The Tethered Goat by Mikala Ash


The Tethered Goat by Mikala Ash
Elizabeth Hunter-Payne Steampunk Adventures, 7
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Erotic Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Hell-bent on revenge for the death of her husband, Elizabeth takes the initiative and sets a daring trap for Vladimir, the Russian spy she suspects of the deed. Meanwhile, Peter Smythe, a handsome and dedicated correspondent, is investigating the disappearances of street people in the docklands of London.

The discovery of a horribly mutilated body of one of the victims reminds Elizabeth of the horrendous acts perpetrated by the Whitechapel murderer known as the Collector. Elizabeth slew that monster, itself a creature of Vladimir, and she fears this is a new apprentice.
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Sparks fly when Peter and Elizabeth come together, and they set off on a roller-coaster adventure in a fogbound steam-driven world. When the hunted becomes the hunter, Elizabeth is the bait!

When does the hunter become the hunted? Imagine setting a trap for a vicious beast, but you end up being the one trapped instead. Mikala Ash takes readers into their 1800’s steampunk version of London where our daring heroine might have bitten off more than she can chew.

I loved Elizabeth’s character. An intelligent, beautiful, bad-ass woman who can take care of herself? I am all here for that! She’s not always one to take other’s feelings into account, but I feel like that’s part of her character arc and something she has room to fix. Ms. Ash had me invested in Elizabeth’s journey when Elizabeth allowed herself to be vulnerable and talk about how she’s still affected by the death of her husband. That moment gave her a lot of depth in my eyes.

While you can technically read this as a standalone, readers may miss out on some of the backstory and character dynamics. For example, I felt like I was missing something in the relationship between Elizabeth and Marianne. Despite missing some small details and nuances because of this, I didn’t have any issues understanding the mystery aspect and the overall story arc.

The erotic romance factor was not as obvious. Yes, there were some erotic scenes but there was no romancing (which is disappointing). Erotic scenes lose a lot of their excitement for me when there’s no connection (or when the connection is not believable). A meeting of the brains? Love at first sight? Plain and simple lust a character needed to work out? Anything works! Just give me something I can believe in to establish why characters are getting in bed with each other. Unfortunately, the story failed to deliver a meaningful romantic connection. If it had, I would have been able to give it a higher rating.

Overall, The Tethered Goat is a quick and enjoyable adventure-filled tale. I would recommend this book to readers who might enjoy a steampunk, female driven mystery that’s similar in style to Sherlock Holmes (with minimal elements of erotic romance).

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