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Heart of the Curiosity

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora’s only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published 2019 by Uncommon Universes Press
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Average rating 4.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  65 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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H.L. Burke
May 24, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Don't mind me ... just adding my own books to my "read" shelf because I am falling behind on my Goodreads challenge again (I READ this like a dozen times during the editing process. Maybe more. I don't know. What are numbers?)
Deborah O'Carroll
Heart of the Curiosity is a delightful new steampunk novel from H.L. Burke, full of mystery and . . . well . . . heart (no pun intended).

Reading this book, I stepped right into a gorgeous setting with a steampunk flair. I absolutely loved the “feel”—it was almost black and white and red and bronze, on the edge of winter, a slightly Victorian but different setting, with a pinch of a reminder of Paris or London, but unique. Steampunk gadgetry and inventions pepper the story in a fun way, and the e
Nicki Chapelway
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a delightful tale full of friendship and pastries.

This story is a Steampunk tale taking place in a theater with clockwork props. I mean you can't go wrong. The characters were darling. Paxton was by far my favorite, he was so sweet and yet wasn't afraid to sass anyone who messed with his family. Leo was extremely unique, she loves her sister and her Paxton and her pastries all equally fiercely. I was hungry all the time reading this book.

What the characters did to the bad guy though
Rebekah Gyger
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It has been a while since a steampunk has caught my attention such as this did. The setting, the magic, the characters, all combined into a wonderful tale. My favorite of the knacks, and what really makes this a steampunk, was the invention knack and how these theater owners used it to create animatronic props that brought plays to life. I would love to see the machine's talked about in this book and how they worked with the dancers in real life.

Though she doesn't have the invention knack, the h
J.M. Jablowski
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from the publisher. This review is my own independent and fair evaluation.

This book saved me from a reading slump. I was just having difficulty getting into books lately but this was just such a fun read. I loved the world building and the characters were fun to hang out with.

My biggest critique (if you can call it that) is that the main characters reminded me very much of the main characters from another book by H.L. Burke, Spice Bringer. In a lot of ways, Paxton seemed like
This novel may feature one of the most unique and detailed worlds that H.L. Burke has ever created...and considering the multiple rich universes she's crafted in her stories, that's saying something. Reading the book immerses you in a beautifully-realized alternative reality, and fully delivers on the striking cover's promise of enjoyable escapism. Though that's not to say the story is all fun and games--there's plenty of heart here as well (fitting, given the title), and various complex themes ...more
Keturah Lamb
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I “beta” read this book, but wasn’t actually much help as I didn’t start the book until too late (I forgot it was in my inbox, you see).

When I remembered to read it ... well, let’s just say I still haven’t forgotten how amazing this plot is and I’ll be buying a copy soon ;) Definitely one of my favorite things I’ve ever read by Heidi!

The plot was charming and intriguing and surprising in all the best ways. Sometimes even shocking. There were some parts I wasn’t sure of at first (such as the sn
Alex McGilvery
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heart of the Curiosity

H.L. Burke

Heart of the Curiosity introduces Leo and Muse, sisters who have run away from the Carnival. Muse has a knack for levitation which helps her as a dancer, but Leo’s is to manipulate people’s emotions, which she hates to do.
The bulk of the action takes place four years after they join the Curiosity Theatre, life is looking up for the sisters. Muse has her first solo dance in a show, and Leo has settled in using her knack to promote the show and sway the audience. Un
That was fun. There were a few bits that I was frustrated with, but nothing significant enough to make me dislike the book. Leo is a pretty solid example of how to make a character likeable while still having that character be an Actual Disaster. She felt quite relatable too — generally sensible and honest, but not at all logical when it comes to protecting her sister. (Which is, y'know, how older sisters are Meant To Be.) I will admit that there were a couple spots where interactions between Le ...more
Kat Heckenbach
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gotta be honest: I have read several books by H.L. Burke and enjoyed them, but about 90% of the reason I bought this book (and bought it in paperback rather than ebook) is because I am in love with the cover.

That said, the story totally lived up to the expectations set by that beautiful art. Steampunk set in a theater, with ballet and fairy tale performances and automatons, cool magic, mystery, and a sweet romance. I loved everything about this story, and it has absolutely topped my list as fav
Meg Dendler
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another delightful story from H.L. Burke! I loved the idea of everyone in that world having a "knack" and being able to do something magical and unique to each of them. If only! I would definitely take Muse's knack. I have dreams like that. This book is "steampunk" instead of fantasy, like many of Burke's other novels, and she does a wonderful job of weaving fun inventiony stuff into Leo's world. You will wish you could take in just one show at The Curiosity. A wonderful summer read for the YA a ...more
Grace T
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it

ARC generously provided by the author and publisher; all opinions will be my own.
Sarah White
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A whimsical and poignant steampunk tale with delightful characters. Recommend!
Kristen Walker
Steampunk and performers seem to go hand-in-hand, especially circuses. The main focus of this book is a ballet theater, which makes good use of steampunk technology, but there's also a tiny snail circus which sounds like lots of fun!

