in my house over items such as a penny-farthing. Discussions are good though, and I want people to read this book and discuss it, and want to read more. I know I want more, and soon! So, you know what this means it is time to break this baby down...Steampunk Quotient = 10/10So far I have been blessed to find some truly wonderful examples of the genre, this is no exception. Set in Victorian London, just have to mention Whitechapel, who knows where the story could go? You have the marvel's of Victorian society perfectly melded with the scientific inventions of the Steampunk genre. Add in some curious magic, and Watasin has personified Steampunk in her tome, begging the question can the next book get better? I think it will!Now Breaking it into The Three Building Blocks of Literature:A. Characters: Be prepared to discover two characters that will stick with you forever, and they could technically. Jim Dastard and Artifice, his recently assigned partner. Crafted perfectly, both figuratively and literally, to do both their job within the story, but attract the reader completely. I became immediately fascinated with Artifice and Jim, and hope the future tales bring us more of their history, but felt that the perfect amount was shared within this initial story. No character is left undeveloped, yet Watasin teases the reader delightfully with just enough information to make you want more, to learn more. This is a true talent.B. Structure and Flow: The first book in any series has the pressure of building the foundation. Some do this with ease, others flounder in the overly saturated concrete, losing the fight. Risen, is a solid foundation. Not overly long, it creates a suspense that makes readers want to come back for the sequel, and the hopefully many more. The flow paced itself, with solid building points, and dashed into action as needed. Everything came together in a comprehensive and very entertaining fashion. Rock solid structure, and I believe that the flow into Volume II will be well done. As they say, we shall see.C. Plot:Here's an area I have had some ask me about, would not the plot of all Steampunk books basically be the same? The answer, most definitively is NO!There are many avenues available for world building and story building in the genre, and Watasin has developed a most interesting one.Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem send our characters on a chase through London... and that's all that I shall say. Remember, NO SPOILERS from me! I will say that the adventure is perfectly played out, the story follows a plot nicely, and every twist and turn makes perfect sense, eventually.

  • Douglas Stewart
    2019-05-17 15:32

    KEEP CALM: Ghost and Skull ARE HERE'Read if youLike your steampunk genre weighed heavily on the supernatural horror side of the scaleDelight in strong female characters rendered substantial by their flawsLove all the flowers of narrative that bloom from Pseudo-Victorian bedrockAvoid if youDon't enjoy a witty sidekick loaded with the line stealersGet irritated that teasers, half reveals and a horde of clues with no solutions are the order of the day [It is a series after all]You find the role of humour superfluous or off putting in moments that can be truly horrificAllergic to even the slightest hint of manga inspiration.The screws that bind:Necromancy + Archetypes of MythSecret SocietiesIrreligious humour and witty banterGaslit inspired suspense/ horrorAftertaste: Smoke, Hope and the imaginary aroma's of old London.Line to Adore:"We must discuss this, Art,""Friend, I prefer not," Art said"You're a sapphist, the club is full of sapphists, don't you want to talk 'plainly' and about lights and truths like Quakers are supposed to?""Aye, But I needn't know all truths," Art said.Author: Elizabeth Watasin-female, American, AnimatorPersonal Bias: Truly refreshing novel. Great to see the steampunk motif being only a stage to the supernatural horror. Art reminded me of Claymore Clare, while Jack reminds me somewhat of Klodoa. I did detect a small tendril of dread Cthulhu wriggling through the novel's gaslit streets. Maybe just me..

  • Sharon
    2019-05-05 13:42

    In this clever novella, Elizabeth Watasin introduces Artifice and Jim Dastard. The two are investigators for Prince Albert's Secret Commission: they look into supernatural crime.The twist? Art, as she calls herself, is a newly created ghost with little memory of her past (bits and pieces come through during the course of the story). And Jim? He's a talking skull that wears a top hat and eats lit cigars.In this story, two chase down re-animated children who are attacking people all over London. There are twists and complications as Art learns more about herself.One of the nicest features of the book is the illustration plates at the back; Watasin is a talented artist in addition to being an outstanding storyteller.There are some steampunk elements to the tale (airships and the like), but the main focus is on the characters and supernatural elements. A good romp!

