If America was Still Part of the Kingdom Whose Sun Never Sets: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

 

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-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. 

Source: GoodReads

My biggest concern with this book is that I missed something.  I feel like I got the general gist of it, but often the character would say something and I would be like:

Huh?  When did that happen.

And I’d reread it and not really pick up on it.

I went to law school and passed the Texas state bar, so I’m not blaming that on me.  I could, since I do have a tendency to speed read, BUT if I can handle reading about personal jurisdiction, I should be able to pick up on a 300 page YA book without wondering how the Main Character gets to point A to B.

The thing is, despite this, I really did enjoy Rebel Mechanics, it had a lot going for it.  Save for the ship it pushed this book.

I really, really, hope that the ship I’m rooting for sails.  Because that ship would be hot.  The ship they have going right now is ack!  Seriously, Verity, girl, get some common sense.  You have something great right under your nose and you’re not even noticing it.

I really like governess stories in Historical Romances, and I think that’s why this one partially worked for me.  That and despite Verity’s naivety, I did enjoy her and her charges especially as the book progressed.  I just wish some aspects of the world would’ve been expanded on more.

I really did enjoy the set up-AU America where America is still part  of the British empire and there’s magic and lords and ladies and all that good stuff.  BUT like I said, I think Swendson only touched the surface of this premises.

That’s probably what bothered me the most, besides Verity’s extreme stupidity when it comes to relationships.

Yet, I don’t feel like reading this book was a waste of time.  And I probably will continue reading on with the series, the thing about Rebel Mechanics is that it holds a lot of promise.

Particularly, with the character Lord Henry.  There was enough mystery and intrigue about the lord of the manor with three wards, that made me intrigued even if Verity was a little bit of a bore.    Well, not so much of a bore but a little TSTL.

Anyway, I don’t regret reading Rebel Mechanics the book picks up nicely about halfway through it and there are some intriguing ideas and plot-lines that I look forward to seeing expanded on in future installments.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

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What if the Phantom of the Opera Was a Cyborg: Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to “Of Metal and Wishes”, inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.

The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation? 

Source: GoodReads

Of Metal and Wishes was one of my favorite books in 2014, BUT I didn’t think it needed a sequel.  The end of that book ended on such a bittersweet note, that I was sort of happy with how it was resolved.  But low and behold, it was announced that this was going to be a duology and, well, I was sort of interested in how things were going to progress.  Hoping that it wasn’t going to be a cop out AT all.

The result Of Dreams and Rust wasn’t bad per say, but it felt like something was missing.  To be fair though, overall I recommend the book AND I am recommending the series with some minor reservations to anyone who is in an Eastern inspired steampunk fantasy with nods to Phantom of the Opera.

What worked about Of Dreams and Dust.  A lot of things worked.  Character development being one of them.  Wen really grows as a person in this installment, but she still has her faults.  Same with the rest of the characters in this series.  However, even though Wen does grow, I do wonder about some of her decisions.

Her whole getting on the train and running away, seemed a little stupid to me.  I get it had to happen to accelerate the part, but she was really made some downright idiotic decisions.  And is in desperate need of a sassy gay friend.

What she wasn’t in need of was Bo.

Oh, God, did he annoy me.  Even though he is now basically a really cool cyborg or Ironman wannabe depending on how you define cyborg.

However, I don’t think his upgrade really helped his case.  Honestly, I don’t know  how anyone would ever ship Bo and Wen especially after this installment.  All he does is whine and moan, before doing something relatively helpful that might make you question why you hate him so much.

Well, I don’t feel guilty about not liking you Bo.

The actual ship in this book is quite delicious.  It was developed a lot this installment, and I like how the character acknowledged that they have a lot to learn about each other.

Like with Of Metal and Wishes, Of Rust and Dreams has vividly creepy imagery.  It’s probably it’s biggest strength.  Also, the plot doesn’t try to be gentle it’s brutal.  Although, I did feel like the build up was a bit minimum-a filler novella that would’ve given us some insight into that missing year would’ve been helpful.

I’d say investing in this duology is worth while.  It’s short and quick, and has some great character development.  Although, it has it’s faults they were relatively minor-though I do think a little optional novella would’ve really filled in some much needed gaps.

Overall Rating: A B+

I’m Pretty Sure She’s Not the Master’s Wife: Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

This book should’ve never been published.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Lucy Saxon (that has to be a pen-name) is very talented for her age, but she’s not ready for pub time (yet).

