Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: March 24th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
1836, a world of light and dark, noble and guild. The two spheres intersect when seventeen-year-old Allie Donovan is placed at the aristocratic St Matthews Academy. More at ease with a blade than a needle, she finds herself ostracised by the girls and stalked by a Scottish lord intent on learning why she is among them.
She begins to suspect the underlying reasons when soldiers arrive to see her friend, Zeb, a mechanical genius. On the hunt for answers she breaks into his underground laboratory. There, Allie discovers he is not just constructing sentient mechanical creatures, he is building a devastating new weapon for the military.
The guilds want the weapon and Allie is trapped by ties of blood. She must obey the overlord of the guild and deliver up her friend, unless she can rely on bonds of friendship, to save both their lives.
I was absolutely delighted with this book! The author did a terrific job, effortlessly blending mystery and romance with action and adventure. All this and it's steampunk with a strong female protagonist too!
I kept getting so caught up in the story that I would forget it is set in a wonderfully detailed steampunk world until an airship would fly overhead or a mechanical beastie would make an appearance. Then I'd smile in delight and get even more into the tale.
Allie is wonderfully left of center. In that I mean she believes that women are equals, there shouldn't such social status differences, and the like. She refuses to accept her place as less than everyone around her. She is strong and determined, willful and dangerous. She is my favorite of all the wonderful characters in this book. She is torn between doing what's she's supposed to do and what she feels is the right thing to do.
Another thing I loved about this book is that the author made the world similar to some of my favorite RPGs that I play on my gaming consoles. There are Guilds in this world that are at the same time very prominent and secretive. Everyone knows they exist and what they do, but no one knows who all is Guild and which branch of the Guild they might be in. There are assassins and spies, warriors and thieves. Once in a Guild, you are in it forever. Betray the Guild or its secrets and there are dire consequences. This makes for an enjoyable tension as the characters aren't sure who they can trust.
There is mystery and action enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. What is really going on? What is Allie keeping from Jared? Why is the Guild behaving strangely? What secrets and danger lurk around the next corner?
Then there is the romance. Of course there is a romance. There is a lovely strong independent girl, so there's bound to be a boy that she falls for who is seemingly unattainable. He, again I say of course, falls for her even though there are so many obstacles such as social station and previous obligations.
I'll leave the ending of this for you to find out. Happy or sad, it is definitely exhilarating.
I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a great story with wonderful characters that are easy to feel for. The story is very well written and really draws you in. There is so much going on yet it never seems overly complicated. It's the perfect mix of everything that I enjoy reading, and I think that many people will enjoy it as much as I did.
Note to the author: I have got to read more of this story and these characters! Please tell me there will be many more books about them.
Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.
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