  • Joc
    2019-05-09 14:22

    I don't think I've read anything quite like this and I think it's going to be a gateway drug for me. In essence, this is the story of a rookie secret agent, Art, and her newly assigned mentor, Jim, on the trail of a serial killer. However, the setting and the characters are fantastical and extraordinary. Art (Artifice) is an artificial ghost who can take solid or spectral form and was raised from the dead for the purpose of being an agent for Prince Albert's Secret Commission. She is assigned to Jim Dastard who is a skull with a hat. Their job is to rid England of its supernatural evils.The backdrop is an alternate Victorian era of airships, magic, the paranormal, futuristic-retro industrialisation and the dark, grungy alleys of Jack the Ripper's London. Most of the descriptions are interwoven with Art and Jim's dialogue as they get to know each other while on the trail of the killer. I came to really like Art, who is completely lacking in artifice, for her sense of generosity and remorse. Jim is an amazingly full-bodied, entertaining character for a skull.This is a world I enjoyed being immersed in and I'm looking forward to more.

  • Isobel
    2019-05-23 17:38

    The world building in this is great - I love the steampunk setting and the reanimated investigators of the occult are fascinating. I want to know more about Art and her background, and her history with Hestia and Helene.The horror themes were way beyond what I normally like, especially with the children and the gore, but that alone probably wouldn't be enough to put me off.Unfortunately, I also really disliked Jim Dastard, and in particular the lesbian prostitution as harmless entertainment for the male lead thing - I found that really, really off-putting.I'd still read more if this series was available in Scribd or Kindle Unlimited which I'm paying for anyway, but the negatives definitely outweigh ~$5 a pop for me.

  • Wart Hill
    2019-05-26 13:35

    Read this and other reviews at Things I Find While ShelvingI received a free ARC via NetGalleyI suppose that “very cool” is not considered an adequate review, so I will attempt to be articulate.I found this book absolutely fascinating. This is set in a Victorian London with a twist: ghouls and ghosts and state approved reanimation of the dead fighting unapproved and criminal activities of the supernatural kind. The people who are reanimated for the fighting of crime purposes were criminals, but they reawaken without a full knowledge of who they were in life.Risen focuses on Artifice - a semi-solid ghost type person - and her partner, the crazy time traveling skull of sassiness, Jim Dastard - who’s gone through more partners already than he likes to count. Art was a Quaker in life, and, oddly, remained so when awakened. Jim is, as I said, a sassy bastard animated skull, and oh so entertaining.The two of them are seeking a resurrectionist who is using ghosts to commit murder.The world is intriguing, the characters are fantastic, and I hope to soon read more in this world!

  • Becky Stephens
    2019-05-11 18:42

    In this gothic steampunk novella, we have the pleasure of meeting Jim Dastard and Artifice, two agents for Prince Albert's Secret Commission. But they are not your standard investigators, even in this Victorian era. Jim is a cigar-eating skull who wears a top hat, while Art, his most recent partner, is a newly created ghost. This is a character-driven novella, and we learn much about Jim and Art. Though there is much more to learn about Art, as she does not know much about who she was prior to being brought back as a ghost to work for the Secret Commission. At the end of the novella, we learn about who Art's friends may have been in her first life, but I can't decide if it was an afterthought or if it was deliberately placed so that the readers were kept wondering until the end.The cover art has a graphic novel feel to it, and sets the tone of the novella.The supernatural elements of this novella are fascinating. After all, the two partners of the Secret Commission are hunting a re-animationist who has been reanimating dead children who are viciously murdering people. And it wouldn't be complete without its mediums and eldritch evils.I absolutely love the vocabulary in this novella! I'm not embarrassed to say that I had to look up quite a few words.Though Art is a ghost, she is normally as solid as a living human. She can "ghost" at will, which gives her the ability to fly and move through walls; however, she cannot do this while holding Jim. I like their resolution to this potential issue: a magical candle lit in Jim's skull while wearing one of two magical monocles allows him to see what Art sees through her monocle.With broughams, ascending rooms, gaslights, and penny-farthings, I felt the characters were grounded in their Victorian era London setting. Elizabeth Watasin knows this era well. This is a fun read filled with interesting and quirky characters, like the sapphic performers Arlette and Manon. They were introduced past the midway point, and I hope to learn more about them in the second volume.This review originally posted to Twisted Book Junkie.

