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Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (Gideon Smith #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  511 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him b
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Tor Books
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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
When his father is lost at sea and his ship found abandoned, Gideon Smith leaves lonely Sandsend behind to venture to London and find Lucian Trigger, hero of many penny dreadfuls, to help him find who is behind it. En route, Gideon befriends a writer named Bram Stoker and a Mechanical Girl named Maria. But will Lucian Trigger be the hero Gideon needs?

I got this book from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a steampunk adventure tale. I'll be honest, I was pla
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

This steampunk book has it all!

You want a cool Victorian setting? No problem.

You want vampires and mummies running amok? They are everywhere.

Dirigibles, sky pirates, treasure, pyramids? Mr. Barnett gives them to you.

Adventure, fighting, ancient mysteries, romance between unlikely people? Its all in the book.

The story itself begins in a tiny fishing village in Victorian England, where our unlikely hero Gideon Smith finds himself an orphan after the myst
Aug 18, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it
A Steampunk novel that finds time for Bram Stoker as a character, vampires, mummies, a tribute to Lovecraft, references to Shelley and her monster, and allusions to Jules Verne and Indiana Jones is welcome on my bookshelf anytime.

But …

This one was just too damn corny.

In the Victorian world that Barnett describes the American Revolution failed in 1775, the Taj Mahal and Statute of Liberty are in London, which is the capital of a global empire, more widely spread and more dominant than the real re
4.5 stars for me, should really give it a 5 but I kinda like saving up for those FIVES these days plus ive already dished out one this month.

So whats Steampunk all about - Mostly about tales of derring-do as they say with a strong Victorian influence & the rest is made up as they go along which is defo the case in the tales of Gideon Smith as modern reality/fantasy is re-written with a twist!

A flavour - The story starts in Whitby & runs virtually parallel to the start of Bram Stoker's Dr
Tabitha (Pabkins)
As much fun as Terry Pratchett or Indiana Jones!

Be sure to read David Barnett's guest post @ Not Yet Read on "Steampunk. What's that, then?"

A marvelous adventure filled romp, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a novel that has it all. Gideon is a daydreamer with his nose stuck deep in his penny dreadful novels, he wasn’t prepared for the terrible things that happen in his small ocean side town. This is a genre bender mixing steampunk, vampires, mummies, alternate historical fiction, and ju
Aug 20, 2013 Nathan rated it really liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

Steampunk adventure! This book was like reading a blockbuster movie, and it was a whole lot of fun. Like most blockbusters that come up in the summer months you have to prepare for some conveniences, assume all the characters will find a way to end up in the same spot, and do your best NOT to wonder what the hell the protagonist is thinking at times. But if one can enjoy the typical summer movie, and sales figures show that most people can, then “Gideon Smith and the Mechanica
Bob Milne
Next to perhaps River of Stars and The Marching Dead, both of which I went into with high expectations, I don't think I've enjoyed a book this year as much as I did Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl. From the concept to the characters, I enjoyed every aspect of it and came away wanting more . . . much more.

David Barnett's novel has been called "the ultimate Victoriana / steampunk mash-up" but that doesn't begin to describe it. It's also an old-fashioned horror story, a penny dreadful romp aro
Jul 14, 2014 Johnny rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
This one’s for anyone who ever wanted their fictional heroes to be real! Do you know how many people look for 221B Baker Street as though it’s a historical site? Well, David Barnett’s Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl uses something of that idea to send the eponymous Gideon Smith rushing from venue to venue like something out of a Jules Verne adventure. Along the way, he sprinkles in historical characters such as Bram Stoker and Annie Crook (romantic relationship with Prince Albert) and ficti ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Charlene rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
What we have here is a tasty mix of Victorian steam and good old-fashioned pulp adventure. Naive young fisherman Gideon Smith longs for the life of his favorite hero from the penny dreadfuls, Captain Lucian Trigger. Before he can say "Jack Robinson", his dad has gone missing, he's befriended an itinerant Irish writer named Bram Stoker who's hunting vampires, and monsters are attacking his village. There's enough adventure here for twelve books, along with appearances from a world of well-known ...more
Wyatt Packard
Sep 02, 2013 Wyatt Packard rated it liked it
Gideon Smith longs for an adventure, like ones he reads about in his penny dreadfuls. One in the likes of the famous hero Captain Lucius Trigger. He feels stuck in his small fishing town, working on his father's fishing boat day after day. One morning however, Gideon's father and the fishing crew go out on the water, the boat is later washed onto the shore, empty. Determined to discover what happened, Gideon goes to London to enlist the help of his beloved hero. But is Trigger the hero Gideon ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Kerry rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
I picked this up on whim from the local library. The book description captures the story's gist fairly well. I enjoyed this light hearted story. I'd give it a 3.5 ish.

