Years ago their father sold Margos Twin brother Leonard to the traveling Gaslight Carnival .Now her father is gone and she is left by herself to run tYears ago their father sold Margos Twin brother Leonard to the traveling Gaslight Carnival .Now her father is gone and she is left by herself to run the alchemists and trying to save up enough Money to buy her Brothers freedom.
Not to mention that thugs from the criminal underworld are threatening her with bad things if she doesnt comply with their demands.
Going to the Carnival to meet the ringmaster she is scared by Rook one of the carnies,but who turns out to be a nice person despite his scary hands.
He takes her to the ringmaster who is reluctant to let Leonard go but if Margo can complete a number of challenges then she can have him back.But even if Margo suceeds ...once you have been part of the carnival you are changed in so many ways...
This is not a long story and as a result there are some things that could have been elaborated on and explained more than they are.There are some bits that doesnt flow well but again thats probably because its a novella.
When it comes to the characters Margo is someone I had no problem understanding. I like that in my female characters even so it came as a bit of a surprise for me when something is revealed about her past that change how I viewed her into grey shades.
I really liked Rook,and it was apparent that he had soft spot for Margo and even its not a fullblown romance but the ending had me sigh a bit thinking they would be fine together.
A complaint I do have is on the cover,its not bad exactly but if you have read the character description for Margo it will immediately become apparent that she is missing something. ...more
Lou Merriwether is a psychopomp ,someone who helps put ghosts to rest before they turn into wrathful spirits.Since her mother is a chinese woman and hLou Merriwether is a psychopomp ,someone who helps put ghosts to rest before they turn into wrathful spirits.Since her mother is a chinese woman and her father was an englisman she is part of both worlds and yet stuck between them.
When she is told her estranged mother Ailien has requested her help she has no choice but to go and visit her.
Her mother tells her that several young chinese men has vanished after being offered work in Wyoming. After a gruesome package is delivered to one of the missing mens mother. There is a lead - a bottle of Dr Panaceas Elixir of life.
Lou decides that since the authorities doesnt particularly care to investigate what happened to some stupid useless "chinks" she will have to go to Dr Panaceas sanatorium herself to find out the truth.
Posing as a chinese man looking for work she takes the train to Cheyenne where she meets a strange young man named Shai who is to take her on to the sanatorium.At times spooked by his at times violent and at other times sad nature,Lou comes to think of him as maybe not precisely a good person but someone who understands and doesnt judge her.
But things are never that easy as she comes to realize when she finally arrives at the Sanatorium... Up to halfway through the book I was finding this book pretty darn great but the exact moment when this stopped being the case was not the whole character dedicated to exposition but that was when it all started to go downhill for me.
It just revealed a bit too much of what Lou was there to find out and the rest of the book was just her running around and trying to convince other people of the truth. Lou is reduced from a plucky heroine to someone who is mooning over an unrequited love interest and let down by friends.
I have to admit I was a bit confused about the ethnicity about Shai as I thought he was also chinese and wondered more than once at peoples reaction to Lou being a "chink" but not until it was explained did I get that he was darkhaired and darkeyed but not chinese.
I kept waiting for Shai to redeem himself after his horrible behavior towards Lou but he never did.He might have been way older than her but instead he turned out to be rather immature and weak.
Quote from before he became useless
“So, what’s your story, Lou? Why the disguise I mean, the trousers, and everything else?”
Lou shrugged; winced. “It’s not a disguise. I don’t keep a spare sock rolled up in my drawers or anything. I mean, I grew up wearing pants, you know— Chinese women often wear them, if not this style. They’re a sight more comfortable when you walk around all the—”
“No,” interrupted Shai. “I understand well enough the many virtues of pants, Chinese or American. I was asking why you wore them— American pants. I wouldn’t be asking if you were dressed like a traditional Chinese woman.”
“Oh,” said Lou, feeling more than a little self-conscious. What business was it of his? “It’s just how I am, I guess. Who I am. I mean, why are you such a dude even out here in the wilderness? It’s just how you are, right?”
“Fair enough,” said Shai, settling his derby over his face to shade his eyes from the sun.
The setting is what I would like to call the weird west and for the most part it was an interesting setting even if I am still am not on the clear with the whole sealions and bears being able to talk and run buisnesses,but I didnt mind that as much as the other things in this book.
