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(Free-Wrench #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,042 ratings  ·  111 reviews
The islands of Caldara are a shining jewel in a rather bleak world. A terrible calamity in the past had blanketed much of the world with a toxic "fug." Those who survived were forced to take to the mountains and the skies in wondrous airships. Life has since been a struggle, with only the most ruthless and crafty able to survive. To spare themselves the same fate, the Cald ...more
ebook, Smashwords, 153 pages
Published July 16th 2014 by Smashwords (first published May 2014)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,042 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Stjepan Cobets
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fan of Steampunk Fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
My rating 4.8

The book "Free-Wrench (Free-Wrench # 1) by Joseph R. Lallo is very good steampunk fantasy. Even better it was free on Amazon, so anyone can download and read. The writer introduced me to a fantasy world with the ease I enjoyed reading the book. Flying ships, cities with fog and the whole world in the story is so lifelike and simply drags you to read it. The main character in the book is Amanita Graus who lives on The Islands of Caldara. In her desire to help her mother, she will ent
Igor Ljubuncic
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very nice little book.

Free-Wrench is a steampunk fantasy about a girl named Nita going on an adventure to save a family member, by joining a group of rogue but friendly airship pirates/traders as they sail about the fug-wrapped world. It's a classic tale of an old disaster mystery - how and why the world came to be covered with this purple noxious fog and the resulting upheaval of society - blended with strong focus on the mechanical ins and outs of 1850s steam-powered technology.

The writing is
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Pretty entertaining romp through the steam-powered airship-filled skies. Not perfect, but fun.
I just loved this book, in every way imaginable. I'm pretty stingy with my five stars, but this one made me a very happy woman.
I had the paperback copy bought for me as a gift, and I was kind of spellbound as soon as I read the back cover. I mean, Steampunk AND a STRONG FEMALE PROTAGONIST? I thought this would make for a rather grand read.
The story follows a girl called Nita, and her place of work involves keeping the steamworks running. Even though I NEVER use the term "Man's work"as I simply
Margaret Fisk
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

There are two types of Steampunk–though like many things the genre is a spectrum–the ones focused on Victorian society and the ones all about the machines. I love both for very different reasons, but my favorite has to be the stories where gears are turned and steam is controlled.

Free-Wrench, which should come as no surprise considering the name, is very much the second type. Aminita Graus, who goes by Nita, is something of an anomaly in her talented, a
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this after winning a set of the SF/F NaNoWriMo StoryBundle.

As it stands, this book is very enjoyable, but not without flaws. It's fast-paced and generally light-hearted, with a hopelessly optimistic (and endlessly competent) heroine who joins the crew of a merchant airship. (Bonus points for having a female engineer as the lead). It's an airship because it's steampunk, but basically the story would play out the same in the Age of Sail if the protagonist knew something about sails instead
David Baird
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I’ve had this book on my TBR list for a while and I thought it was about time I gave the author my attention. I’m very glad I did.

Free-Wrench follows Nita, she’s good with machines..I think she could probably fix anything given the time.

The book starts off giving a little background to Nita’s life.. she works in the steamworks which is a very demanding job and we quickly learn how good she is.

A couple of events happen that conspire to change her life forever. Her mother has an illness which can’
K.S. Ferguson
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finally! A teenage female protagonist who has more on her mind than boys! Free-Wrench was a refreshing change from the drama queens and hormone-driven young women that seem to populate fantasy these days.

Nita, the main character, is in search of a life with purpose. She leaves her sheltered island home in search of a cure for her dying mother. What she finds is a wide and richly varied world filled with possibilities and risks. She learns some hard lessons on her journey, but she handles her mis
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, steam-punk
Quite good, and a free Kindle book, at least as of this writing.
Charlie Kravetz
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
his review is for the Kindle edition ebook.

Disclosure: I was given my copy of this book by the author as a review copy.

Excitement, action, family, and circumstances out of control all come together to create a terrific story.

An isolated by choice country, Caldera was a chain of volcanoes. Most of the citizens were artists, a few had to work steam plants, for the volcanoes kindly provided heat and steam for the entire country. Amanita Graus was unique among steam workers, being female. However, s
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
I finished the book without much difficulty, though there were some awkward moments. Some of the dialogue felt forced, and a lot of the prose seemed to run off a LOT of telling. The plot was eh, overall and for the most part I was intrigued about the world more-so than what was happening.

However, I enjoyed the protagonist and many of the other characters (Lil especially) and was very pleased to note that there wasn't a single romance! It was action driven and overall wasn't all that bad. I enjo
Jacob Young
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book Free Wrench is about a girl doing a mans work. In her city the practice of firms arts is praised over dirty work. She then starts to trade with black marketers from the outsides of the city walls. My favorite part is when she uses all of her knowledge to fix the wedged valve that could have destroyed the whole mountain with everyone in it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a characters self thought and every day thrillers.
Cassandra Kay Silva
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This was my first experience with steampunk. It was a pretty wild ride I will definitely give another one a go! I hope this is indicative of the genre.
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable! First time I've read anything in the steam punk genre and thought it had a great pirate high seas vibe to it. Would recommend.
Jace Ferguson
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent novel! I'm impressed with the quality since it was written as part of NaNoWriMo. I'd say, if you're a fan of the TV show Firefly, then you'll probably love this book.
Kenya Starflight
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Steampunk is rapidly becoming one of my favorite genres -- despite the limited-sounding description of the genre (science fiction that incorporates technology and aesthetics from an antiquated era, such as Victorian England or the Wild West of the US), it's one that's ripe for exploration and experimentation. I've found some wonderful favorite series in the genre, such as Cherie Priest's "Clockwork Century" and Gail Carriger's "Parasol Protectorate" and "Finishing School" series. But sadly, it c ...more
Sacha Valero
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steam-punk
Free Wrench by Joseph R. Lallo
4 – Stars

There's been a few Steampunk books this year that I've tried getting into and they just didn't work for various reasons. Free Wrench isn't one of them and was a fun book.