Barnett's alternate world history draws heavily from traditional Victorian Age steam punk. A place with fabulous flying machines, steam coaches and, obviously, mechanical girls. The reader should expect young women to have bodacious bosoms and perky bottoms and young men to have bulging biceps and cowboy bravado. But all face their
Fantasy Literature
Oct 10, 2013 Fantasy Literature rated it really liked it
As one might perhaps be able to tell from the title, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, by David Barnett, is a paean to the pulp adventure novels of yore a la Frank Reade and His New Steam Man. This sort of thing can be a bit tricky to pull off, as it is a fine line between keeping the spirit of the source material in terms of characters, dialogue, and plotting and crossing over that line into the trite and silly. For the most part, Barnett pulls it off. Enough so that I’d be interested in ...more
Sep 21, 2013 edifanob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books, 2013-reads
I receives a review copy from Tor and be sure I will write a full review soon.

Such a great read. I finished the book in one day.
Excellent story and excellent story telling. Lot of passages sounded like the penny blood which have been famous in Victorian England.
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears on my blog. Note that any links in the blog review are not reproduced here. The blog review is subject to update and modification, and any changes to it will not be reproduced here.

I recommend this novel.

Note: mild spoilers!

The male protagonist of this steam-punk novel is Gideon Smith, a 24-year-old who lives with his father in a small fishing village near Whitby, Yorkshire. Both of my parents hailed from Yorkshire, and I've actually been to Whitby, a se
Jun 12, 2014 Vanessa rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Gideon Smith's father is a fisherman, and one day the ship returns to port in Sandsend, England, without his father or the crew. Determined to find out how a ship could lose its crew on a calm sea, Gideon begins to hear reports about monsters appearing in the local caves. He happens across a Mr. Bram Stoker, who is searching for inspiration for a new story. But Gideon's obsession with World Marvels & Wonders, a penny dreadful that recounts the heroic exploits of Captain Lucian Trigger, at ...more
Matt Cresswell
Jan 20, 2014 Matt Cresswell rated it really liked it
I came across David Barnett by way of his outstanding short story in Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (ed. George Mann), only to discover that his first novel was imminent. What’s that you say–steampunk thriller? Well, if you insist.

I have what probably amounts to something between a passing interest and an excited obsession with steampunk as a genre. I’ve been to Whitby Goth Weekend in full regalia, own an impressive stack of steampunk-flavoured films, several pocket watches and a top hat. However
Mar 16, 2015 Jacey rated it really liked it
Gideon Smith, son of a Whitby fisherman from Sandsend is an aficionado of the true adventures of Captain Lucian Trigger, Hero of the British Empire, so when his father's fishing boat is found floating, abandoned, with all the crew lost, Gideon goes looking for answers. There's a strange creature walking the night, one that's scarily reminiscent of a mummy described in one of Trigger's tales, and strange goings on at Lythe Bank. He meets writer Bram Stoker, himself investigating another ...more
Natalie Herzer
I was given this book as a gift and I'm so glad.

After the first chapters I could barely retain myself from clapping my hands in joy, bouncing up and down. This steampunk has more than I had hoped for...
Victorian world - cool
Airships - awesome

...but it gets even better:

A mechanical girl.
Famous characters and legends I would never have expected to find in one single book.
And to top it all off: Pirates of the sky.

I was a goner.

The writing style is fluent and had me completely hooked. I couldn't put
Kirsty Young
Apr 24, 2014 Kirsty Young rated it it was amazing
Gideon Smith is a fisherman who dreams of adventure. Whilst his colleagues bring up kids and lose themselves in the mundane tasks of everyday life, Gideon spends his spare time reading his favourite “penny dreadfuls” sand reveling in the adventures of his hero, Captain Lucian Trigger. When tragedy strikes, Gideon can’t bring himself to carry on living the life which was expected of him, and takes matters into his own hands.

