The combination of alternate realities and literary pursuits in this book is like Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere combined with Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series and a bit of steampunk. Cogman tries to throw too much together here, but that can probably be excused for a first foray into this universe. She gives prominence to strong female characters without using weak male characters as foils, unlike those found in most of CJ Cherryh's novels. This series shows promise. You might also like Rachel Caine's novel Ink And Bone.

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