  • Ray
    2019-05-04 14:31

    There is a finely-honed edge to The Dark Victorian: Risen. Ms. Watasin’s wit and imagination shine through the world of dark shadows and eldritch power and one quickly finds a home within the pages of this story. It would be appropriate to note at this point that you should have some time on your hands when you begin reading this book or you may be forced to give your loved ones a glare of annoyance when they interrupt your reading.The pace and promise of this book are delightful! Weaving the world of this London effortlessly in with the plot shows the reader the level of talent and artistry of the author. We are quickly drawn into the world of Prince Albert’s (Not-so-)Secret Commission and marvel at the way that a disembodied skull is able to create a larger presence than a man with all his various and sundry limbs.The bleak streets of London are a maze of well-crafted characters and dastardly doings that drive the plot and reader forward through the twists and turns of the plot. One of the points that struck my fancy was the way the action sequences were crafted. I’m used to hit and miss action in novels and I was pleased to find that the deft pugilistic skill of Agent Artiface was easy to follow and entirely enjoyable. When one considers the ‘proper’ manner that was expected of a Victorian woman these ‘outlandish’ displays of physical prowess and sharp skill will tickle the fancy of many a reader.I should admit that the first thing that drew me to Ms. Watasin’s work was the elegance of her illustrations. Should anyone worry that her art might outshine the text, rest assured that both are even more delightful together and enrich the experience of reading Risen.I hope that Volume Two will soon be available for our reading pleasure, although I believe my family may not be so eager! This book was such a distraction for me, taking my attention away from them for a few stolen hours of entertainment. I hope they’ll forgive and forget before the second volume is released.

  • Michael Brookes
    2019-05-09 19:20

    The Dark Victoria: Risen is the first volume of a series of stories set in Victorian era London. This is a mild flavour of steampunk, but with a supernatural twist. The story concerns two agents of a secret agency that combat supernatural terrors that inhabit the city. In this case they are tracking down someone who is reanimating the dead, the dead then go on to to commit horrible murders. The two agents are themselves reanimated, the first (Jim) is simply a skull who has been partnered with Art. She has only just been brought back to life and part of the interest in the story is her self discovery along with the case they are tracking.I enjoyed reading this, the story is well put together, the writing is solid and it keeps you interested until the end and then teases you for the next book. I would have liked to have seen the thread about what is going on behind the scenes a little earlier, as it is it feels a bit tacked on.My only other minor issue is that I've read a few books recently set in this time period and they did a much better job of conveying the feel of the time. Don't get me wrong this is far from bad, but lacks a strong self of location. Still that's only a small complaint and this is a fun read.Oh and I liked the cover as well!

  • Emily Thompson
    2019-05-05 14:27

    The ghost of a kindly Quaker, and a very cheeky skull with a top hat, fight supernatural crimes in London, 1880, during a curious murder spree perpetrated by the illegally reanimated dead.How could you anyone resist a premise like that?The Dark Victorian, Risen by Elizabeth Watasin tells a wonderfully gothic, gritty, and intriguing story, full of real-world Victorian values, thrilling dangers, deep mysteries, and otherworldly adventure.Artifice the ghost, and Jim Dastard the skull, are agents of the mysterious "Prince Albert's Secret Commission." Both of our heroes were executed for the crimes of their previous life. Now they have both been brought back to half-life and put into the service of the state. But while they have no conscious memory of their previous incarnation, some things of Artifice's past are seeping out of the shadows now to haunt her... Meanwhile, there's a necromancer running around, raising dead children and sending them out to kill their parents.Mysteries abound in the shadows of these cold, fogy, London streets. If you're in the mood for something chilling, thrilling, and unique, then give this brilliant novella a try! You can even read a sample of it here on Goodreads, right now!

