Monday, June 24, 2013
In a fanstatical, pre-steampunk Philadelphia, Jordan is preparing for her 17th birthday, which is the most important of birthdays. If by your 17th birthday, you have shown no signs of magic, then you are good and truly Grounded. In this society, witches and magicians are fiercely distrusted, and tortured and abused into providing power for the entire city. Some visionaries are calling for steam, but the population cannot trust witches, so the practice of mining witches continues. Someone is playing a dark game, and Wardens are sent to Jordan's party where she is shown to be a Weather Witch, then she is hauled away to Holgate, the community with Makes and houses witches.
While Jordan is captured, her friend Rowan is busy defending her honor and getting himself into trouble. Also, an escaped weather witch, Marian, is on the lose set on seeking his family and destroying the man that Made him. And what of the Maker, the cruel designer of witches and their trade. He has just learned he is a father and is burdened with a child that teaches him more about love and responsibility than he thought possible. All things come to a head at the end, leaving more action for another installment.
This is another NetGalley title. Again, the freeness of this book does not effect my review. And I am trying to get through as many galleys as possible in preparation for ALA.
At first glance, this is more than just a steampunk book. Truly is has much of the marking of steampunk with a revisionist history and alternative technology, but there are positively fantastical elements at play, that often compete with the main plot line of the story. There are strange water beasts, like the Merrow, that are problems in this story, and the reader can only assume will have a bigger role in future books. There are several plot points that will hopefully be addressed in later books, like Lady Astrea's reanimation, and perhaps the implied treachery of Carina.
Rowen is a wonderful character that adds comedy this quickly paced book. Jordan, despite her high class upbringing, is surprisingly brace. Although why did Rowen tell her to "be brave" before there was any danger. Perhaps that will be answered too. Bran, the Maker, is despicable at times, but sympathetic at others. There are also some engaging passages and peripheral action that will keep readers turning pages.
As a reader that is admittedly not entirely on board with steampunk, I have to say that I enjoyed this book. I did want to know what was happening with Jordan, and I loved the intensity as she discovered the cause of her witchcraft toward the end. That being said, I'm not sure that I would continue in this series. The characters seem pretty predictable and while I can't guess the specifics, I bet I can guess the main outcomes for this series. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I am just not that invested in the characters to read for the exact details.
For fans of steampunk, this is a worthy book, but I don't see it gaining much mainstream acclaim.