What’s steampunk without airships and mechanical men? Not to worry, Lucy Saxon gives those to you in spades.
Catherine, the tomboy daughter of a well-connected, powerful lord decides that an arranged marriage is not for her. So she stows away on an airship, gets adopted by the crew, and then helps to uncover a horrible scheme in which her own father is the master-mind. Having lost a war, rather than admit defeat, the aristocracy overthrew the monarchy, instituted a totalitarian state, and started a secret project to build an army of half-mechanical soldiers, but Catherine’s inside knowledge enables the crew of the airship to infiltrate government headquarters and reveal the truth to the rest of the world. Along the way, she pretends to be a boy, falls in love, gets unmasked, and has to prove where her loyalties really lie.
This is a very standard steampunk world, and a very standard adventure plot. The distinctive elements can be described as follows: Take Cromwell’s England, add steampunk, mix in successfully rebellious colonies, then add a dash of dastardly experimentation involving lots of vivisection.
Catherine has spunk. She’s a lively character, and the book’s a fast read. I give the novel a thumbs up, though with the reservations I’ve already noted. This is not a book that will wow anyone as The Next Big Thing, but teen readers who’re turned on to steampunk and are looking for more will definitely enjoy this book.
Note: I checked this book out from my local public library. I have no connection with the author or publisher.