Meet Hyde, Silver Heart, and Lady Sparkle. By day, they are assistants to three powerful men in Edwardian London. By night, they are the masked heroin...moreMeet Hyde, Silver Heart, and Lady Sparkle. By day, they are assistants to three powerful men in Edwardian London. By night, they are the masked heroines that make up the Friday Society.
When flower girls start being murdered, men of science turn up dead, and bits of London start blowing up, it is up to these three to use their unique talents to put it all together and save London from permanent destruction. Cora (Hyde) uses her brilliant scientific mind and her knowledge of the streets from her time spent living on them as a child. Nora (Lady Sparkle) uses her beautiful face and flexible body to escape any trap and scale any wall. Michiko (Silver Heart) uses her formidable fighting skills as a trained samurai to defeat any foe. Together they have the brains, beauty, and brawn to save London.
Irreverent, funny, full of steampunk costumes and inventions, these three ladies are set to take London by storm - as long as they can ditch their bumbling male handlers and be back in time by morning, of course.
"How shocking. Truly. One simply doesn't do such things in polite society."(less)
Obviously a steampunk novel, as it's book #1 in The Steampunk Chronicles, there's a great mix of adventure, romance, and gadgetry in this quick (despi...moreObviously a steampunk novel, as it's book #1 in The Steampunk Chronicles, there's a great mix of adventure, romance, and gadgetry in this quick (despite its 450+ pages) read. I love the trim size of this novel, its gorgeous cover with the steel corset peeking out from the scarlet dress, and the black gears that decorate each new chapter page. Overall, a gorgeous package for a book that delivers from a first-time foray into the YA genre by best-selling author Kathryn Smith.
Finley Jayne has had to run. Again. Something about her draws men to her, and at age 16 and a servant in people's homes, she's easy prey for the fathers and sons of rich families. Or so they think. There's something inside Finley that awakes when she's in danger, something dark enough to protect Finley by allowing her to fight well and become strong enough to throw a grown man across the room. Though she didn't kill him, after this last fight with a member of the crew of Dandies, followers of the notorious Jack Dandy, Finley knows she must run again and despairs of where she'll find herself this time, out on the streets, in the middle of the night, in 1897 England.
Luckily, she is run down by a Duke on a motorcycle-type machine. Griffin King, possessing powers of his own, recognizes something within Finley and so brings her to his manor to join his own band of misfits. There's Emily - better at tinkering with mechanical things than any man; Sam - part-man, part-automaton; Griffin's aunt, Cordelia - she can read people's minds; and Jasper Renn - an American who can move like the wind. Suspected by some of being a spy, unwillingly drawn to both Griffin and Jack Dandy, all Finley really wants to learn is why she feels like there are literally two sides of her - the Finley of her conscious moments, and the Finley who can fight like the devil. Is she evil? How will she reconcile her two sides? And can she do so while also trying to help Griffin's gang figure out just what evil plot The Machinist is hatching that involves Queen Victoria and life-like automatons like the one that almost killed Sam?
Though most of the plot twists and turns were not a super-shocking reveal, this is a perfect introduction for the 12-and-up set into the world of steampunk and all the clothing and machinery that goes along with it. I'm looking forward to following the gang to America in book 2!(less)
The completely-lives-up-to-it-thank-god conclusion to the Leviathan trilogy!
Mr. Westerfeld & Mr. Thompson continued to do a magnificent job of giv...moreThe completely-lives-up-to-it-thank-god conclusion to the Leviathan trilogy!
Mr. Westerfeld & Mr. Thompson continued to do a magnificent job of giving us both text and pictures to illustrate this alternate world history. It's a little difficult to write about this book without spoilers but I'm going to try.
At the opening of the novel, Alek & Dylan/Deryn are still aboard the Leviathan, making their way toward Japan to wave the British flag. Redirected to Siberia for a rescue mission, they meet the fanatical scientist, Mr. Tesla, the inventor of the Tesla cannon that did so much damage and created such a problem for Alek & Dylan/Deryn at the end of book 2, Behemoth.
