Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Short Book Reviews: Steampunk Victorian Revolution

Rebel Mechanics, by Shanna Swendson (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group) Steampunk and 
alternate American history, spies and skullduggery and steam engines, oh my!

From the beginning, I was captivated by this tale of an 1888 America that never freed itself from Britain, a world ruled by aristocratic “magister” magic-users, Masked Bandits and airships, and an intrepid heroine. With the focus on plot and character, perfect for young adult audiences, the world-building is handled with subtlety. Verity Newton arrives in New York City to take up a position as a governess, only to become entangled with the Rebel Mechanics, a fellowship of engineers committed to freeing themselves from the tyranny of the magisters through the creation of steam engine powered devices that anyone can operate, regardless of magical talent. (A particular charming twist was the role of the novel Jane Eyre, and its reflections on the role of governesses!) I hope this will be the beginning of a series of Verity’s adventures and the eventual liberation of the American colonies. Fans of Gail Carriger will particularly enjoy this book.

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