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Steampunk Novel Review: A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway (The Baskerville Affair #1)

Egalley thanks to Del Rey

Synopsis from Goodreads
Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is ready for her first London Season - except for a murderer, missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a ruthless steam baron council, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Evelina has secretly mastered a coveted weapon - magic that can run machines. Should she trust the handsome, clever rake who speeds her breath, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything she would ask?

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * * 
This was really pleasurable steampunk fiction, ladies and gents. Not steampunk-ish which is pretty popular these days, but something that was full of delightful cogs and gadgets, and with a whole empire running on steam. Loved it!

Steven Harper, Meljean Brook and Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris come to mind. So if you enjoyed their books, you shouldn't have a problem liking A Study in Silks.

There are three elements which made this book for me. 

First of all, British Empire is ruled by a council of greedy corporations providing steam, electricity and gas to all the households. They stop any other inventions from being patented and ruthlessly suppress all progress in the name of their profits. Reminds you of something else?

Secondly, Evelina and other characters are proper inventors. They create something awesome and bizarre because they are obsessed with science, but at the same time they have to keep it all quiet so not to get on the radar of steam barons.

Thirdly, the magic exists and is reviled or prohibited to use because again steam council doesn't want magic competing with their services. You can burn or made into a laboratory rat if you are accused of being a witch.

Add to these awesome elements Evelina's circus past, her famous uncle Sherlock and her magical abilities, and this girl really knows how to get into trouble!

Secondary characters are not one dimensional and quite intriguing as well. Tobias and Imogen Roth, Bucky Penner (who absolutely charmed me), Dr. Marcus, Keating and of course, Nick. Great bunch, and I'm pretty sure they all will have their own stories developed along with Evelina's in following books.

My only complaint is that there are a lot of slow passages and inner monologues in the book interspersed with action, and while they might be good on their own, I was way more invested in finding out what happens next and skimmed through quite a few of them.

Otherwise, knock yourself out and read this. I'm on book two now. 

* * *
Очень прикольная стимпанковская книга в стиле Мелджин Брук, Стивена Харпера и Пип Баллантин и Ти Морриса. Куча гаджетов, безумных изобретений, интересного построения мира и задорных персонажей.

Три вещи зацепили меня сразу. Первое то, что Англия управляется тремя видами "паровых" баронов - корпораций, монополизирующих доставку пара, газа и электричества Империи. Они жестоко подавляют изобретателей, пытающихся создать альтернативные источники энергии и уничтожают нелегальные копии их гаджетов, и каждый из домов империи должен выбрать кому из баронов быть лояльным.

Второе - это то, что Эвелина сама настоящий изобретатель, но вынуждена держать это в тайне из-за баронов. Она мечтает поступить в университет и создать что-то новое в мире науки, что приводит нас к третьему фактору, который делает эту книгу настолько интересной.

Магия в Англии незаконна из-за того, что бароны боятся, что совмещение магии и науки создаст гаджеты, что помогут людям избавиться от их зависимости от обычных источников энергии. Поэтому потенциальных ведьм и колдунов сжигают на костре или отправляют в лаборатории, где их изучают как подопытных крыс.

Эвелина - не только изобретатель, она ещё и одна из таких ведьм, бывшая циркачка и племянница Шерлока Холмса. Так что неудивительно, что неприятности так и преследуют её.

Кроме Эвелины история полна занимательных второстепенных персонажей таких как Тобиас и Имоджен Роф, Китинга, Страйкера, Доктора Маркуса, очаровашки Бакки Пеннера и конечно же Ника. Я с удовольствием буду читать продолжение их историй в следующих книгах.

Единственное, что не украшает книгу, это обилие внутренних монологов, которые я под конец нетерпеливо пролистывала, так как мне просто хотелось продвижения истории. А так, читайте. Я уже на второй книге!


Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

This sounds delightful..I love cogs and gadgets and hate some of the watered down versions of steampunk that are publishing recently. Delightful review my friend, I shall be checking out this series.

Blodeuedd said...

I do like what I hear

Melliane said...

I really enjoyed the whole series. It was fun to read

Aurian said...

Great review, I really want to read this one.

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