Mr. Tesla claims to have created an enormous Tesla cannon, named Goliath; he predicts the mere threat of using this super-weapon will cause the Germans to surrender and will herald the end of the war. Alek believes it is his destiny to work toward peace, so feels he must side with Mr. Tesla, despite whatever misgivings Alek and Dr. Barlow, the lady boffin, have about him and whether his weapon even works. Dylan/Deryn has her own misgivings, but mostly she's concerned about continuing to keep her identity a secret from Alek who is not only her best friend, but who she definitely has romantic feelings for.
With Mr. Tesla taking over the direction of the Leviathan, they all find themselves on their way to America by way of Mexico. The land of opportunity awaits - opportunity for fame, opportunity for fortune, and opportunity for secrets to be revealed. No matter where they go, even to neutral America, the crew and guests of Leviathan can't seem to outrun the war. When Alek and Dylan/Deryn are separated and danger befalls them both, they both must make hard decisions about who and what is most important - duty, honor, promises to themselves, or promises to each other?
Readers who are looking for a true conclusion to the series should be 100% satisfied. Exciting up to the very last page, Goliath truly delivers. While I'm clamoring for more, it is simply because the author and illustrator have created such a complete alternate world that I believe there could be many more books written in this setting.(less)
Two things first: I hate this cover. Despite that, I really enjoyed the story.
I absolutely judge a book by its cover, and there's something about the...moreTwo things first: I hate this cover. Despite that, I really enjoyed the story.
I absolutely judge a book by its cover, and there's something about the woman on this cover that really turns me off. To the point where, despite having waited patiently for this book to become available on my library queue, when it came in, it took the book actually being due for me to stop ignoring it in the pile on my floor and actually read the damn thing, and once I did that, I read it in one day. So, there you go. Just one more example of why you should really never judge a book by it's (quite awful) cover.
If you have not been introduced to the Parasol Protectorate series yet, it is a delightful mix of Queen Victoria-era London and it's surrounding countryside, with occasional forays into other parts of Europe; the supernatural, paranormal, and preternatural worlds; steampunkery in terms of machinery and accessories, though the clothing is more typically Victorian; and lots and lots of tea drinking.
I've been a bit wishy-washy on whether I was fully in support of this series or not. There's always something that I don't really like in these books, making me feel vaguely irritated while reading them, and yet they suck me in with the quality of writing and the unexpected plot elements and the most ridiculous situations the characters get themselves into and the descriptions of Victorian life. Dammit.
Luckily, book 4 was much better, in my estimation, than book 3 (I don't like marital tension, and there was a lot less of that in this book), though it was a close call because I almost stopped reading after the first 3 pages. That's how disappointing I found the first plot point. BUT, as the book went on, it was woven in, in such a delicate and thoughtful way, that soon I was on board and interested to see where things would go next.
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, is eight months pregnant. Despite feeling the size of a fully-inflated dirigible, she tries not to let that slow her down as she investigates a new plot to kill the queen. Delving into the history of the last assassination attempt on the queen means diving into the history of how and why her husband Conall came to London from Scotland, a circumstance that no one is happy to remember as it involves betrayal and poison and a mad werewolf Alpha. After some sleuthing and deducing, Alexia realizes she's actually on the trail of two mysteries, just in time to alert the queen who's actually in danger (and it's not the queen you first think it is), save Genevieve's son, relocate a hive, relocate the werewolves, and give birth to the most beautiful and astonishing little creature ("creature" because I don't want to ruin the surprise). The whole cast of characters is present including a surprise visit from Alexia's sister, Felicity, who may or may not have joined the women's suffrage movement; Ivy and her hats who get sent off to Scotland for reconnaissance (there's a true friend!); Genevieve and her tinkering (octopuses come back into play); Lord Akeldama and his dandy drones; and of course, the Woolsey werewolves.
I enjoyed this book the most since the first novel, and am very much looking forward to book #5 in the Parasol Protectorate series, Timeless, out in March 2012. I warn you, though, I think I will continue not to like the covers.(less)