Lady of Devices


Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina is a self-described steampunk adventure novel. It is the first in an ongoing series set in an alternative Victorian London where the rich are split into two groups. There are the Bloods who value breeding above all and the Wits who are more concerned with intelligence and science. While not advertised as YA, Lady of Devices can certainly fit into that category.

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Lady Claire Trevelyan is a Blood, completing her education so she can make her debut into society and begin looking for a suitable husband. However, Claire would rather go to university, something her parents would never allow her to do. When her father shoots himself after losing almost all of their capital in a bad investment, Claire’s future is suddenly increasingly uncertain. She must find a way to survive in this new world and it will take all of her long hidden intelligence to do it.

Her Own DevicesThis book is an incredibly fun and lighthearted take on the genre. It is rare for me to find books written in this sub-genre that have just the right balance of historical accuracy and Science Fiction. Lady of Devices is excellent in this regard and has an atmospheric, interesting world that feels real, if a little outlandish. The plot is engaging though it does take a while to get going. However, this being the first in a series it is necessary in order to set up Claire’s world properly. The book does, at times, resolve conflict too easily but this did not hinder my enjoyment of the book as a whole.

Claire is a plucky, intelligent and likable main character who never quite allows the world to trap her in a corner. Her only flaw really is her tendency of being somewhat judgmental towards the street urchins she befriends on her journey. She condemns their thieving without considering that it was likely the only way they could find to feed themselves. While this is likely a perfectly natural result of her upbringing and Victorian ideas about class, her view is never challenged.Magnificent Devices

However, it’s a nice easy read, being quite short with a straightforward plot that still manages several interesting twists. Because of its shortness, it has rather an abrupt ending which sets it up for the next book.

With a protagonist worth rooting for, a fun world to explore and an enjoyable journey it’s the perfect feel-good book to curl up with on a rainy day.

Steampunk by now has become popular enough to offer a wide range of interpretations but still new enough to invite innovation. Shelley Adina has created a fascinating world full of very real characters and interesting devices. There are also some nice messages about resourcefulness and women’s rights. While there is no romance yet, there is good potential for one in later books.

With a protagonist worth rooting for, a fun world to explore and an enjoyable journey it’s the perfect feel-good book to curl up with on a rainy day.

Lady of Devices, the first book in the series, is available to download in e-book form for free at Amazon.

Photo credit: Moonshell books, inc


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