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The Fire Opal Mechanism

(Gemworld #2)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  145 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The Fire Opal Mechanism is the fast-paced and lively sequel to Fran Wilde's The Jewel and Her Lapidary

Jewels and their lapidaries and have all but passed into myth.

Jorit, broke and branded a thief, just wants to escape the Far Reaches for something better. Ania, a rumpled librarian, is trying to protect her books from the Pressmen, who value knowledge but none of the human
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by
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Shadow Here is the artist's website. The cover without the text is here. This talented artist has done many book covers, inclu…moreHere is the artist's website. The cover without the text is here. This talented artist has done many book covers, including Killing Gravity, which I just finished reading.

I really love the cover, but to be honest I'm not sure what is happening; it's clearly a battle of some sort, but I don't know what has afflicted the woman. I have not finished the book yet, but the intriguing cover was the main reason I picked it up. (less)

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Average rating 3.61  · 
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Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I didn’t know this novel at all, and this being the second volume of a fantasy series, I was a little afraid of being lost. However, I am glad to tell you that no, that was not the case here, and I had a very good time with this short story.

Ania does everything she can to protect the books that are gradually disappearing but it’s not easy… So when she meets Jorit, who came to steal some of her books to sell them in order to escape from all this hell, she didn
Jeremy Brett
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a longtime fan of Fran Wilde and her beautiful fiction, I cherish her new entry in her Gem Universe series. "Fire Opal Mechanism" is wonderful, and a worthy successor to "The Jewel and Her Lapidary". It's a lovely story of bravery and determination in the face of a changing world.

I appreciate the book even more as a librarian and archivist. Wilde gives us a world sundered by a violent debate over the true nature of knowledge. If all knowledge were given open and freely to all, is that a net g
Jaime Moyer
I loved this. No one can change the past, but the future is a blank book, waiting for you to write in it.

I want more books in the Jewel Series, and I'd love love love a full novel.

Wholeheartedly recommended.
C. S.
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
This is a beautiful puzzle of a novella, an updated spin on Farenheit 451 with a fantasy setting and time travel. As always, I really savored Wilde's prose, and her overall authorial vision is quite enchanting.

Would recommend for fans of fantasy, time travel, hero librarian stories, and f/f romances.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh this book... I realized at the last page (that ending! gasp! the feels!) that I had been holding my breath the whole time, and what a beautiful, breathless journey it was. This is by far the coolest time-traveling-librarian-slash-gem-whisperer-with-a-side-of-girl-power-saves-the-world story ever. I just want to go back in time and read it again for the first time.
Sarah Jean
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great novella by Fran Wilde. This one has a great deal to say about books, knowledge, and libraries. Excellent world building.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-paper
4.5 Stars bumped because I just love the underlying message here.

Fran Wilde's second book in the Gemworld series takes place long after the events of her Hugo Award-nominated novelette, The Jewel and Her Lapidary. Set in the Far Reaches, we see a treacherous time where the nature of knowledge itself is explored. Ania, a librarian, working in a university library, is struggling against losing odds to safeguard her books from being destroyed and churned into pulp by a group called the Pressman who
Milky Mixer
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
"She wished she'd thought to get a weapon. She'd sworn to protect the books. But she was a teacher, not a fighter. She'd sparred a little in primary school, but that was it. All she had now were hairpins."

I loved this.

I read a brief description of The Fire Opal Mechanism on one of those 'upcoming sci-fi' lists and was intrigued enough to try it, despite this being a standalone sequel to another story (fyi, you definitely don't have to read the first book to follow along), but had no idea what I
Amy A
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews

Originall posted at Vampire Book Club

When the Pressmen come to the Far Reaches looking to confiscate all the books so they can form their Universal Compendiums of Knowledge, librarian Ania seems to be the only holdout, wanting to protect the knowledge her books hold rather than give it up to some faceless group to decide what garners passing along to the masses.

Meanwhile Jorit, branded a thief, is looking for a way out of the Far Reaches, and teaming up with Ania seems to be the best option s
Jo Ladzinski
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Read the eARC provided by NetGalley

This book was such a tightly-paced timey-whimey adventure. Something goes wrong in the archives of the Pressmen, and a Librarian, a Thief, and an intern go on trial for a clock breaking down and literally stealing the ink from books.

The exploration of different time periods in the Gemworld was so well-done. The time travel went flawlessly, and the main characters were just visitors in realms where they have to be careful of what they can reference and the names
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fran Wilde's novellas are so nuanced, so tightly packed with beautiful ideas, so multi-layered - to the point where I sometimes got lost in The Fire Opal Mechanism (this might as well be me and reading the book in a very hectic moment). But I fell in love with the underlying message, with the danger in heedless following even the most enchanting ideas, the questions Wilde asked. This book is as intricate as a filigree, and particularly relevant now.
Maria Haskins
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A harrowing and mind-bending return to the world of powerful and dangerous jewels (that often have a mind of their own). I absolutely loved Jorit and Ania.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic second trip to the Jewel world, traveling through time to save knowledge and critical thought. I cannot wait for more.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'The Fire-Opal Mechanism' is a really enjoyable short story about a last librarian, a knowledge-devouring organization, and accidental time travel, along with a cute lesbian romance to tie it all together. If you like magical gems, have thoughts about the destruction of books, or want a story about resolving the sins of the past in the present, this is very worth reading.
Clare Rhoden
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A cracking read - very fast paced - more detail after other review commitments.
Realms & Robots
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Fire Opal Mechanism revels in the power of words to shape generations, detailing a world where books are being stripped of their sentences under the guise of the greater good. It’s a powerful story with many layers, beginning with a conversation on knowledge and who gets to access it.

