It’s been awhile since I’ve written a review, and I’ll get into the whys and wherefores of all that … in another post.
Today, I am immensely delighted to bring you a review of Shelley Adina’s Lady of Devices.
Synopsis (from Amazon):
Book one of the bestselling Magnificent Devices series! London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world. At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices. When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices.
About the Author:
RITA Award-winning author and Christy finalist Shelley Adina wrote her first novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages. Shelley is a world traveler who loves to imagine what might have been. Between books, she loves playing the piano and Celtic harp, making period costumes, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens.
I give Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina 4 out of 5 stars.
I’m going to be honest: Lady of Devices is my first venture into steampunk, so I have no idea how it stacks up against other books in its genre, and I won’t be evaluating it as such. (Because I can’t).
Lady of Devices explodes off the pages (pun totally intended) from the outset, and there is no stopping point in the action after that. The snappy plot – accompanied by a colorful cast of characters worthy of a Dickens novel, in a setting reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s 2009 Sherlock Holmes (at least, in my mind) – kept me fully engaged from start to finish.
Claire Elizabeth Trevelyan reminds me of Ayn Rand’s Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged: she is never a victim, no matter what happens to her, and her personal philosophy is, “A lady of resources makes her own luck.” Claire takes charge of her circumstances, and her resourceful actions always seem to pay off, even if in unexpected ways. I had difficulty relating to her, because every time she was knocked down, she got right back up and went back at it. (Something I find it difficult to believe anyone is able to do all of the time). I know this book is part of a much larger series, and I hope to see her struggle a little more as the story progresses, but who knows – maybe that’s just not her character. Either way, I am delighted to have found such a curious, intellectual, and compassionate (if slightly arrogant) female protagonist.
In my opinion, she ranks not only with Dagny Taggart, but Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse, and Sarah E. Boucher’s Bella.
I also loved how Adina introduced the concept of a bird’s flock and earning trust. Nice touch.
I look forward to payday so I can download the rest of the series.
P.S. The first book is free on Kindle, so you know, get it while you can!