  • W. Tinkanesh
    2019-05-16 19:18

    'Dark Victorian: Risen' is one of these books hard to put down, featuring characters taller than life –no matter how supernatural, characters you do not wish to leave behind.It is 1880 and a female Quaker named Artifice –Art for short– has been reanimated after death, to work with Jim Dastard for Prince Albert's Secret Commission. Their first case together involves dead children reanimated to kill their parents or whoever abused them when they were alive. "Keep calm, Ghost and Skull are here", quips Jim. Art is the ghost and Jim is the skull.This is a steampunk novella with humour, style and details. Elizabeth Watasin is the kind of writer who spends as much time as necessary researching all the quirky vocabulary, outfits and other accurate details pertinent to the plot.Characters are well developed and intriguing. They will leave their imprints in your memory, be they supernatural, or human like the Skycourt sisters. Readers can reunite with them and the House of Vesta, where most women are saphists, in the sequel 'Dark Victorian: Bones'.(I actually read the eBook, so I don't know about possible illustrations.)

  • Sharon Kennedy
    2019-05-19 14:42

    I loved the idea of this novel, where people who have been executed are re-animated and put to work for Prince Albert's Secret Commission. They have no memories of who they were, or what they were executed for, only what they are allowed to know.Artifice, or Art, is an artificial ghost, and she is partnered with Jim Dastard, a top-hat wearing, talking skull. However, someone else is reanimating the dead, and they are seeking revenge on the living. Art can take on ghost form, which leads to some very funny situations, particularly the first time she does this while carrying Jim...unfortunately, Jim cannot turn into a ghost, and is left on the other side of the wall.Art also meets two women, the Skycourt sisters, both of whom seem to know something of her past. Helia, the younger, is a journalist, who covers the stories of the murders, and intriguingly wears a mask over the left side of her face, which covers the tendrils of a wicked viral creature, which seems to become active when she is under extreme stress.I really enjoyed this, and will definitely be exploring more in this series.

  • Victoria Limbert
    2019-05-16 20:42

    I loved this book. It was odd, humourous and constantly had me picking up my kindle to read more. Art is a lovely character full of kindness, charity and emotion, though it seems she has darker personal tastes. To add to the delight of this book she is a re-animated, previously dead, ghost, that can take a solid form. She was re-animated by a Secret Agency who fight supernatural crime. Her partner is a re-animated skull who wears a tophat called Jim Dastard. He is strange, hilarious and rarely makes sense. Its fun to read Art and Jim's interactions, conversations and the friendship they form.The ending was a little abrupt and left on an interesting Cliffhanger. I will look forward to reading the second book in this series and other works by this author.This book was a delight to read and held the twisted themes I enjoy.

  • Jami Zehr
    2019-05-21 14:25

    Read my full review at Absurdly NerdlyThoughts: Risen is a very good book. The writing is excellent, the concepts are intriguing, and the characters have the feel of fully fleshed out individuals even if all the parts of them aren’t revealed in the first book. The author clearly knows where she is going with her story, and a fun story it is! I know the murderous dead kids seems a bit gruesome, but even that is done well, and I’m known to like things a bit dark, so I was not put off by that. If you like steampunk with a twist of darkness, the magic arts, and talking skulls, give this series a chance.

  • Helen O'Reilly
    2019-05-01 16:12

    So-dense-it's-almost-chewy prose with sensory details galore give The Dark Victorian: Risen Volume One a substantial, stick-to-the-mind quality; a perfect introduction to the steampunk genre for this reader! Word choice, flow, characterizations, dialog, setting and description ring true. World-building was fine, and the events led one along, page after page. I will definitely look for Volumes two, three, etc. One star deducted for slightly awkward sentence structure in spots, but overall, a splendid ride.

  • Bruce
    2019-05-19 17:36

    A wonderful first book. I'd have given it 5 stars but then where would I go when the next book gets even better? The setting of Victorian England and the arcane arts make a great pair. The characters and the mystery behind them are great and I look forward to learning more in future books.

  • Denise
    2019-05-10 16:18

    So good it held my attention through a bout of food poisoning!

