Possibly some of you didn't know this, but I am deeply fond of the 18th century. Deeply fond. As in, I asked timprov this morning why VH1 does not do an I Love the 18th Century show for me, because I would love to hear Uncle Alice and Henry Rollins go on about their favorite bits of the 18th century. Sir Mix-a-Lot talking about the Plains of Abraham. Like that. Because clearly everyone loves the 18th century like I love the 18th century.
Okay, maybe not everyone. But swan_tower got it. This book in particular really, really gets it. It is the third in a series, and for reasons papersky describes as the spearpoint, I would recommend reading the other two first--the events and decisions of A Star Shall Fall are explained enough that they will make sense without the ones preceding it, but they won't have the sme emotional weight. But it's one of those cases where I wish it had been possible for the series to start somewhere else, though I see why it was not, because "well, it starts with an Elizabethan faerie book" is a much harder thing to sell people on as unique than "she manages to really get 18th century science and the weirdness of it and yet also how it would combine and, sometimes more to the point, not combine at all with the kind of numinous you see in faerie."
On the other hand, "it starts good and gets better" is no bad thing to be able to tell people of a series.
I really did like the faeries, as we knew from before, and Galen, the Prince of the Stone who is the human main character of this book, but my heart went to Miss Philadelphia Northwood. That noble soul stole the book for me, and I suspect she will for several of you as well. And the increasing number of faerie visitors/immigrants as human Britain gets more diverse is interesitng to me also, handled lightly and subtly and with secret raids on stores of antiquities. Win, win, win.
jimhines said this is his favorite so far, and I have to heartily agree. If you were on the fence about whether you were interested in an historical fantasy faerie series, but you have any interest at all in 18th century Britain, you should go after the previous volumes immediately so you're all ready when A Star Shall Fall comes out.