Book Review – Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

I am an avid Steampunk fan.  It’s unique, it’s fresh, it adds elements of science, history, and supernatural all rolled into one.  Gail Carriger opened my eyes to this world with her Parasol Protectorate series.   After that I started scouring for books that were in the same genre, but not the same story.  When I got my new Kindle I started downloading freebies by the dozen.  The Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina was one of them and among the first that I read. 
Lady of Devices
Magnificent Devices Book One
London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . . (Shelley Adina)

Like most Victorian based Steampunk novels, people had certain expectations of women in society. They were to be married to a well off family, and of course run the household, provide heirs for their husband, make sure they saved face in public so as not to ruin their social reputation, and more.  Lady Claire, however, likes to be heard, use her brain, and delve into the science aspect of the world. 

Though she was born to privilege, her word is torn asunder after her father loses all of their money and then proceeds to kill himself – in the middle of what is basically Claire’s coming out party.

Family in ruin her mother moves to their home in the country, and Claire is left behind to wrap up a few things before following.  However, her life is quickly put in danger by a mob that believes her family owes them for the money they lost.  Out on the street and turned away from those she once thought of as friends, Claire’s misadventures don’t end there.  After being robbed, she sets out after those who took her last precious items, and finds a new family in them.

Over all, the story was good, it was a fun read, but I think the character development could have gone a little deeper.  The Mopsies were perhaps my favorite, and I’m hoping in the next installment Claire’s personality expands a bit.  She’s a well thought out character, but there’s still room for development, and I think perhaps she fell back into the lap of luxury a bit too easily, but we’ll see how it goes, as I fully intend to pick up the next installment.

Would I recommend this book for any Steampunk enthusiast?  Absolutely.  Though I think the audience is more geared towards women.  

The Lady of Devices gets three stars for me.  It was cut two stars because after Lady Claire went to such lengths to keep her identity a secret, it was very easily given away, and because I would have liked to see a bit more of the other characters as well.


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