Title: The Damsel and The Daggerman
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Blud 2.5
Genre: Carniepunk e-novella
Source: Galley received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewer: Kristen R.
Summary (From Goodreads):
“Bad boy knife-thrower Marco Taresque is the hottest and most dangerous performer in the caravan. He keeps to himself until a pesky female journalist arrives, anxious to interview him about his checkered past—his last assistant disappeared under mysterious and bloody circumstances, earning him the nickname “The Deadly Daggerman.”
Unsinkable journalist and adventurer Jacinda Harville doesn’t take no for an answer, and she’s determined to wear down Marco no matter how threatening—or incredibly desirable—he might appear. He agrees to an interview—but only if she’ll let him strap her to a spinning table and throw knives at her body. How can she say no? And how can she resist him when he leans close for a kiss that strikes her more sharply than any blade? It’s the first time she’s let a man get the better of her, and she’s determined it will be the last…”
The Blud series has been enjoyable to read from the start and this novella is no exception. We are brought back to Criminy’s Clockwork Carnival after the last book took us away to other parts of the world of Sang. We get to see Criminy and Tish once more (Wicked as they Come), as well as Madam Morpho and Mr. Murdoch from an earlier novella (The Mysterious Madam Morpho). There is something special about being with the caravan again and it gives us a chance to learn more about its cast of characters and their interesting culture.
Dawson once again comes through with unique and colorful characters for this story. There is the independent and strong-willed reporter Jacinda. She has her eye on the mysterious and deadly Daggerman, Marco. Will Marco reveal the truth to Jacinda as to whether he murdered his assistant? Jacinda is willing to do almost anything to get him to tell her what really happened and finds herself caught in a game of cat and mouse.
As always, there is a nice balance of steampunk flavor mixed with paranormal romance and set in a fascinating world. There are clockwork animals and vampires (Bludmen), as well as other supernatural creatures. Due to the length of the story the reader only gets a taste of what the world of Sang is like, but there is certainly enough information to enjoy the story and what is revealed will entice first time readers to seek out the other titles.
The relationship between Marco and Jacinda was a little too much about power to be completely appealing to me as a story element, though I know it can be a very appealing to others. Despite the fact that this element was not quite for me I could appreciate it because the interactions between the two characters were expertly done. Jacinda is headstrong and determined and will do almost anything to get her story but is challenged by the feelings that Marco brings out in her when he is in control. Dawson is wonderful at creating complex characters with complicated backgrounds and putting them together with interesting results.
4 out of 5 bookmarks. This is a wonderful novella that can be enjoyed even without having read the earlier stories, though they are highly recommended. If you like romance with a paranormal or steampunk twist you will like this novella.