  • Sabina Bundgaard
    2019-05-25 18:16

    3,5 STARSI had some trouble getting into this book in the beginning, not because of the plot, but because it took me some time to get used to the English that was used in this book. *can you tell I’m not born into the English language?* I even had to look up the term Quaker. Never heard about that before. Well, I learned something new. :-)Once I came past the oldish English, I caught up with the story quickly and found myself locked into the mystery that was Art, Jim and the re-animationist who is making trouble wherever he goes. Art is a ghost, a woman resurrected when she died, now working for the Secret Commission catching criminals. But not everybody is resurrected. Only former criminals are brought back to catch other bad guys, but in the process, they lose their memories of their previous lives. They know basic things, but everything personal is ripped away. Art is a former Quaker, and some of that is still lodged within her, and she know how she is supposed to act…. I liked Art, and I liked the mystery she represented, and that it was only in the very end we got to know more about her.Her partner; Jim Dastardly is a skull with a wondrous appetite for the finer things in life and a need for smoke and fire. I have no doubts that Jim has his secrets as well, and I am hoping we get to see more of him and his past in future books. Imagine a skull shouting and screaming anything that comes into his mind, and at the same time, cares about his surroundings, the people in his life. Add into the story a mix of mystery, danger, amazing gadgets, magic…. And you’ve got the first book in Dark Victorian series.I was intrigued after my initial problems in the beginning, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

  • Lianne (The Towering Pile) Lavoie
    2019-05-21 13:22

    This review is copied from my blog, The Towering Pile. It was originally published here.Risen takes place in 1880s London. Criminals who have been executed are resurrected, with their memories wiped, to serve Prince Albert's Secret Commission in protecting London from supernatural threats. Jim Dastard is a mentor to newly resurrected agents, and is a skull. Artifice (Art) is Dastard's newest partner, and she's an artificial ghost (she can be solid or not-solid as she chooses). In this first installment of the Dark Victorian series, Jim and Art must track down a reanimationist, who is resurrecting dead children and causing them to seek revenge on people that they blame for their early deaths.I know, it sounds weird. I must admit, I had my doubts about the animated skull and the artificial ghost. But they are delightful. Art becomes quite a fleshed out (no pun intended) character, as she tries to figure out what kind of person she was like in her past life, and deals with being a Quaker who also seems to have some violent tendencies. And Jim Dastard is a very witty talking skull.Weirdly enough, I kept thinking that Jim shouldn't be able to do some of the things he could do. I mean, I could accept that he was a talking skull, but every time he said "hmm" I was like "how can you make that sound with no lips?!". Yeah, I'm strange like that. :)I have no problem recommending this one, especially to fans of steampunk and other Victorian-era genres. I look forward to the next book in the series!Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this ebook from the author.

  • Cassandra
    2019-05-01 20:41

    Oh my, this turned out to be delightful! This is the first ‘Steampunk’ book I’ve ever read, but it was quite intriguing.Risen is an imaginative cross between Micheal Connolly and Sherlock Holmes. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but after following Jim and Art through this thrilling novel, I cannot wait to read the second book!This first book in the series is centered around Art, a newly risen ‘ghost’ who works for a secret commission in London; and Jim, a hilarious talking head, and also Art’s partner. They are investigating a series of paranormal events, and must act quickly to find the killer.What I loved most about this book is that even though it is not a genre I typically pick up, I felt perfectly comfortable reading it. Elizabeth Watasin does an amazing job walking the reader through this new world with a character who is also experiencing (well, re-experiencing) it for the first time too. She remembers little from her past life, which is exciting as a reader because as she learns about herself, you learn a little bit more about her too.To be thorough and honest in my review, I must say that it took a small effort to get started. There were so many details to follow in the first two pages I had trouble keeping track of it all. However, once Ms. Watasin got into the details, it flowed well, and there was enough action to keep me reading quickly through the rest. I really enjoyed reading something new, where I couldn’t expect or even anticipate the final outcome. As an avid reader, it is very hard to find a book that takes me by such surprise. Well done, Elizabeth Watasin, I cannot wait to read the next book, Bones!