christina's Reviews > Ticker

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
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's review
Mar 12, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: review-copies

Ticker was my first read of 2015, and I think it was a great way to start off my reading year. I have a great and fiery adoration for steampunk, though I certainly haven’t read enough of it, and this was the perfect fix for my clockwork-and-corsets craving.

I absolutely adored Penny. She seems to be the classic spunky, adventurous firecracker of a heroine at first—the type that’s perhaps a bit overused in steampunk—but she quickly develops dimensions that endear her to the reader. She loves and hates and feels with a frightening intensity, and she acts on those emotions, often recklessly. She makes some truly questionable decisions that still fit entirely into her character and develop her as an individual.

Also, I love that Mantchev has such an appreciation for antiquated sass. The banter on every single page made this book even more A+ than it already was, and the very Victorian-esque humor kept me going even when the plot slowed a little for some breathing time. The writing was poetic in exactly the right doses, but the real gems hidden in Mantchev’s words were the funny ones—the absurd but eloquent wit that Penny and Co. maintain in even the blackest of times.

Penny’s relationship with her twin brother, Nic, is so well-done. I’m not a twin myself, so I can’t truly and fully speak from experience, but I felt like the sibling dynamic was something that I could really relate to. There was definite friction, which I could appreciate, but that made the resolution of their problems all the more rewarding.

Also, the ship was golden. I might not be able to say too much about the identity of the love interest, but Penny’s chemistry with him is apparent from the moment the two meet. It’s one of those sparks-and-sarcasm romances, incredibly fun to read and ship, and the best part is that you can always tell there are real emotions behind all the smile-worthy moments. I shipped it immediately and I shipped it hard, throughout the book, and I think most readers will too.

The supporting characters were fleshed-out but not too deeply, which made sense given the plot-driven nature of the book. Violet Nesselrode (brilliant name, too) was pretty darn kick-butt (a baker with a ferocious streak and the words BAKE CAKE tattooed on her knuckles? YES PLEASE), providing a perfect friendship element for Penny, and Stirling was always full of surprises. I loved how everyone worked well together, and of course I adored the “ragtag team coming together” dynamic.

The villain was really so super interesting—the only thing I could’ve asked for from him was maybe MORE PAGE TIME, PLEASE. Warwick’s mentality is puzzling at first, with his inexplicable obsession with ‘helping’ Penny, but as I delved deeper and deeper into the novel, I could almost see his perspective. He was a powerful antagonist and really well-done, and totally a worthwhile part of the book, especially since so many villains in action-packed books read like pieces of cardboard.

I also loved the way grief was handled in this book, giving it more subdued undertones but never bogging down the fast-paced storyline. There’s an emotional undercurrent running through the entire story, which brings it closer to your heart without boring you to death. It makes the characters feel more real, and that gives the book a really solid backbone.

Speaking of the plot, it was wonderful and adventurous and full of action, everything I could have asked for in a light steampunk read. Fighting! Explosions! Kissing! Mystery! There’s so much to love, and I never once got really bored. It’s almost movie-like in its smoothness and awesomeness—like a YA book version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—and even those who aren’t normally keen on steampunk will be able to appreciate this heart-pounding, fists-flying plotline.

The worldbuilding is incredibly disorienting to be thrown into at first, I have to admit. Names of various machines and some slightly dated narration and a bustling, unfamiliar landscape are all crowded in your face, demanding your attention. But once I was able to digest all that was coming my way, I could really appreciate the richness and complexity of the little world Mantchev has constructed for us. Bazalgate is a bustling city with its own quirks that make it come to life wonderfully.

I think my only complaint—and it’s pretty minor—was that the beginning was somewhat clunky. Being exposed to so many new elements of the worldbuilding and voice gives the story kind of a rocky start, but I encourage everyone to power through the beginning and get to the real action, because it’s glorious.

To be completely honest, I thought Ticker was a terrific standalone, and just the thing if you want to end a reading slump or quiet period with a bang. Even if you’re not a fan of steampunk or action, check this one out—there are elements that I definitely think will appeal to a really wide range of readers, and I enthusiastically recommend this book.
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Reading Progress

March 12, 2014 – Shelved
March 12, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
January 1, 2015 – Started Reading
January 1, 2015 – Shelved as: review-copies
January 2, 2015 –
page 51
18.68% "Enjoying so far, although the Victorian sensibilities are a bit heavy-handed at times."
January 10, 2015 –
page 114
41.76% "Hmm. Intriguing."
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: need-to-review
January 11, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by AnQi (new) - added it

AnQi This looks like a fun one!

christina AnQi wrote: "This looks like a fun one!"

It totally is! I definitely think you'd enjoy it :)

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