The Pressman, an obsessed group of cultists intent on stripping the world of books, seem to have the populace’s best interests at heart. They claim to be reclaiming knowledge for the people, providing access to
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
There might be a good story here, but I couldn’t get past the self-congratulatory allegory.
Annette Triner
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved the world building and the friendship of the characters.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first, I was surprised to find this book wasn’t a direct sequel to Jewel; I was hoping to know more about what happened after Lin and Sima’s stories. Well, I got what I wanted, just in a different way than expected. While this book takes place decades (centuries?) in the future – at a time where Jewels and Lapidaries seem like a myth – there is definitely a connection to the first book.

There are a lot more action, character development, and world-building in the second book and I’m here for i
I had just about the same reaction to this story as to the first one in the series. Which is that the writing is very beautiful, and the ideas seem like they could go really interesting places, but I struggled to grasp the actual substance of the story. I mean, I could give a basic plot summary of what happens, but could I describe the characters personalities, or explain why they make the choices they do? No. Jorit theoretically studied the gems in school, and maybe also had family knowledge ab ...more
Anna White
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Darn it, I was excited about this one. Read the last page or two, had even higher hopes. Had to stop reading it on the bus to work because it was waking me up too much for a monotonous shift.

But now here we are. And this was under-edited--continuity snags, mistaken homophones, etc. Granted, I will abandon formal standards to an embarrassing degree if everything else is working, but I'm a bit harder on this one, because it didn't.

It was short. So short. Halfway through, I read the previous book i
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5-4 stars. This entry in Wilde's Gemworld universe in many ways is a fantasy version of Fahrenheit 451. The Pressmen are pro-Knowledge - Knowledge for all - but are anti-education. They view education as divisional, that only some can be educated, so their mission is to get rid of universities, libraries, and books (all writing) except for the Compendium of Knowledge (which contains everything deemed worthy/necessary). Ania is the sole remaining librarian at the last university. When we meet h ...more
Cat Jenkins
Sep 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
So badly written with a combination of derivative plots and flat characters, I even began to wonder if maybe English wasn't the writer's first language because of the lack of flow and the awkward use that, in hindsight, was probably trying to attain something unique and original. A total fail IMO.
Think of 'Fahrenheit 451' meets today's 'alternate facts' and Nazi Germany.
I bailed at 50% with no desire to read anything else by Ms. Wilde.

"The Presskeeper seemed to grow as he returned to lean aga
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm a firm advocate of reading books in the wrong order, or skipping right to the second book in a series if you need to, because usually it makes decent sense anyway. This is probably an exception - I can't say for sure, but I suspect this novel would have worked better if I'd read the one preceding it. Then again - maybe not. The whole thing felt drab and distanced to me - cold - and the only reason I finished it was because it's so damn short it felt silly not to. It feels as if it was suppos ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a very enjoyable romp through a unique world where sentient gems have a mind of their own. There's a subtle f/f romance here, as well as good world-building and well-designed characters. I did not realize this was part of a series when I spotted this one, so I did not read the first book.

I gave the book 4 stars because - while a lot of fun - it felt like it could have benefited from more detail and description in several parts, rather than just a simple gloss over what happened.
This was a okey book, intresting premises with gems holding powers to shape the world around them. However I didn't get such a feeling for the story itself nor the characters. I guess book 1, whom I have not read, holds a for me more intresting story (but this is a freestanding story that can be read on its own and work). The writing is good and the story theory of gemstones presented inside here is interesting.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, fantasy, novella
This is probably an ultimate dystopia about books. The dystopia is far darker than anything else I've read, but it ends on an ultimately positive note which is why I loved it. The librarian protagonist rocked!

I haven't read the first book. I don't think it's strictly necessary since the first book has a different focus. Yet now I definitely do want to read it.

I also want to read Fran Wilde in longer form.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I swear I requested this because of some "best of" list. I thought it was ok but not a best of fantasy anything. And, like book one of this series I needed more story! Not sure if I liked it enough for book 3...
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
A thief and a librarian save the world from an evil, vampiric gem that sucks the ink out of books and then uses the naked paper to print its own propaganda. What an evil monster! And such a short read, well much longer than the first Gemworld. An easy, fast read.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to get around to reading this since... December (*embarrassed grin*) and I'm so glad I finally did!

It's super adventurous and compelling. Took me three or four chapters to find my footing but after that I was totally swept up.
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Fran Wilde writes award-winning speculative fiction and fantasy. She can also tie a number of sailing knots, set gemstones, and program digital minions. She reads too much and is a friend of the Oxford comma. Her short stories appear in Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Uncanny, and

Fran's debut novel, Updraft, was nominated for a 2015 Nebula Award, won the 2015 Andre Norton Awar

Other books in the series

Gemworld (2 books)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary (Gemworld #1)

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