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Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl

(Gideon Smith #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  833 ratings  ·  198 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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Shannon There's one scene that is almost sex...clothes come off...but the actual act isn't performed. I listened to the audiobook, mind you. I'd rate it as ra…moreThere's one scene that is almost sex...clothes come off...but the actual act isn't performed. I listened to the audiobook, mind you. I'd rate it as rated R when comparing to movies.(less)

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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  833 ratings  ·  198 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
Dec 03, 2014 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 Dracula, t
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
Aug 12, 2013 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
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

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, love stories 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 mysterio
Sep 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2014 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 16, 2013 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 f ...more
Wyatt Packard
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
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 ne ...more
Oct 05, 2013 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 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 pi ...more
Sep 21, 2013 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.
Apr 04, 2014 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 first ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Lots of fast-paced adventure, a fun cast of diverse characters, and an unpredictable plot! 4.75 stars... steampunk entertainment with a heart... more to follow.
Mar 11, 2015 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 unexplain ...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
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is what happens when dirigibles, automatons, an ancient Egyptian curse and the wife of Dracula all end up at the center of a mystery set in a fantastical Steampunk Victorian Era in which Great Britain has colonized the better part of the world and the United States, having lost the Revolutionary War, simply doesn't exist.

This was without a doubt among the most ridiculous things I've ever read, but it was also kind of awesome. It takes a kitchen sink approach to Victorian Era literary figur
Kirsty Young
Apr 24, 2014 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
Lisa Lynch
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
It has been a minute since I picked up a steampunk book because, to be brutally honest, the ones I've read have been a bit shit. Its sad, but a lot books in this genre that I've come across only have what I call "a steampunk veneer". Like, their primary focus is simply on aesthetics and fashion.

Don't get me wrong, I love steampunk fashion: Victorian gowns, corsets, parasols, goggles, top hats, pocket watches, lace-up boots, frilly collars and sleeves, waistcoats, and on and on. I also love cloc
May 17, 2014 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
May 24, 2014 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 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
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, steampunk
I would say the best way to describe this book is "a 12 year old's first Steampunk tabletop game". That really is the best way I can think of it. The characters are all overblown stereotypes that a group of kids would make up.
Gideon: Guy who wants to play "the luke skywalker-esq hero"
Bent: The kid who wants and excuse to be vulgar
Bathory: the only girl in the group so they give her a stupidly overpowered character to make her happy
Brom: Bathory player's BF

This book, it's like I have a
Aug 21, 2014 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 07, 2013 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 Mecha
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The book was set in Britain but a character distinctly said "aluminum" not "aluminium". There were probably other errors too, but that one is what stood out. Somehow I did have an impression that despite the setting it was written by someone who was not British, although I have not looked into it. (Okay, I did. He apparently is and must have a crap publisher and/or editor.) There were some other spellings that were American-English, the cussing was American, and some phrasing seemed not-so-Briti ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
BOOK FAIL (meaning I got about halfway through and remembered life is too short to read stuff that you don't like):

Ugh. I just rarely like steampunk and I REALLY REALLY hate stuff that is overly referential of other works. I mean, I don't mind if you take someone else's story and turn it on its head (some of my fave stuff falls into that realm) but this had, like, I don't know - ALL the characters pulled from somewhere else, turned on their heads, and reworked into something, well, in the immor
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I realise that this isn't supposed to be taken too seriously but it really is a light bit of fluff. Quite enjoyable but still rather fluffy.

It's a light-hearted swashbuckling adventure story that I might have classified as 'Young Adult' had it not been for the numerous moments of gratuitous adult content that mean that I wouldn't be overly happy letting my teenage children read this. To me that seems a strange authorial/editorial decision as it shuts out what seems to me to be an otherwise natur
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