Monday, January 12, 2015

Adventuring under the Venice canals

Clear, crisp skies and freezing temperatures. Great weather to stay huddled under my blanket, staring out the window wistfully, and reading a good book. I got to spend the weekend with the ever amazing Lady of Devices. Perfection.

A Lady of Integrity by Shelley Adina

I bought this the minute it was released on Christmas. Such an amazing present. Only disappointed that I didn't get to reading it right away. Life, and it happening when I would rather be reading. 

A Lady of Integrity is the seventh novel in what is quickly becoming my all time favorite series. This series is brilliant. As I reflected on how to write up this review, besides it being filled with glowing praise, I decided a few things about steampunk. Now that I have read several authors and spent a year pondering this new genre of fiction, I have fully decided what makes the genre so great for me and where my pet peeves lie. Shelley Adina has managed to only fall into the great column.
  1. Strong women characters that are represented in multiple spheres of society. 
  2. Language that is genuine for the timescape of steampunk and societal London, street urchin, or rough neck Texan.
  3. No people who actually lived in the Victorian time period make a feature character.
  4. No sex but plenty of love.
  5. Danger and excitement that isn't overdone to boring.
  6. Characters with intelligence and wit - and more importantly: development.
  7. Morals. Integrity. Loyalty.
Have I praised this book enough? Have you bought a copy for yourself yet? If you haven't started this series yet, the first novel is free and the rest are only $4.99. So there is absolutely no excuse. Amazon

All right, to the meat of the story. In previous novels, we have developed Claire, the Lady of Devices herself, and the Mopsies with their subsequent male partners. Now we get a chance to come back around to Alice, that wily Texican. With life ever full of adventure for the Wilton Crescent gang, they most complete a daring rescue mission in Venice. Nothing like a little change of scenery to keep stories fresh, and this was wonderfully researched for authenticity in local flora/fauna if not the actual geography. There are also plenty of bombs and kraken to keep things exciting.

My only disappointment with this novel was the development for Alice's story felt a little lost in the overly large personalities of the other characters. The beginning makes it clear that it will be Alice's adventure, but she seems to be unable to complete it without a gaggle of supporting characters who demand to be heard loudly. Then, we are surprised with a ghost from the past and a small tangent for her development that also seemed a little lackluster. However, I was pleased with the closing letter promising further development. Maybe we will get more of Alice with that crazy adventure too. 

As always, I eagerly await the release of Magnificent Devices, Book Eight: A Gentleman of Means