Though to her credit, she’s a bit more ready than Alexandra Adornetto.  But that’s really not a comment if you think about just how bad Halo was.

The premises of Take Back the Skies has a lot going for it:

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

Source: GoodReads

I always do love the gender bending trope.  And skyships.  Skyships sound interesting.  As well as revolutionary bad ass girl main characters.  The thing is, Take Back the Skies ended up being sort of a flop. On a lot of levels.  A part of me wants to blame Saxon’s age for these faux pas (after all, she was only sixteen when she wrote this book), but at the same time I’ve seen these same mistakes in author’s who are decades older.  So,since I’m in a generous mood (not really, I’ve just finally got used to not having coffee in the morning) I’m going to do the Master’s Wife a favor and dissect what’s wrong with this book.

1) Use your tropes effectively: I love the whole gender bending trope.  But it was over before it even begun.  I think the reason I love this trope so much is when used effectively it can show that a relationship is NOT shallow.  And God knows, how many YA relationships are shallow.  With a gender bending relationship, we actually get the benefit of having non-romantic feelings develop between the characters first.  Which is nice for a change.  Also, the reveal scenes can be hilarious if done correctly.  However, in Saxon’s case I think the reveal was a bit of a bore.  Or if I’m going to be more critical it made Fox look like an ass.  I mean, look at some of the things he said to Cat (see below quote).  And speaking of Cat, I didn’t know it was a unisexual name.

“And regardless of whether I trust you or not, you’ve got guts….for a girl.”  (115)

2) Pacing: Oh, Ms. Saxon, I think this is your biggest issue.  Pacing.  This book was horridly paced.  I appreciated that this is a standalone (or though I appreciated, since it turns out that there are going to be sequels), but come on.  All these problems couldn’t be resolved within the span of time you gave them (half a page).  I liked the plot you had, it really interested me.  But with everything being so quickly resolved my eyes almost popped out from all the rolling they were doing.

3) Your Romantic Lead: I have a feeling that there will be some Fox fans.  But I have to say,  he just didn’t do it for me.  And while I liked some aspects of the character all I have to say is… What a sexist jerk.  While Saxton did attempt to do some banter between the two characters, the banter was mostly Fox saying something sexist/Cat attempting to reason with him/and it ends with her walking away in a huff.   Which just left me…well, annoyed.

And speaking of sexism….

4) Learn what “sexism” means.  Seriously.  I liked the fact that the issue of sexism is brought up.  But please do make its full purpose for the sexual tension between the couple. It just gives me the feelings of total ick (see below quote).  Plus, the subject matter is such an issue that could’ve been expanded on more.  Other than Fox berating Cat because she’s a girl,  Cat is not limited by her gender.  Yes, she’s told she has to get married but all royal children (boy and girl)  are in arranged marriages.  She is not looked at by the crew (other than Fox) differently when they find out she’s a girl. The government does not treat girls differently than boys.

“You’re a girl, it’s my job to protect you!” (239)

5) Expand On World Building: For a first book, the world building is okay.  Not great.  But okay.  Once again, if this novel was  a Creative writing project I probably would be giving it a lot of positive feedback, but it definitely reads work in progress.  I got a broad view of what was going on in the world that the Master’s wife (Sorry, I really can’t help myself) created. But there were a lot of blanks.  Like when did this book exactly take place?  A lot of it felt like it should be in the past, but the technology is way ahead.  So is it steampunk?  Or would it even qualify as steampunk because the world seems more fantastical.  In addition to the broad ambiguities, some of the decisions that the government officials make and the laws just didn’t make sense.  I mean, look at this example of how they deal with government tyranny.

A trial by proxy was only performed when the country itself didn’t have enough of an established legal system to perform a trial themselves, and had to call in foreign judges and jurors to conduct the trial for them.  She doubted there would be enough people left in government after the arrests to conduct a full trial. (321)

So essentially what I got from this is a trial by proxy is allowing another country to take away said country’s judicial system’s sovereignty.  What fucking country would willing do that?

Overall Rating:  If I’m  not looking at external factors, this is a pretty horrible book.  But if we’re looking at external factors, I do see hope.  Saxton’s book as flawed as it was, had potential.  And maybe with a couple of creative writing classes and age, some of the problems I had with Take Back the Skies will be remedied in future works.D+.  Not quite a failure because there’s hope.  But I wouldn’t recommend spending your money on this one, you’ll be disappointed.  Obvious library read.

