Nonny's Reviews > All Men of Genius

All Men of Genius by Lev A.C. Rosen
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Jan 22, 12

bookshelves: 2012-books, 5-stars, gblt, steampunk
Read in January, 2012

This is one of the most excellent steampunk novels I've read in quite awhile. Hell, novels, period. I just spent three days in a power outage reading this by candlelight (as it's a library copy) instead of reading something on my much-more-brightly-lit Nook Color.

I described this book to my husband as Harry Potter meets Tamora Pierce's Alanna quartet meets steampunk. I admit, I have a particular love for girl-disguises-self-as-boy-and-proves-everyone-wrong storylines, so if that's really not your cuppa, you might not enjoy this.

I loved the characters. Violet was incredibly relatable to me as a fellow geeky girl, and I loved the presence of so many other strong women characters. Something that has often annoyed me about many books of this particular trope is that frequently, because the girl has to disguise herself as a boy, the only other characters you see are male. Even Tamora Pierce's fantastic Alanna books suffered this in the first two books of the quartet, until Alanna completed her training and revealed herself as a woman (although Eleni and Rispah were awesome, they were not frequently on screen).

In addition to Violet, there are Cecily and Miriam, Fiona and Ada (SQUEE -- Ada fucking Lovelace, hellyeah!), and even Mrs. Wilkes is a strong character in her own right. All of them were well characterized and had depths of their own.

I also especially liked that there were many openly gay characters. The heroine's twin brother is gay, and it's not really made a big deal of. I mean, it is Victorian England based, so it's... not spoken of, generally, but the heroine certainly didn't think less of anyone for it, nor did her friends seem to.

My one complaint about the book is that the villain is not as well fleshed out and is very one dimensional. The secret society that he is supposedly part of also doesn't really play into things. I honestly felt that the villain plotline could have been left out entirely (at least in its entirety; the first part of the story made sense, but the rest felt superfluous to me), because there was PLENTY of conflict just with everything else. It annoys me that so many authors seem to feel that they have to include a world-domination-inclined evil villain, and they really don't.

However, that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. It would've been better served without it, but frankly, I loved this story.
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