Okay, how to put this. “Rotten Magic” is not a novel. According to the title of the Introduction, it is “Notes from the Artificer’s Guild.” A much more apt description. It is more like a series of short stories with chapters interspersed between each other.
Likewise, the writing style comes at you just a bit slantwise. There seems to be plenty of action and lots of things happening, but everything is filtered through the emotions of the main character of the given chapter: Drusilla in the first person or Devin in third, which leads us to suspect that sooner or later they will be together in one story. Or not. So we get a fragmented, emotionally charged interpretation of what is happening rather than a straight narrative. Mildly disorienting at first, but one soon gets used to it.
A particular strength of this work is the complex steampunk world the author has created, with both technical details and social ethics that all add to the richness of the experience.
A good read for those looking for something slightly different. And steampunk fans, of course.(4 / 5)