Frank Hintz's Reviews > Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti

Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine
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's review
Apr 15, 2012

really liked it
Read in April, 2012

A circus! A circus, where things are not as they seem, but then isn't that the point of circuses. In this circus, the audience is confronted with performers partly made of metal and gears. Where does the man end and the machine begin? So, it's a tale of what it means to be human, and the sacrifices to be made for life, both your one and other's.

The point of view of the story changes, but settles mostly on the lad with brass legs. When we meet him, he is the barker and hands out the tickets, surely but a minor character. One grows up during a life on the road, traveling with the circus, though. So, it's a coming of age tale.

The circus travels a war torn land. It serves as an escape from the horrors of war, a brief diversion from the violence. It is but a brief respite for the audience, while, we soon learn, a seemingly much greater escape for the performers themselves. So, it's a tale of the awful price of war, and what one is willing to pay for peace.

Joining a circus for some can be like joining a new family. Families don't always get along, though, especially as they get larger and larger. Keeping a family intact can be a challenging, thankless, but they say you always love your children. So, it's a tale of personal relationships, and what it means to be a leader.

As you can see, there's a lot to this book, especially considering it's on the short side at 284 pages. I picked it up because I have been poking around with Steampunk over the past few years, and this had a blurb from another author I've liked quite a bit (Cherie Priest). Also, I guess I have something of a fascination with circuses. I've had this idea for a few years to run a D&D campaign where the players are part of a traveling circus.

The writing style is a little bit different than what I'm used to. I would call it kind of choppy. It took me a little bit to adjust to, but after I did, I would say it worked for the story. I found myself rather drawn in and captivated by the story. It was definitely a page turner and a fast read. So, the writing style might not appeal to everyone, but if you're looking for a rather quick tale, this is definitely worth giving a go, especially if you like circuses and/or Steampunk.
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