I can’t recommend this book enough for either the avid Steampunk fan or j
Aug 30, 2014 Randal rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy, ya
Jolly good, if paint-by-numbers, steampunk.
Lessee: Vampires, zombies, zeppelins, penny dreadfuls, Sherlock Holmes (in the background), Jack the Ripper, a cyborg, an oversexed female aviatrix ... yeah, just the usual. Well paced, lively dialogue. Fun. No serious emotions are harmed (or addressed) in the reading of this book.
Fred Hughes
Mar 20, 2015 Fred Hughes rated it did not like it
I didn't finish reading it, I just gave up.

Disjointed; there is no flow from chapter to chapter. Characters and ideas are constantly just thrown into the mix with no linkage or rational.

I get that some story lines take time to evolve but there is no evolution in this story, just confusion.

Never did get to meet the mechanical girl
A fantastic Indiana Jones-like, alternate history, sci-fi/fantasy adventure. I couldn't put it down and can't wait to see where the tale goes next.

As the description says, this book truly is the ultimate Victoriana/steampunk mash-up!
Timothy Boyd
Oct 27, 2014 Timothy Boyd rated it it was amazing
I have not read anything by this writer before or anything in the Steampunk genre but if it is all this good I am hooked. Great blend of humor, action and plot. Very interesting character and alternate world history. I'll be coming back for more. Highly recommended
Aug 27, 2014 Jasper rated it really liked it
originally posted at:

One of the genres that is a favorite of mine has to be steampunk. Just the theme alone inspires so much cool elements. I recently went to Gamescom in Cologne and they had this stand of The Order 1886 and people dressed up steampunk style. It's just awesome. Everything is possible, and this is exactly what David Barnett shows in Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl. I have read a fair share of steampunk themed stories and one that stil
Sep 25, 2013 Glshade rated it really liked it
Thought not without a niggle here and there Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a marvelously pulpy adventure read that taps into many things if you look a little deeper. Loved this book... The first few chapters are a mix of social horror and Victorian farce. Go here to check my full review. or read further

David Barnett gave a great interview to My Bookish Ways (here) which you should definitely read if your interested in Gideon Smith and the Mechan
Original Link to the review at my blog Le' Grande Codex - here

Complexingly extravagant and one complicated but easy to follow story. Presenting Gideon Smith and The Mechanical Girl by David Barnett.

Here is the summary of the book:

Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

London might as well be a world a
Sep 11, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing
There are certain things that I think good genre fiction should always aim to be. Fantasy should be otherworldly, horror should unsettle. When it comes to the sub-genre of steampunk any plot needs to be exotic and evocative in equal measure. A reader is going to be looking for that slightly skewed version of reality. The story is going to be set in a world that manages to both be oddly familiar but also just that little bit strange. We need high-flying dirigible battles, vampiric bloodlust, ...more
May 21, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Here be mild spoilers, nothing too specific.

To start off, I quite enjoyed this book. It's got its flaws, but it's a solid page-turner that you can easily envisage as a big budget blockbuster. I'm also a sucker for airships.

The story apes that of the typical pulp fantasy stories in the vein of Indiana Jones or Flash Gordon. Small-town boy gets in over his head in a grand adventure that spans continents, collecting allies and an ancient artifact along the way. Of course, Egypt is involved.

It's n
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I have to admit, I just did not enjoy this novel. It hit a lot of pet peeves I have about stories and I just couldn't get into the story. As such, I wouldn't say that this is a bad book and certainly I think there is a lot here for others to like.

Despite the title, Gideon Smith only plays a small part in the book, which focuses on many characters, most of which are famous. We are introduced to Gideon - and then that is a
Alasdair Stuart
Jun 22, 2015 Alasdair Stuart rated it it was amazing
Gideon Smith works with his father as a fisherman. He yearns for adventures, wanting desperately to be like his hero, Captain Lucian Trigger of The World Marvels & Wonders. Trigger fights vampires and mummies in service of the Queen. Gideon doesn’t.

Until, one day, all his dreams start to come true and he finds out just what they’ll cost him.

There’s an enthusiasm to David Barnett’s work that’s clear from the first page. It’s a little like watching a really good cook at work, pulling ingredien
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