Is This Brave Cosplay?:The Falconer by Elizabeth May

 

Seriously, it looks like she’s cosplaying Merida.

 

I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Falconer, but I didn’t love it.

I didn’t hate it either.

It was a fairly decent (okay, slightly above average) YA paranormal that’s sequel probably will be really, really, good but as a first book.  Well, I wasn’t unimpressed but it wasn’t like everyone was making it out to be.

Don’t get me wrong this book was better than a lot of things out there, but I wouldn’t say it was the most unique book ever.  It had shared several of the tropes that are common in the genre.  But The Falconer did have a lot of things going for it.

Before I proceed further with the review, for full disclosure I’ll state right now that I’m not a huge fan of faeries.  I think it’s because I’m not that familiar with the lore.  I tried to.  I bought some books over them, but I haven’t had enough time/interest to actually read them.  So, I’m always a bit lost on the rare event that I do read a YA faery book.  However, I don’t think it was the faery lore that was what bothered me about The Falconer.

I think to pinpoint what issues I had with this book, I have to talk about the action sequences.

Amazing action sequences.  If you like all explosions this is the book for you. Those parts were really well written.  The problem is that I never thought the plot or the characters were fully developed. They just seemed to take a back seat to the action.  Which in a way I’m okay with, but at the same time this was the first book in a series so I did want a little more backstory than I got.

For what I got though, the characters weren’t terrible.  The lead, Aileana,  was pretty kick ass and not in a lame way.  She has limitations and for the most part appears pretty realistic. I also liked how the time period also affected her.  In a lot of historical YAs, most notably  Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices, restraints on the time period seem to disappear but not in The Falconer.  Albeit, history rears it head in the most annoying of forms (the romance plot), but at least its noted in a realistic way that the time period is going to have some effect on the main character.

As for the romance, I’m sort of on the fence.  At one point in the novel, I smelled love triangle.  And even though that character explicitly stated (for now) he’s not interested n Aileana I smell developing feelings.  And right now, I don’t know.  I’m just sort of over triangles.  At least in the traditional sense, if this does become a triangle and develops into something different I  could be interested.  I guess.

As for the other potential love interest, who is in the designated YA bad boy (the obvious winner) category.  Surprisingly, I didn’t hate Kieran like I do most of his YA counterparts.  I think it was in part because he didn’t try to be something he wasn’t and he wasn’t possessive at all.  Grant it, that might change in future books.  But I’m okay with him (for now).  The thing was like with the other characters in this book, I thought that he could’ve been fleshed out a bit more.

The plot was probably the weakest aspect of this one.  While there is a definite story, I never thought it was developed enough.  Sure, the elements were definite there but it really seemed to be there just to take backseat to the action sequences.

Got to love the action sequences but…

It did sort of put a drain on the story.

As much as I hate info dumping and an excess amount of exposition, I thought that the book could’ve done with a bit more of that.

Overall though, this one isn’t a bad read.  It’s actually pretty good, but is it worth the hype.  Shrug.

No.  Not for me.  I will probably read the sequel though but I don’t have to have it now.

Grade: B.

A Darkness Strange and Lovely: Susan Dennard

I have a love hate relationship with this dress.  It is striking, I’ll give it that, but I don’t think a 19th century Miss would wear it.

Imagine your ideal date.  Rom Coms are good at showing what this ideal is.  Especially Lifetime movies.  I’ll just give you one that’s a combination of various movies: You’re feeling funky in your sweatpants and Mickey Mouse t-shirt  and your friend texts you and tells you she’s set you up with this guy.  You don’t do blind dates, but there’s nothing in the fridge except for a half eaten can of Nutella.  And as much as you like the spread, it’s not exactly dinner.  So you decided to take a shower, put on some Spanxs and your LBD and just go on the date for the free food.  Imagine to your surprise when you open the door and John Stamos appears eating Greek yogurt and says you look great while handing you diamonds and chocolate.  He then proceeds to take you on his private jet to the Mediterranean coast and you make sweet love to a montage of the latest sappy dappy love song.

Perfect date in the movie world, right?

Well, on the second date you find out your date wasn’t actually John Stamos it was Uncle Jesse and if you’re going to be around this guy you’re going to have to be around his crazy family, an annoying slightly seedy looking dude named Joey, and that he’s already married to this lady who lives in the attic and is crazy because…oh, wait different story (sort of).  Although, I truly believe Aunt Becky would’ve gone crazy if she had to raise the twins in that attic apartment for too much longer.

