Books

I Tried Clockwork Angel After All

A Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel

By: Cassandra Clare

Grade: C

To be honest I’d previously never had any desire to read these books. Plus some of the things I’d read about the author made me double down on that. Yet I did consider reading Lady Midnight and then heard that I might really like the character of Tessa who debuts in these books so I thought what the heck I’d give it a go!

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Books

Rebel Mechanics

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Rebel Mechanics

Author: Shanna Swendson

Genre: YA/Alt History/Steampunk

Grade: B

Not only did we lose the Revolutionary War we live under the Magistrates- ruling British families that all have magical powers. Verity is a young governess who goes into New York for the first time from her private rather cloistered life and gets a job working for Lord Henry, one of those magistrates while meanwhile she falls in and makes friends with the Rebel Mechanics. A group of rebels who are building the machines and engines to prove the world doesn’t need the magic and we can survive without them.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Writing wise it’s a quick and easy read. I liked Verity and Lord Henry (whom I pictured as James McAvoy and Carey Mulligan early on and then couldn’t get that picture out of my head). The rebels are a little harder but I still enjoyed them. Even Verity’s charges manage to not be annoying,

The downside is that it’s the start of another series and once you get past the alternative part you pretty much have read it before. Verity has a secret. She’s special. And a lot of the secrets in the book are pretty well laid out and easy to catch. Some just because the characters are smart and some just because they are kind of obvious.

But the standout thing for me was the characters aren’t all cut and paste. The rebels are not perfect noble people. Lord Henry and the ruling class are not horrible creations at all and in probably the big moment of the book, the big show piece Verity does see, very easily both sides of the story from the rebels and the military point of view which was a refreshing change.

The use of magic is not so over the top that it bogs down the book either. Mostly I was left with the impression that these were just people caught up in changing times all trying to make the best of it.

Recommend: Yes. Unlike a lot of series where my enthusiasm is kind of well I’ll read the next one when I get around to it I’m looking forward to a sequel for Rebel Mechanics and hope it comes soon.

Books

The Girl in the Steel Corset

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The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross has been sitting unread on my Kindle for a while. Steampunk is a whole new thing to me- the last one I read was only okay. There’s a short story at the start of this one and I figured I’ll read that and then move onto something else and come back to the book proper when I feel like it.

Well, the good thing about the short story? I figured I’d read the first chapter of the book and I was pretty much hooked. It moves fast and I knew getting into it that it’s another series so the ending while not a huge cliffhanger didn’t bother me too much. Too me this book seemed like proper Steampunk. Automatons, men who are part machines, top secret sciences experiments, the ability to commune with the dead and steal souls… Ass-kicking women who are both smart and funny and can really do this without the men. Even an appearance by the Queen herself.

Finley has a way of walking into trouble. She definitely has a dark side and one night after kicking the hind quarters of her would be rapist she runs into Griff and Sam and we become involved with their live (which of course is connected to Finley) to Queen Victoria and to this catch all substance that can change a person at the DNA level and make living automatons. Yeah, it’s a little out there for the time period and what I’m used to. The Steel Corset is a beautiful made corset with moving parts to protect Finley.

The main story moves fast and I liked Finley well enough. I especially liked her relationship with Emily- the brilliant young girl who does all the science for Griff and Sam. It was nice to see them become friends and to really appreciate the other for what they were. Finley admired Emily’s brains and Emily Finley’s strength but both recognized the other had the same thing in return.

There were some downsides the characters all sound so bloody old I kept forgetting they’re supposed to be teenagers! It’s pretty obvious what Sam’s mysterious friend is up to from the beginning. Okay, it kind of bugged me that Finley on the cover looks a little bit like Megan Fox. But all in all those things were secondary. I liked the story. I liked the treatment of the female characters. I’ll go forward with the series eventually. I’d recommend this one if you’re into the Steampunk weirdness the author herself describes it as X-Men in Victorian times. So if that’s your thing you’re going to love this book.