Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices) By Shelley Adina
I purchased this and it's been in my kindle for a while and I'm not sure when I really planned to read it. I don't read a lot of steampunk so I won't claim expertise in that field. I do follow Genius Girl and I've read a handful of books touted as steampunk. This book seems to qualify neatly into that genre. Anyway, I just received my copy of The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War by Jaroslav Hasek and I'm about 150 pages into the 800 page dark comedy and satire of world war I. I've decided I needed a break and pulled out the Kindle and I'm glad I did because this was just the thing I needed; as a break from the kind of novel that requires my full attention and meticulous careful reading.
I was almost afraid this was going to be a bit too light, but I was delightfully surprised by the engaging story and mostly the engaging and energetic main character Lady Claire Trevelyan (The lady of devices). Many of today's novels would like to jump in and grab the reader and thrust me into the story with the jarring end of a fish hook; an experience every good reader should thoroughly enjoy. This one does not so much. It does start with a bang- the explosion Lady Trevelyan causes when trying to obtain the answer to a question her tutor saw fit not to give. After that we become acquainted with the society she lives in which is the typical Victorian type with the flowing skirts, laced corsets and bustles. The prim and proper young ladies who know their station in society. And, the ever dominating men who are expected to drive society forward into the next era.
The perfect world, where Lady Trevelyan could only feel over protected, stifled, and ignored while she's trying to assert herself and further her education towards a career. The earliest part of the novel is her constant attempt to stop the flow of a powerful river of social behavior that flows by itself carrying those around her down a predictable path. For some I suppose this could be considered a rather boring and mundane story. For me; I found it difficult to stop reading as I was caught in a similar flow of words and description that somehow had me reading this to myself in a rather stiff stoggy voice that may or may not have matched the mood the author intended.
Getting carried away that way would mark for me that this author is a grand story teller and I was never once disappointed by the flow and pace of the story as I made my way from cover to cover. Like some I was a bit perplexed by the perpetual motion being wasted on a cleaning robot but I could hardly mark this as strikingly anachronistic to a storyline that is in effect out of a genre that's expected to be anachronistic in nature. What is important is that the author's world is setting up rules for the technology that is dominant and that she is sticking to those rules and being consistent. And, frankly, from the none steampunk expert point of view, I'm not at all sure that steampunk lends itself easily to being pure science- fiction. So I'm not a stickler about being that pure here.
As to the romance it's here with the recognition that there will be several more novels in which to watch it grow. I'll grant that it is a bit short on romance but I'd be lost to reading this had the Lady gone in the shortness of a few hundred pages into the arms of just any man since it seems to be a bit outside of her character.
I will be the first to complain about the seeming flagrant mercantile use of ebooks to sell bits and pieces of serial at any price and I've never been afraid to mention it. I don't feel that this qualifies as that type of abuse because it is a novel length and what has in the past annoyed me the most is those shorter than short story segments that sell for 99 cents that lead to many more sold at anywhere up to and beyond 2.99 each. This book is well written and developed and the ending is quite satisfying while leaving me with the desire to know more about this character and I might add quite happy because there is more.
After the unfortunate events that lead to the end of their family fortune and her fathers death Lady Trevelyan is almost squashed by the gears of society. If not for a series of unfortunate yet somewhat fortunate events that occur as the the story takes off, she would have been left in that boring life from pages gone by. We next jump into a sort of twist on the Oliver Twist story that takes our character from high society to the dregs of society from which she musters the force of her character and forges into a new life. I honestly can't praise this book enough in some respects.
I've purchased the 4 pack of this which amounts to over 800 pages so it looks like I'll have something to act as a companion to Jaroslav's work and both authors couldn't be in better company. (That's purely my own wistful opinion.)
I'm certain most steampunk fans will enjoy these novels. Possibly romance novel lovers will enjoy them and some of the usual Sci-Fi Fantasy crowd would not be disappointed. I would say keep writing them Shelley, but I'll wait until I've gotten through the lions share and it looks like there's a fifth novel anyway.
Thanks for the good-read.
Magnificent story telling-with a satisfying though somewhat incomplete end.
View all my reviews