Okay, you might wonder what has caused me to write a bizarre version of Lifetime movie/Full House fan fic.  Well, I’ve been indulging in one too many Nick at Nite reruns of the 80’s sitcom and Lifetime movies and well…it’s the perfect analogy to the book I’m about to review.

A Darkness Strange and Lovely the sequel to Something Strange and Deadly to say the least it was disappointing.  Not that it was a bad book.  But considering that its predecessor was one of my favorite books of 2012.  Well this sequel just plain sucked.

If you haven’t figured it out already I’ve deviated from regular format again and I think it’s something that will be happening more and more because I’m sort of getting tired of being formulaic though I will try to touch upon all the various points I do in the formula.

The book takes place I think a few months after the first.  Eleanor is basically living a life of 19th century poverty which consists of having one dress, no furniture, and carrying everything around in a carpetbag-yes, I know tragic.  After getting scared half to death she’s off to Paris to find the Spirit-Hunters (and yeah, se only needed an excuse to leave town).  Of course things are complicated when she meets her brother’s demon and acts like an idiot for the rest of the novel.

Yep, that summary right there describes the gist of this book.  I’ll be the first to say it’s not a bad book, just like I don’t think Uncle Jesse by himself is a bad catch.  But compared to the alternative…the first book, it’s just a disappointment.

The biggest issue I had with this one is Eleanor.  Its not that she reverts into some horrible Bella Swan type of character, though she did have some Bella moments.  It’s just that…that in the first one she was so kick ass without being unrealistic and in this one she is just annoying.  She makes horrible decisions, she’s selfish, all she cares about is her love life…oh wait, that is Bella Swan.  And you know like Bella when she fucks up, its only a little fuck up she’s shortly forgiven.

Yeah, I’m crying because I really did like Eleanor in the first one.  And I think the change in her character affected her relationship with Daniel.  In the first book I felt chemistry, while there still was chemistry here it felt awkward and forced at times.  I honestly liked her with Ollie better in a weird way even though he reminded me of that ass, Reth, in Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy.  And I never found Reth hot.

Really, was Ollie necessary?  At least he’s not terribly annoying when he and Eleanor aren’t interacting.  But still…God, I hate characters that are invented solely to cause a rift in the relationship between the protagonist and her man-cessory.

Sigh…..

The plot was still decent, I guess.  Probably the best thing about this one.   Though it was obvious who the villain was in this installment if you weren’t TSTL (Eleanor I’m looking at you).  I just didn’t feel the same zeal as I did with the first one.  Despite the fact that this novel took place in France in the late 1800’s.

I’ll be honest with you, one of the books that I was forced to read in college made me love 19th century France.  That book is The American by Henry James.  I really felt old world Europe when I read that book.  Here…not so much.  And yeah, I know comparing this book to The American is like comparing fine wine to beer….but…this book tries to well…tries to hard.

It really freaking does.  I felt like Dennard wanted to have the same feel that the James novel gives you.  Except no. It just doesn’t work.  I didn’t feel like I was in France when I read this book.  Sure a few French phrases were dropped here and there, people ate baguettes, and ostentatious lifestyles were lived…but I still didn’t buy it.  Like I bought 19th century Philadelphia.

To be honest, the book just felt like a pale copy of its predecessor and while its expected that sophomore books aren’t going to be as good as the original I had great hopes for this one.

There wasn’t particularly anything inappropriate about this one.  Some violence (obviously) since it is a zombie hunting book.  But no sexy good times or f-bombing.  Which is sort of a shame because I think this book needed something like that.

Overall, this installment isn’t horrible but it really sort of failed.  Had this been another YA series I might’ve enjoyed it more.  But not here.  Overall, I’m giving it a six out of ten zombies.  I’ll probably read the next one, but its definitely on probation.  Just how my relationship with Jesse would be if my proposed movie, Full House From Hell,  ever got made by Lifetime.

Clockwork Princess: Cassandra Clare





Warning: If you hate spoilers, don’t read this review.  There’s going to be lots of them because several of my issues with the book involve spoilers.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about Cassandra Clare.  Her books for me are like mind junk food.  They’re not the best written (see has severe fan fic prose), but God that woman knows how to put emotion on a page.  And her plots, though cliche, are addicting in a bad soap opera sort of way.  That being said, I still feel icky reading her work mainly because of past accusations of plagiarism and I felt that parts of TMI were P2P fan fic.  That being said though, I really do enjoy her Infernal Devices series and Clockwork Princess was one of my most anticipated reads for 2013.