The gender bending main character was an interesting touch but the books increasing focus on it started to get annoying when every other character was characterized by their sexual preference. I dont believe that building a character on what gender they like can exchange actual character building.
Furthermore description of the hmmm lets just call it unusual hotel Lou and Shai stays at during their journey to the sanatorium had me vaguely uncomfortable. Unless you are specifically into that sort of sexual roleplay it doesnt really progress the plot its just a weird thing.
This book started out reminiscent of another steampunk book I like Shanghai Sparrow but after that specific chapter It all started to remind me of Glassbooks of the Dreameaters.
How can a book at the same time have such great writing and at the same time have the worst writing. I just dont understand....more
I recieved this ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest Review of it.
This book takes place in a Victorian era world where steamships soar the ski4,5
I recieved this ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest Review of it.
This book takes place in a Victorian era world where steamships soar the skies over London, and where a young woman called Evvie the sparrow works for Ma Pether (think like a female Fagin).
Stealing running,confidence games and keeping out from the eyes of the law are the essentials in her profession even if there are hints that once her Life once was very different.But Evvie prefers not to think too much about her past and instead focus on the present wich is hard enough.
One day while she is working a con she is interrupted by a man called Holmfort who tempts her with the possibility of advancement in life and a pension after she has completed an important task for him,a task for wich he believes she has an aptitude.
She agrees to this even if she and we the reader both know that he has ulterior motives.
So Evvie finds herself shipped off to the strict boarding school Britannia run by stern Ms Cairngrim aptly nicknamed Miss Grim by her students.
The Britannia School is used to train girls in the service of the empire but Evvie soon figures out that its mostly used to hide away the illegitimate daughters of the rich,noble and powerful. Its pupils are taught several subjects like deportment,languages,the art of disguise and Bartitsu.
In this new enviroment can Evvie figure out the dark agenda of Holmforth and her connection to Etheric sciences
The first thing you need to know about Evvie is that she is DEVIOUS and CUNNING. But being forced to grow up in the conditions she had its not bad qualities to have.
Another character describes her perfectly
"With *spoiler hidden* you are an respectable young lady.
Others see an innocent or a rogue..
"And what do you see?" Evvie raised her chin"
"An artist he said,and managed still clinging on to the window with one hand,a remarkably elegant bow.
But she has a good heart so I liked her. Shes a strong character but shes certainly not a Mary Sue or made of stone
When it comes to the setting I also liked (if liking is the right word) that the author didnt shy away from the seedier and not so pretty parts of the Victorian era. There is racial prejudice and chauvinism galore. Not to mention poverty and other dickensian awful going ons.
But in all the darkness there is hope too
As I was reading Shanghai Sparrow I kept waiting for romance to happen. There were several likely candidates for the role but then I realized just like this story does perfectly fine without inserting a romance so does Evvie. She has too many other things to think about to complicate it with getting a love interest.
There were actually several times when I though to myself. Give the poor girl a break. Hasnt she been through enough? And isnt that what makes a book great when you start to care about their characters and what will become of them
That said I really liked Liu :) He both admires and accepts her for what she is.
This is a book full of what I would like to call in lack of a better word- Girl power.
Evvie acquires a female friend at Britannia who proves to be quite resourceful and loyal,and other female character shows that they are far from the mindless idiots some men seems to think they are.
Holmforth as the primary antagonist was really someone you could dislike and hope Evvie would escape from, but at the same time you start understand where he was coming from and makes him something more than a cardboard antagonist.
His fate at the end of the book was really sad,and despite being the villain I think it was a bit harsh.Maybe it will make him learn some lessons though
If this book has any weakness its that I felt the reasons for the animosity against the Folk was a bit vague as they dont really appear in the book wich causes the threat they are supposedly posing be a bit hard to Believe as its based on what a supporting character states and some powerhungry/paranoid officials beliefs.
The chapters with the folk Empress could have been cut out for all the impact they had on the story.
The prologue I am not so sure I liked because of the implications when it comes to the future of Evvie. Its not an unhappy ending and I even understand how it came about and that it fits the theme of female empowerment running through the book.
But I cant really believe thats how her story will end.
Will there be no more adventures for Eveline Duchen?! I hope Gaie Sebold does write more. *hints* ...more