This story is enjoyable and imaginative. The setting is rich with details about the theater, the steampunk city, and the ways that everyone's little magical Knacks interact with each other. The mystery about the Heart is interesting with a few twists, but the real dr
Having read several of Ms. Burke's novels and having especially liked her Nyssa Glass steampunk series, I was excited to read her latest, which is set in the world of theatre using an interesting concept of magical "knacks." The MC is Leodora, or Leo, who has had a rough upbringing in a traveling circus where unspeakable things happened to her. This causes her to run away with her younger sister Muse, not only to protect her but to help her reach her dream of being a dancer. At The Curiosity, an ...more
Mary Luce
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heart of the Curiosity by H. L. Burke

Leodora and Musette, orphan sisters, have run away from a traveling circus to escape exploitation and abuse. Leo (the plain elder sister) is convinced that Muse (her cute and talented younger sister) has what it takes to dance on stage at the legendary Curiosity. Meeting Paxton, heir to the Curiosity, gives the girls an opportunity to prove themselves, and the future looks bright until tragedy strikes at the Curiosity. Leo, Muse and Paxton must solve a myster
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is so much I liked about Heart of the Curiosity. First off, it’s a steampunk fantasy, so the world she created was wonderfully familiar, but with that twist that makes it so much more interesting.
And I love the idea of everyone having a “knack” – a magical ability of some sort that is fairly unique to each person. Leo’s knack was amazing! That she could see emotions in color was super cool, but even better that she could then manipulate those emotions. It was captivating to follow her jou
Laurie Lucking
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
H.L. Burke has once again delivered a book filled with snarky humor, "Awww"-worthy romance, and all the feels, and I love it! The Curiosity was such a cool old theater with its family traditions and secret passages, and the magic system of knacks was fun to explore. (Did anyone else sit and ponder what their knack would be??) I enjoyed getting to know Leo and Paxton - they had so many great lighthearted interactions with just the right amount of more powerful moments mixed in. Fans of Nyssa Glas ...more
Christina Morley
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a Steampunk Fantasy for Young Adults, but adults will enjoy it too! There's mystery, danger, and suspense. It's witty with a bit of romance and some bantering. It also has some deeper themes.

The story follows the life of big sister Leo. She and her sister Muse live and work at The Curiosity, a grand old theater. There's even a snail circus!

Everyone is born with a magical knack. Some knacks are quirkier than others. Leo has the rare ability to manipulate emotions and her sister, who is a
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya, arcs
This was a fantastic read! I loved Leo and Paxton, and the whole adventure was perfect for summer! The knacks are fantastic bits of magic, and the relationships are so sweet and heartwarming. I feel like it might have started a little too early, but after the introduction it really picks up! Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book, but the review is my own.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heart of the Curiosity is a steampunk fantasy in which two sisters, Leo and Muse, run from a carnival show to a respected theater--The Curiosity.

The Curiosity is aptly named due to the incredible shows, incredible animatronics, and an inexhaustible power supply that has brought unwanted attention from those who care nothing for theatrics.

All this is set in a world in which everyone has a knack--a special ability. Leo is capable of toying with people's emotions. Muse can levitate--a handy ability
Pam Halter
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC to read and give an honest review.

WOW. I've enjoyed H.L. Burke's books in the past, so I was looking forward to this one. I was not disappointed! It grabbed my interest from the first paragraph and held me tight (causing a few late nights) until the end!

I was emotionally engaged with Leodora. I fell in love with Paxton before she did, I think. haha! The plot was solid, with the story almost entirely taking place in The Curiosity, a theater of sorts that specializes in animatro
Liz Koetsier
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher. This review is my own independent and fair evaluation.

Having not read a ton of steampunk, I loved this intro to a new kind of story with its own sort of magic. It was surprising and deep in content (I loved Paxton the most). It was vivid and wild, quirky and intriguing, just the perfect sort of summer adventure (except that it was raining everytime I picked it up). The character arcs are clear but complex, just how I like them. I was satisfied with the endin
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read an ARC of this book, all opinions are my own.

One thing that really stood out to me is how strong Leo is. She's been through a lot in her life. Everyone seems to want to use her knack to manipulate people, leaving her feeling like her knack is a curse. I love how she overcomes her past and discovers her purpose.

I LOVE PAXTON!!!! *Cue fangirl squealing* He's an all around outstanding character that just made me smile everytime he spoke.

There are several other fun characters that really ro
Jessica C.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Heart of the Curiosity is an exciting character-driven steampunk novel by one of my favorite authors. I loved the depth and uniqueness of each of the characters and how Burke kept you guessing as to the identity of the antagonist up until the action-packed ending.

Leo and Paxton's friendship is my favorite part of the story. Their devotion to each other and to those they love was the highlight of the book.

Get your copy today, you won't regret it!
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Awwwww!!! I’ve been waiting to read this story for a while, falling in love with Leo and Muse and Paxton and the snail circus as I read bits and snippets as Heidi wrote. This was worth every second of the wait. A story about family, and magic, and loyalty and SCONES. Leo definitely has the right attitude about coffee and scones. And the love story was perfectly done. D’AWWWW!!! Go read it now! Also, that cover is phenomenal.
C.O. Bonham
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-met-the-author
Oh wow. I loved this book so much. There were so many layers to it and all of them amazing.

I loved the setting of the Curiosity. The old theater was whimsical and full of secrets. It was as much a character as the humans.

My favorite character was Leo. She is intelligent, spunky and so protective of her younger sister.

Second favorite was Paxton who is basically steampunk Iron Man.

If you love mysterious secrets, escape room puzzles, sympathetic characters or snails (snails play a ridiculously lar
Tabitha Caplinger
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The world building got my imagination in gear from the first paragraph. The characters were the perfect mix of snark and sentiment. There was enough edge to keep me on the edge of my sitting, waiting to see what secrets the Curiosity would reveal. And two little girls and their snail circus were icing on the cake. A fun an enjoyable read with enough depth to pull in my emotions.
Rae Graham
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
A Steampunk theater harboring magical secrets is right up my alley! And while I guessed most of the answers early on, it was still fun watching Leo and Pax solve the mystery for themselves (and figure each other out in the process 😉).
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a fun story to read. A bit of action, a bit of adventure. Family was definitely an enjoyable central theme of the story. The girls with the snails was fun.
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Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, o

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