General Summary: Tessa is going all woo is me because two boys like totally like her but she likes them both.  Oh, and there’ s a crazy guy who’s sending robots after her too.  That has to be a bummer.

Review:

This book.

This is going to be one tricky review because I loved a lot of things about this book.  Like, with the exception of the heroine, I loved all the characters.  I thought each of them were well formed and had compelling backstories for the most part.  I loved the interactions with the characters too, particularly Jem and Will.  And even the subplots weren’t as annoying as they otherwise would’ve been.

The main story also was fairly decent if predictable.  Though I did get annoyed with a lot of things about the plot mostly involving Tessa.

Essentially the book could’ve been about two hundred pages shorter if Tessa had half a brian.  I know that sounds horrible but some of the choices she made in this book were just Disney Princess level stupid.  And I’m not talking about the modern day Disney Princess, I’m talking about Snow White level Disney princess where a man had to come to save Tessa despite the fact she could’ve transformed into anyone at anytime and kicked Mortimer’s ass via that way.  But hey….

And then when she was rescued….

Okay, this is going to be a bit of a rant.  One of the things I liked most about this trilogy was that it was so angst driven.  That’s why this love triangle worked.  You really felt all relationships-though honestly at this point I sort of wish it would’ve been Jem and Will who got together and forgot Tessa since I currently have no tolerance for her but whatever…the point was, you understood that people were going to get hurt no matter what the outcome was.  But what happened…..

Well, Tessa got her cake and ate it too to sum it up.  Okay, so she has those pesky immortality issues to throw some angst in there for a good measure but whatever.  The point is, both Jem and Will both got precious Tessa and precious Tessa really didn’t have to deal with any of their anger despite the fact that she and Will banged each other right after Will announced that Jem died.

GMAFB!

If you read this blog you know the one thing I despise more than anything else is grief sex.  I don’t understand how someone can think having sex can  make their worries go away especially after the love of their life dies.  It just doesn’t compute.  I get that coitus releases endorphins much like chocolate and exercise, but there’s consequences.  I’m only glad that it was Magnus not Jem who walked in on them.  Though given how the book was going, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Jem just….okay, I’ll keep this PG-13.

Best Feature: Engrossing read.  I really do feel absorbed whenever I read a Cassandra Clare book.  As flawed as they are, you becoming overwhelmed with the story the world.  This one is no exception, though the plot was predictable there was just something about it that made me not want to leave the Infernal Devices world.  I know it sounds strange and it’s something I can’t quite describe but it’s a good feeling whatever it is.

Worst Feature: Tessa.  Oh, dear lord, I don’t like Tessa.  Which is sad because I really liked her a lot more than Clary up till this point.  She’s essentially a glorified Mary Sue who makes some pretty horrible choices in this book.  And guess what, she gets rewarded?  She gets both boys.  Not even Bella Swan can attest to that since Sneezy came along and took boy number two away from her.  But Tessa, she gets her cake and can eat it too.  You can argue, I guess, that she really won’t have a happy that like Will, Jem will eventually die.  But still…not everyone should have a quasi happy ending and grief sex, grief sex, grief sex!

My brain after reading the book.

Appropriateness: There’s some violence in here similar to Clare’s other books.  Also, there’s a sex scene as well.  The language is mild.  But definitely not for pre-teens.

Blockbuster Worthy: Yes.  I’d actually like to see this series turned into a movie.  A lot more than The Mortal Instruments.  Though since they butchered the casting of Jace, I’m a little scared about this one being turned into a movie.

Tessa: Emmy Rossum, maybe. That’s how I sort of imagine Tessa looking like anyway.

Will: Tom Sturridge, duh.

Jem: Got to go with my favorite teen Asian actor from Glee, Harry Shum JR.  Though he’s really not a teen (he’s thirty). But still he can dance and kind of sing it wouldn’t be that difficult to think he could learn to play the violin.

Overall Rating: I’m going to give this one a six out of ten.  I loved a lot of things about this book and I can recommend it without feeling horrible about it, but the things that bothered me really bothered me.  Look, I get what Clare was trying to do with the relationships here, but I’m a traditionalist I think and the grief sex just rubbed me the wrong way.  And this is from someone who watches way too much Daytime television.

