Fantasy Book Review: Rebel Mechanics

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

It’s 1888, and seventeen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family–but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister, but it seems like the children’s young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause, but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

Verity is a smart, independent young woman who leaves her family behind for a chance at a life on her own. She wants nothing to do with the rebels until she meets some of them and forms friendships with them – even going so far as to help them with spying if it means saving lives.

Rebel Mechanics is the first in an exciting new series. Verity is a strong female lead who doesn’t bow to conventional standards. Blending alternate history with steampunk and fantasy, I enjoyed every bit of this adventure. There is plenty of intrigue, suspense, and a bit of romance that make for a highly entertaining story. I look forward to the next from this engaging author.

Book Giveaway: Clockwork Princess and Steampunk Pendant

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess
By Cassandra Clare
In stores March 19, 2013

One (1) winner will receive:
• Copy of Clockwork Princess
• Steampunk Watch Pendant

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends April 5th. I’ll draw names on April 6th, and notify winners via email.

Good luck!

About Clockwork Princess:
Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.
Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

About The Infernal Devices Series:
Set in the Victorian London underworld, in the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, Shadowhunters are barely winning against the forces of evil.

About the Author:
Cassandra Clare is the author of the New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. Her books have sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.

Link to the official sites:
Visit The Infernal Devices Official Site
Like The Infernal Devices on Facebook
Visit Cassandra Clare’s Official Site

Read more

SciFi Book Review: Doktor Glass

Doktor Glass by Thomas Brennan

In an age of Zeppelins and gyroplanes, atomics and horseless carriages, the Transatlantic Span is the industrial marvel of the nineteenth century. A monumental feat of engineering, the steel suspension bridge stretches across the Atlantic from Liverpool to the distant harbor of New York City, supported by no less than seven hundred towers. But in the shadows of its massive struts, on the docks of the River Mersey, lies a faceless corpse…

Inspector Matthew Langton is still seized with grief when he thinks of Sarah, his late wife. Tortured by nightmares and afflicted by breathless attacks of despair and terror, he forces himself to focus on the investigation of the faceless man. The victim wears the uniform of the Transatlantic Span Company but bears the tattoos of the Boers—could there be a Boer conspiracy to assassinate Queen Victoria on the upcoming Inauguration Day of the Span?

But the truth, as it begins to emerge, is far more bizarre than a political coup. As additional victims turn up—each with strange, twin burn marks on their necks—Langton draws a connection between the dead man beneath the bridge and chilling rumors of the Jar Bars, soul snatchers who come under cover of night. Most frightening of all is the mythic and elusive Doktor Glass, who may not only be behind the illicit trade in souls…but who may hold the key to what happened to the inspector’s own beloved wife on her deathbed…

Langton is still grieving, yet is back at work and assigned to investigate the murder of a man whose face was removed. But in trying to deal with his wife’s death, he begrudgingly visits a psychic and makes a startling discovery that leads to a clue about the faceless man. The setting is an alternate Victorian England, dark and eerie with a different science that merges science fiction and fantasy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this steampunk mystery, with its many suspects and twists. Fast-paced and difficult to put down, I followed along captivated till the very end. Though, I was taken aback when Langton confronts Doktor Glass, and a difficult choice in morality comes into play. I struggled right along with Langton. And though I don’t think I’d make the same choices, the book certainly succeeds in making the reader second-guess and ponder choices. Dark and somber, the mood of this Doktor Glass is a bit different along with its unique storyline.

Fantasy Book Review: Tin Swift

Tin Swift by Devon Monk

Cedar Hunt has been traveling with the Madder brothers, Mae, Rose, and his brother Wil. Cedar has promised to lead the Madder brothers to the mysterious Strange weapon called the Holder. Cedar can track it, thanks to his curse. Every full moon Cedar feels the call of the beast within himself. Mae is a witch and once they find her coven, she has promised to free Cedar and Wil from their curse. But when they come across a town that stinks of the Strange and all the people are dead, Cedar will have to make hard decisions that will alter their course.

This is the sequel to last year’s Dead Iron, bringing back some great characters. Cedar has blossoming feelings for Mae, the recent widow who is slowing going insane because of her link to her coven miles away. Unfortunately, the Madder brothers aren’t in this story very much, but we’re introduced to an airship full of new, fun characters.

Monk flawlessly blends fantasy, steampunk, and western in this fantastic series. And surprisingly, I enjoyed this one even more than the first. With swashbuckling adventure, mysterious artifacts, magic, and imaginative steam-powered technology – Tin Swift is not to be missed. Fast-paced and exciting, I flew through this one and couldn’t put it down. I’m certainly looking forward to future installments in this incredible series.

Fantasy – Fiction Book Review: Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar

Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

In an alternate Earth in 1870, vampires rose up and massacred humanity, pushing them to the south and the warmer climates. 150 years later, humanity is ready to fight back. Princess Adele of Equatoria is planning to marry the westerner Senator Clark in an effort to form an alliance in the coming war against the vampires. But before she can even meet her betrothed, Adele’s traveling contingent is attacked by a vampire clan. But before they can abduct her, the legendary Greyfriar comes to her rescue. The Greyfriar is a legendary, masked vampire slayer and hero.

First in the Vampire Empire Trilogy, this extraordinary debut blends vampire fantasy, alternate history, and steampunk. The Griffith’s vampires are animalistic, predatory, and give little care to civilized society and technology. Princess Adele is headstrong and trained well in fighting, yet has a kind heart and feels a strange attraction to mysterious Greyfriar. The two have a sweet chemistry that is reminiscent of a fairy tale. This is easily one of my favorite reads of the year. With plenty of fast-paced adventure, mystery, plot twists, and romance – The Greyfriar is incredibly enjoyable and entirely spellbinding.

Sci-Fi – Fiction Book Review: The Strange Affair of the Spring Heeled Jack

The Strange Affair of the Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

After his former partner tries to commit suicide and then disappears, Sir Richard Francis Burton receives an amazing position as a detective for the government. His first job is to investigate the legendary Spring Heeled Jack, with whom Burton had a recent run-in, and to investigate sightings of what seem to be werewolves in London. Poet and thrill-seeker Algernon Swinburne joins Burton in his investigation, which leads them to the heart of a dark and vast conspiracy.

The Strange Affair of the Spring Heeled Jack is first in a creative steampunk series. Set in an alternate London in 1841, steam technology is more advanced than it should be and eugenicists have altered animals to make them more useful to society. Humorous altered biology and technology add a fun and light-hearted element to an otherwise dark and sometimes ominous setting.

While it took a few chapters for me to really get into the story, once I was there I was hooked. There’s a mash-up of several genres, woven together in a complex and surprising way. With colorful and eccentric characters, an engaging plot, and creative technology, steampunk fans won’t want to miss this. This is an impressive debut – full of mystery, adventure, danger and suspense.

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