Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Making Sir Conan Doyle proud

Perfect trilogy end with promising future. Emma Jane Holloway has given us an excellent (re)introduction to Sherlock Holmes through his niece Evelina. The Baskerville Affairs was an excellent trilogy with plenty of girth (each book tops 500 pages). Be prepared to tuck in for an excellent weekend of steampunk revelry with more magic, pirates, and royalty of all sorts.

A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway

9780345537201A brilliant revival of Sherlock Holmes in this three part segue. BBC's TV show has once again made the Great Detective active in our modern imagination. He is a literary giant of lasting heritage. I was so pleased with how this trilogy has treated his legacy. The final of the series has only hardened the brilliancy of him and his niece. 

Sherlock is clearly a part of the story without being the main protagonist. His character treatment felt spot on with the original Doyle imagine of the man from Baker Street. As we draw to the end of the steam barons' mysterious war attempts, Evelina begins to evolve into her own magic and strength as a detective. Miss Holloway has clearly given us a friendly face to associate with as her new works develop into a steampunk greatness all their own. We have comfort as we start the series and finish reading the last lines realizing we have entered a whole new territory that can exist within Baker Street without Sherlock Holmes.

The third part is by far the longest of the set, but I felt that the length was not hampering to the amount of information we received. The characters are each developing so uniquely apart from each other before finding a common conclusion the treatment of events in date sequence/diary format made more sense than the first novel using that format (but for cohesion sake I'm happy it was there and now understand the big picture). I was not shocked by the ending in a firecracker explosion, but I was in no way expecting the ending as it developed. It sort of sneaked up on me while I was reading on velvet tipped feet. I actually really appreciated that type of mystery diversion tactic.

I completely recommend on purchasing the whole trilogy if you have ignored my previous recommendations and were waiting for everything to be published before buying in.

Here is to reaching my 75 goal for the holidays!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Quick Promotional Break

For any mentors in the Pitch Wars this week, please stop by my friends website for her pitch. She is incredibly talented. You can not only read her pitch, but there is also a synopsis section to see what she is up to in her writing projects.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Steampunk Weekend

Amazing long weekend off from work filled with good food and reading! Now that only leaves me 10 days left at the grindstone for the year. Whoop! While I stuffed myself of excellent Indian cuisine for the holidays, I also took to the book-nook with a warm afghan and snacks for steampunk gluttony. A great refresher for the next two weeks.

Lady of Resources by Shelley Adina

I had a high level of anticipation for this novel. It was very hard for me to put it off for my holiday reading binge. I love the first four novels in the Magnificent Devices (as witnessed in reviews earlier on my blog). This installment has all of our lovely characters from the first novels, but takes the focus into the history of the Mopsies! I adored those two little ragamuffins and their tenacious spirit. I was so excited to hear they would be garnering their own spotlight. 

Lady Claire's story had concluded with her departure to college for her dream of becoming an engineer. Now we are five years down the line at her graduation and the Mopsies graduation before making their higher education decisions. It is the first time we get to really follow the lives of the girls of the twins. Every orphan has a history even if most forget it and them (besides the Lady of course!). We were able to find the real family of Willie and its happily ever after. Now we get the chance to see where the Mopsies come from, and how they spectacularly ended up in the flock. Leave it to the Mopsies to do something with flourish.

Not only do the girls struggle for the first time in their lives over their character differences, they are struggling with their history. Neither remembers a childhood outside of rag-picking and thieving rich ladies who drive down the wrong streets. They are facing their next step in their education: the (dreaded) Finishing School or continue on with their education in physics and maths. (Side tangent: I greatly appreciated Ms. Adina's treatment of the feminine side of education. Lady Dunsmuir is certainly not a fop of a character because she went to finishing school and behaves as a well-bred lady. I truly find it refreshing in an era that is trying to churn out fem-bots of feminism by the dozens. You can be a strong, independent woman from the home if that is your choice and shouldn't be looked down upon.) They have been influenced by strong women of both persuasions. Which will they follow?

Back to the point at hand, Lady Clair may have created a home for them and love them, but it is nothing like family. That deep search for belonging and understanding a piece of ourselves is timeless.

I did miss Rosie, but the book easily garners a 5 star review. I highly recommend you go pick up a copy today at your local store or order an e-edition here.

Here is to heading back to Galbrieth!

Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak

I was amazed at this book. The beginning hooked me and never let go. The leading characters have such depth and realism. There is gritty, mature content without being lush or overkill in the shock department. The action paces through at quite the clip. You have the protagonists moving through a somewhat formulaic quest of modern adventurers hunting the clues of the ancients hidden in plain sight. While you expect the adventure to have its twists and blind turns, I was still surprised with the actual storyline.

Lily Stargazer has quickly become one of my favorite literary characters. She is fantastic. Her growth and development as she battles her current and past demons is heartfelt. She is a whirlwind of bad decisions that are very realistic. I appreciated the difference of her shocking decisions and struggle with being a better person. The ease of visualizing the characters was top notch in their pell mell rat race.

There is a fair smattering of historical figures and places but with plenty of other-worldly/timeline allusion to be obvious about its fictitious nature. Unlike others of the genre, it does not solely focus itself in London. We get to see other major metropolises of the Victorian era. This breath of fresh air really connected me to the experience. The idea of balloon races around the world was so much fun.

The way she has her airships work and the dynamics of the steampunk flair somehow continued to make me think about the Great Mouse Detective. I easily pictured Angus pedaling his little heart out like the bat sidekick. I think that also describes a level of whimsy that underlies this novel. Very Alice in Wonderland steampunk.

Melanie Karsak has written in the zombie genre before now, but I give this introduction to the steampunk genre a full 5 stars (easily, hands down). Sleep deprivation is worth it. I definitely look forward to following up with this series. Full recommendation to go pre-order your copy and some gift copies today for the holidays. Paperbacks hit store shelves this Wednesday.

Here is to a return to the Lady of Devices!