Something Strange and Deadly: Susan Dennard

Let’s be honest here…you’re probably groaning by the cover alone.  The book looks like it’s going to be your stereotypical paranormal.  The main character is wearing a fancy dress, there is a dark depressing feeling that the art department is trying to get the reader to feel.  But does it ring historical?

Not really.  The dress isn’t what a nineteenth century Miss would wear but that doesn’t matter since I’m not analyzing this books cover (yet). So, let’s review the book.

General Summary: Eleanor receives a disturbing letter from her brother.  Its contents are disturbing enough, but what makes matters worse was that it was delivered by a zombie and now Eleanor finds herself having to team up with the spirit hunters.

Review:  I love this book and then again I don’t.  For the first two thirds of this book I had thought I met my soulmate.  It had taken something I absolutely despised and hated (zombies) and made it great.  I love Eleanor she’s kick ass.  And that’s something about this book I loved till the end.  She could handle whatever was thrown at her and she wasn’t Mary Sue perfect.  I also liked her interactions with her suitors and for that matter than her love life is not the main focus of the book.  Rather, it’s the attack on Philadelphia and Eleanor’s quest to find her missing brother. That was another strength of the book (well, through most of the book) was it’s plot.  Dennard had a clear story in mind when it came to this book and I enjoyed that until….well, I got to the climax.
 To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with the climax at all.  It wasn’t poorly written.  It was very exciting and all, but I felt like I had read it before in oh…..Clockwork Angel. While it was true that the stories are different, a plot twist that was used in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series was used here and it just sort of rubbed me the wrong way. I was like really Dennard you’re better than this. And even if I didn’t read Clockwork Angel  it still would’ve been predictable and sort of groan inducing twist.
While I like the Infernal Devices series a lot better than the Moral Instruments the book is still a bit of a cliche.  Not that cliche can’t be good but that doesn’t matter.

That being said, I really did enjoy the book.  Besides the main characters and  I thought that Dennard excelled when it came to the use of details in the this story.  Everything seemed so put together for the most part and with reason.  Which is sort of hard to do.  That being said, it wasn’t perfect I think as the book progressed and I got a better look at what the story was about I was able to spot a plot hole or two. And yeah, one of these plot holes was quite glaring but overall it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book (much).

 Best Feature: History.  I really love history.  And I have to be honest, when you combine the paranormal with historical fiction it’s pretty kick ass.  I even like that stupid Titanic book with the werewolves, mainly because it incorporated history.  Not very well, might I add.  But still it incorporated history.  This book, was much more of a success (in my opinion at least) than that Titanic book and I think it’s because Dennard didn’t try to recreate an alternative version of a big historical event.  Okay, so history was altered-big time-with zombies walking around everywhere in the nineteenth century.  But there were still core things about the period that existed if you knew your history.  And this made me smile.
Eleanor’s Philadelphia

Worst Feature: This seems familiar….: While there was a lot of originality to this book there were also a lot of similarities to Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series.  Which is okay, but it makes part of the book sort of predictable and a let down.  When I started reading this book, I was so excited.  For the first one hundred and fifty pages or so, I thought I finally had another book I’d give a full blown ten to (which doesn’t happen a lot).  However, then things got a little cliched.  And I have to say this…what is the deal with all these period pieces and gears.  Yes, I get that gears were used in a lot of old machinery but can’t you be I don’t know a little more creative.

Appropriateness:  There are some pretty vivid descriptions of the zombies that are a bit gruesome, but other than that it’s pretty proper.  It has to be right?  It’s YA and it’s historical and historical MC’s are always prim and proper.

Blockbuster Worthy: Sure, why not.  I’m always for a good period piece with zombies.  Even if they royally screw up on the script and everything else you have the costumes to look forward to.  Here’s who For  Eleanor, Kaitlyn Jenkins.…maybe?  I like her in Bunheads and I do think she might be able to pull off Eleanor in some ways but I’m not sure if she’s bad ass enough.

 

Daniel: Chad Duell.  I think he has the right look though he’s a ginger instead of blonde.

 

Overall Rating: Eight out of ten gears.  This book was looking perfect till the last third of the book and then I fell a bit out of love with it.  I still recommend it though.  It’s one of the better YA paranormals I’ve read in quite awhile.