This Monstrous Thing

A really satisfying read if you ask me, the way that it handles Frankenstein, blends everything together nicely. And also include the real author of Frankenstein in an interesting tale.

Set in a world of automatons, and definitely include a real life Frankenstein, Alasdair reviving his own brother and having a bigger secret to hide than just what is known. And also dealing when Olivier’s secret is revealed; and Alasdair needs to know who did it.

I really like this story for how it handles the plot, with the way Frankenstein was a form of retelling of Alasdair and Olivier’s story. Also what that reveals him to the world, forces them on the run and sets the whole plot into motion.

Also, including someone who is by his side the whole time until she married to be the person who wrote the book. Clever even, and that Mary preferred to be anonymous until she knew that it could stand on its own. And well, setting the whole plot into motion.

I think that this was driven by the characters very well, Mary’s inability to keep the truth and eventually lead to her writing a similar version of what Alasdair did which lead to Frankenstein. And Alasdair’s own guilt and secrets, as well as curiosity with clockwork.

Ad for Cleménce and Olivier, both are rather interesting although I do find that the person who drives the story is Alasdair and at the same time Mary.

The plot is simple and developed in ways I never really expected it to, pretty unpredictable but knowing this premise, it isn’t just a retelling, it could be a story behind Frankenstein which clears up all nicely at the end.

The ending was rather good to me, hopeful and open. Often a personal favourite of mine if you ask me what I think of this. So, do I recommend this? Well if you love Gothic retelling, and a touch of steampunk while you’re looking at it.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Gear Girl

I really fell in love with this book somehow. About Eleanor slowly finding out about herself, the way she chose to adjust to her life. For me, I was glad that it wasn’t some over the top debate about whether mechanical people were better.

Here was where a slow story happened, about acceptance, how lives should be saved. And also, what could someone do to save another. This story I think is representative of that very fact.

Eleanor’s character is slowly developed, from the moment she finds out what she is. To adjusting to her new life, and the way that it is done is absolutely perfect. When she started considering Agatha her mother, it was subtle yet it felt seamless.

As for the romance, it influences the ending. It influences Eleanor. Percy is ill, and I think whatever happens to him from there isn’t all too hard to figure out. And the way that ending was delivered, it was poignant and middle ground. Eleanor did something to save the person she loves, and she paid it. The ending was perfection in my mind.

Although I would expect her to instead decide to live on, or perhaps use another method. The author decided to give me one of the most painful, yet bittersweet endings. I think it is rather fitting, Eleanor did not ask to be revived. But instead, she chose to use it to save another instead of selfishly living on all because she loves him too much.

As for the inventor who saved, finally someone who isn’t a mad scientist. He may have been obsessed with having a child, as did Agatha who desperately wanted one. But he never really felt absolutely mad, a raving lunatic. I appreciate the way it went down a unique route instead of the one we always knew. And Agatha, she was like the kind of mother you would trust an orphan to. She accepted this compromise as long as it was okay, and definitely selflessly loved Eleanor.

I think that this is something rather different, it deviates from the norm. The ending is pretty much bittersweet and one that I doubt I would forget, although not completely perfect but I was immersed in it for the way it was different from everything I have ever read.

Would I recommend? Yes, I would. It had been such a long time since I have liked a book well enough to give it more than three stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Clockwork Dynasty

Originally, the work came as quite difficult to really ease myself into. And it didn’t really change throughout the novel despite the excellent writing, I just didn’t feel that spark with the characters at all. Not a single one really clicked with me.

But the worldbuilding is intriguing with a lot of nods to mythological figures being altered, but I’m fine. We know so little about these figures so I’m generally a little more tolerating regarding them. Who’s to say it was different, not when they may or may not exist.

One thing I particularly liked about the novel was the way that it handled the steampunk, although it did feel a little dry at first.

Also, the plot was really intriguing and fascinating. Bringing both characters all around the world, ranging from China(however the exact city and province would have helped a little more, but since we don’t even know where Huangdi and Leizu lived, so that’s not really necessary), Seattle and Russia. In different time period as well, which was really what piqued my interest apart from the writing and worldbuilding.

The one thing I feel is lackluster is that I couldn’t really connect to the characters, especially initially when it was narrated by two characters using first person. There wasn’t much of any difference and the lack of voice to distinguish them made it really difficult to relate to them, hence making me unable to really relate and well, the characters were all more of a miss to me than a hit.

So, I guess that the characters were the point which I really found it a little hard. Although the writing, worldbuilding and plot is intriguing with enough twists and mysteries to keep you going. But, the characters just didn’t sit well with me, and that is my sole reason why I have to lower it. However, pick up this book and give it a shot, it might work better for you than it did for me.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an e-ARC copy.

The Clockwork Scarab 

This was rather okay. Though, sometimes the writing put me off in some ways. Like really put me off. The plot was decent, and well the characters quite flat. But I did like the mystery, and the possibility of having time travel together and steampunk. 

But it just seems a little messy in my mind. It really does seem rather messy when I put together everything, and that the mystery didn’t feel like a mystery to me. Just a set of deaths, that really didn’t have twists which blew my mind. 

Although both Mina and Evaline are decent characters. I can rather relate to both of them, and neither seem to be obsessed with getting married or constantly trying to prove that they are different. I’m fine with them just acknowledging and doing what’s required of them. 

As for Ms Irene Adler, I was half expecting something of her intelligence to be revealed. Like she could work out who was the Ankh in actual reality, or Mina having that moment where she revealed the Ankh for who she is. But really, I didn’t really get that sort of closure. A lot still remains a mystery, such as the motives to why the Ankh chose to do so or even why she killed so many people. 

And having Mina fail at some point made their more believable that she was still learning, and despite her lineage, she isn’t faultless. I really preferred her over Evaline Stoker, who lacked some personality really. It seems that all she really cared about was proving herself and finding the murderer. But I rather like her brother Bram. 

But really, the only letdown was the failure of really giving a good closure to the mystery. And then turning it to a rather usual route, bad guy threatens, they accept and go to the designated location. Although there was some sleuthing dine, but I was expecting something a little more clever, not having Evaline and Mina going their separate ways. And only coming together in times of need, and turning the situation into one that didn’t feel like a mystery anymore. 

Overall, my main issues was with the execution of the mystery. How the murderer was really handled. The rest was pretty decent. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5