Her Own Devices by Shelley Adina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think that part of the reason so many writers and their readers are drawn to 19th Century settings for their stories is the fact that roles in that society seem very definitive compared with our "post-modern" time. We like the feeling of having boundaries if only for the chance to go beyond them.
This is apparent to me in the Magnificent Devices> series created by Shelley Adina. I have had the pleasure of reading the first two books in the series: Lady of Devices and Her Own Devices. The protagonist of the series, Lady Claire Trevelyan, is a brilliant, resourceful, and highly focused 17 year old woman who lives in an alternative Britain divided between the titled Bloods, represented in the novel by Lord James Selwyn, and the Wits, represent by the engineer Andrew Malvern. In Claire, James sees a bride who can compliment his house and bear him children while Andrew, who employs Claire as his assistant, sees a equal partner who can help his technological discoveries.
In addition to sorting out affairs of the heart, Claire must try to keep a promise she had made to a group of orphans and, reformed, cut purses who she fell in with in the course of her adventures in the first book in the series. Steam cars, carriages, steam locomotive trains, and dirigibles are the main mode of transportation. (The internal combustion engine was a failure.)
Steampunk fans will find all the devices and props that make that they enjoy in the genre. Science fiction fans will enjoy the alternative history aspects of the book. (America is referred to as "The Territories.)
Romance lovers will enjoy how Claire works through the problem of having two men love her when she is uncertain that she wants to fall in love with anyone.
In sort, this is a good, quick read and a great introduction to Steampunk writing if one has not yet been introduced to its joys.
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