Our MC is Nita from the land of Caldera. She's from the upper crust of society, her parents and siblings all artists as expected from a society that values art more than most other things. Nita however chooses to work in the steam tunnels fixing boilers and pipes that keep their land suppli
Free-Wrench is a relatively short but enjoyable story set in a world of steampunk airships, bandits and mysterious fog.

A great calamity smothered the world in a toxic fog. The islands of Caldera are one of the last remnants of beauty left and the inhabitants want to keep the grim world out through a closed border policy. We follow the story of Nita. Her family is wealthy, famous and powerful. Most of them are accomplished artists or sculptors, but Nita has always had an interest in machinery an
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-sff-bingo
Apparently a NaNoWriMo project, and it shows. Could have used a good beta read - there were a lot of passages where I simply couldn't picture what Lallo was describing. He clearly envisaged it really clearly himself, but couldn't express it.
That's not to say he's a bad writer, he's OK if a little lackluster.
Plot was decent, if not not stellar. However, I wasn't a fan of the hurried wrapping up of lingering issues in the epilogue.
However, there's plenty to like. Very unusual and memorable worldbu
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review originally posted on Books in the Garden.

I really liked Nita. Impulsive, somewhat-misfit Nita, who appreciates the inner workings of things more than she cares about their aesthetics. I loved how she could be impulsive, and focused, and selfish, even if it was in the pursuit of something rather selfless.

The secondary characters were all fun, too. Each with their own unique story and personality. They were half the fun!

I also very much enjoyed the steampunk aspects of the book, and re
Brienne Dubh
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nita is a talented engineer, working as a contractor – or ‘Free-Wrench’ in a steam works. She is talented, and tough. She is also from a privelged family full of creativity and imagination in a society that values artistic talents. Her calling makes her the black sheep, but she is true to what makes her happy and refuses to be defined by the expectations of others.

There is however, one dark cloud to her happiness; her mother is deathly ill. Stalwart though her mother is at the prognosis, Nita wo
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This flawless steampunk tale is engaging and entertaining. I started out wondering if this was just the trappings of steampunk, lovingly detailed, but there is substance in the story despite the umm...Mary Sue-ness of the main character, Nita. (although this is an action tale-no romance here). Why do I say Mary Sue? Forgive the main character, a feisty girl from one of the best families who chooses to be a free-wrench (what I'd called a fixer who actually fixes mechanical things where ever neede ...more
Andy Bird
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Good. I liked this. A teen/steampunk/dystopia book. The concept is very good, believable, the story is good, moving along at a steady pace (not overly descriptive) and the characters are good, albeit a little bit stereotype. The only criticism is that the ending is very abrupt, it just truncates with a hasty epilogue, which smacks of wanting a series, although it didn't leave anything on any specific cliff hanger, it was a specific ending, just rushed. I will read more in the series and would re ...more
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun, fun, fun

Take one step back, two steps to the left then tilt your head so your left ear is facing the floor and turn rapidly to the right two full turns with your eyes closed.
Now you are ready to enter Mr. Lallo's Free-Wrench universe.
This is a fun read. A little wacky, but fun.
Were I to bet, I'd bet Mr. Llamo was left handed. His invention of a Monkey-Toe is brilliant, what a usefully tool.
Andrew Ferenbach
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
if it was possible to award six stars I would do it in a heart beat.

I have read a lot of steampunk books and this one is easily my favourite.

The observation that it is like a steampunk version of firefly is a pretty reasonable comparison. A ragtag crew of misfits aiming to misbehave.

The female lead is a wonderfully strong character.

I can't wait to get my teeth into the next one in the series.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listen up, I'm on holiday, so will make this short. I thoroughly enjoyed this all action book, so much so that I purchased the second in the series.
Finally I would recommend 'Free-Wrench' to family and friends alike.
That completes my obligatory review. - Now back to my chill out vacation.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book from iTunes because it was free and I needed something to read while working out. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this book was. Not too technical, good character development, decent action. I'd recommended this book if you're looking for an easy entertaining read. I enjoyed it so much that I just picked up book 2.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great entry by Lallo into the steampunk world. I like that he has a nuanced fantasy take on it that involves -- at least so far as I can tell -- a different world than our own.

I attacked this book like the Fuggers were going after Windbreaker! I devoured it. Good length, but concisely told a good story. Can't wait to try the rest in the series.
Adam Windsor
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Began life as a NaNoWriMo project and occasionally shows it with some rough spots here and there, but this is overall a fun steampunkish romp involving vagabond airship crew and a malevolent race whose physical description puts me in mind of the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Emma Wallace
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable but definitely an introduction

Easy to read and enjoyable, but for a short, introductory book some bits went on too long I think. Ended feeling like I hadn’t got into it enough, but maybe that’s the trick to make you carry on!
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“Deckhand’s just a fancy word for a person who does everything.” “Where I work, they call people like that a free-wrench. That was my job.” “So” 1 likes
“Few better ways exist to ensure problems will arise in a given task than by making plans for afterward.” 0 likes
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