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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027

Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1)

Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1) - Shelley Adina I tend to think that steampunk is a genre at the crossroads at the moment. It’s trendy enough that more books and articles and human interest stories are being written about it, but it hasn’t quite broken through to being mainstream. And much like any genre that’s becoming popular, everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon to try to rake in the cash. I found Lady of Devices as I was browsing through the “If You Liked X, Try Y!” suggestions. (Which is a very precarious task, I’ve found.) I did really like Lady of Devices; despite the lack of a major plot, there’s enough in the book that made me interested in this world and its characters. The biggest compliant I had is that it feels like the first half of a much longer book, but for what is, it’s a decent read.As the main character, Claire Trevelyan could have slipped into the territory of “Rebellious mind-set, but she’s still high society!” (Because steampunk is ALL ABOUT THE CORSETS AND BALLGOWNS OMG.) And there are traces of that mindset in the beginning, but I liked that Adina forces Claire out of the comforts of high society and into the streets and slums of Victorian London. I liked that Claire does have goals in mind, and that she does view her father’s debts and subsequent suicide as a means to pursue her own dreams of attending university. (You also have to like a girl who wins a school medal for writing a paper on engine mechanics. In German.) And even after her house is ransacked, Claire still operates under the idea of “Oh, well, society dictates that charity is the most upstanding virtue; I must have a friend to take me in!” only to find out how ruined her family is. I do think she’s still slightly naïve as to how life really is for the lower classes, but I liked that she’s forced to start thinking about her circumstances and how she’s going to live from now on. And I just love the idea that she’s acting as a governess to a random assortment of orphans. (Also, my mental picture of her was of Jenna Louise Coleman. Because reasons.) The kids do seem to fall in assigned roles, but I liked that they managed to surprise Claire with their own street smarts and willingness to trust her. I do have to give props to Adina for not taking the plot in the easiest route. I honestly expected for Claire to show up at Andrew Malvern’s lab, begging to work for him despite being financed by Lord James Selwyn. I really wasn’t expecting the introduction of the street urchins, or that Claire would enact her revenge for essentially being carjacked through uses of chemical noxiousness. But I did like that Claire crossed paths with Andrew once more by the end of the book, and I liked the agreement that they struck.As I mentioned above, there is a lot of padding to this and there’s not a lot of plot. It takes about half the book for Claire to be forced out of her home and meeting the orphans, and then there’s a big action piece in retrieving her landau and killing the thug Lightning Luke. (Which is done by a LIGHTNING GUN. Someone make a mock-up of this please.) The book also just ends with the aforementioned deal between Claire and Andrew—she’ll work part time as an assistant, and Andrew will help educate the kids—and I felt like there could have been so more. (Honestly, I thought Claire was going to be a feared lady of the underworld. But again, this is just the first book.) There’s a lot of good things in here, but as a compelling omg MUST READ, I don’t think it’s up there. I am looking forward to reading the next book, and seeing where things go.It is a good quick read, if you’re looking for something to fill up your ereader, and as I’ve mentioned, I really liked that Adina was willing to explore the lower class society in a steampunk setting. (Again, the tendency is to keep all characters in the upper classes because OMG WE NEED TO THE HEROINE IN CORSETS AND GOWNS.) I did really like the book, but the lack of plot does feel frustrating, especially since there’s nothing that actually happens in this first book.