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Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices) (edition 2011)

by Shelley Adina

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1891362,829 (4)17
Member:Rob_AC
Title:Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices)
Authors:Shelley Adina
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2011), Paperback, 202 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

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This is the first book in the Magnificent Devices series. Currently there are at least eight book planned for this series, with the eighth one releasing later in 2014. I really enjoyed this steampunk young adult read set in Victorian London.

I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very very well done. I highly recommend this on audiobook.

Claire Trevelyan is the daughter of a Viscount and her mother is trying her best to get her married off to a fine gentleman. However Claire would rather go to University and spend time talking to Wits about steam engines. Disaster strikes when Claire’s father goes bankrupt and dies. Claire’s mother and brother are forced to flee the city to escape angry investors, while Claire is left to deal with tying things up in the city. Claire sees this as an opportunity to take control of her own life.

There are a ton of interesting steampunk elements in this novel that I really enjoyed. This is a story that isn’t all that original; a young woman prefers science/knowledge over marriage and decides to go her own way...but it is the type of story I never tire of reading.

Claire is a wonderful balance of a proper lady and a young woman who wants to make her own way. She is at times pretty and soft, but also extremely determined, smart and stubborn. She’s one of my favorite types of heroines to read about. I love how she makes a family for herself and finds a place to call home even in the worst of situations.

This book mainly follows Claire as she deals with the aftermath of her family disaster and loss of place in society and starts to find her own way in life. I loved the steampunk elements, found Claire’s story to be very engaging, and really enjoyed the story overall.

There is a somewhat complicated love interest here. A gentleman who was interested in Lady Claire ends up being the same man who is financing the research of Andrew Malvern, a young inventor who wants to hire Claire as his secretary. It makes for a bit of a love triangle of sorts, although I will say the story definitely isn’t driven by romance there is some romance subtly woven in.

The story ties up nicely, but there are definitely more elements of the story that still need to be resolved.

Overall I really enjoyed this story and thought it was a very fun read. It is not a story that is all that creative, but it is fun and well done. If you enjoy steampunk novels I definitely recommend this book. The story is bit of a Pride and Prejudice meets steampunk kind of read. I definitely plan on listening to more audio books in the Magnificent Devices series! ( )
  krau0098 | Jul 6, 2014 |
A so-so steam punk story. Too short with no real ending. The writing was fairly good but the story was a bit drawn out given the short length. I enjoyed this book enough to keep reading but I am irritated that this book is essentially a teaser. I don't like how some indie authors break up their books into non-standalone issues thereby forcing the reader to spend money to read what should have been offered by the author. ( )
  honoliipali | Mar 21, 2014 |
Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices) By Shelley Adina

I purchased this and it's been in my kindle for a while and I'm not sure when I really planned to read it. I don't read a lot of steampunk so I won't claim expertise in that field. I do follow Genius Girl and I've read a handful of books touted as steampunk. This book seems to qualify neatly into that genre. Anyway, I just received my copy of The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War by Jaroslav Hasek and I'm about 150 pages into the 800 page dark comedy and satire of world war I. I've decided I needed a break and pulled out the Kindle and I'm glad I did because this was just the thing I needed; as a break from the kind of novel that requires my full attention and meticulous careful reading.

I was almost afraid this was going to be a bit too light, but I was delightfully surprised by the engaging story and mostly the engaging and energetic main character Lady Claire Trevelyan (The lady of devices). Many of today's novels would like to jump in and grab the reader and thrust me into the story with the jarring end of a fish hook; an experience every good reader should thoroughly enjoy. This one does not so much. It does start with a bang- the explosion Lady Trevelyan causes when trying to obtain the answer to a question her tutor saw fit not to give. After that we become acquainted with the society she lives in which is the typical Victorian type with the flowing skirts, laced corsets and bustles. The prim and proper young ladies who know their station in society. And, the ever dominating men who are expected to drive society forward into the next era.

The perfect world, where Lady Trevelyan could only feel over protected, stifled, and ignored while she's trying to assert herself and further her education towards a career. The earliest part of the novel is her constant attempt to stop the flow of a powerful river of social behavior that flows by itself carrying those around her down a predictable path. For some I suppose this could be considered a rather boring and mundane story. For me; I found it difficult to stop reading as I was caught in a similar flow of words and description that somehow had me reading this to myself in a rather stiff stoggy voice that may or may not have matched the mood the author intended.

Getting carried away that way would mark for me that this author is a grand story teller and I was never once disappointed by the flow and pace of the story as I made my way from cover to cover. Like some I was a bit perplexed by the perpetual motion being wasted on a cleaning robot but I could hardly mark this as strikingly anachronistic to a storyline that is in effect out of a genre that's expected to be anachronistic in nature. What is important is that the author's world is setting up rules for the technology that is dominant and that she is sticking to those rules and being consistent. And, frankly, from the none steampunk expert point of view, I'm not at all sure that steampunk lends itself easily to being pure science- fiction. So I'm not a stickler about being that pure here.

As to the romance it's here with the recognition that there will be several more novels in which to watch it grow. I'll grant that it is a bit short on romance but I'd be lost to reading this had the Lady gone in the shortness of a few hundred pages into the arms of just any man since it seems to be a bit outside of her character.

I will be the first to complain about the seeming flagrant mercantile use of ebooks to sell bits and pieces of serial at any price and I've never been afraid to mention it. I don't feel that this qualifies as that type of abuse because it is a novel length and what has in the past annoyed me the most is those shorter than short story segments that sell for 99 cents that lead to many more sold at anywhere up to and beyond 2.99 each. This book is well written and developed and the ending is quite satisfying while leaving me with the desire to know more about this character and I might add quite happy because there is more.

After the unfortunate events that lead to the end of their family fortune and her fathers death Lady Trevelyan is almost squashed by the gears of society. If not for a series of unfortunate yet somewhat fortunate events that occur as the the story takes off, she would have been left in that boring life from pages gone by. We next jump into a sort of twist on the Oliver Twist story that takes our character from high society to the dregs of society from which she musters the force of her character and forges into a new life. I honestly can't praise this book enough in some respects.

I've purchased the 4 pack of this which amounts to over 800 pages so it looks like I'll have something to act as a companion to Jaroslav's work and both authors couldn't be in better company. (That's purely my own wistful opinion.)

I'm certain most steampunk fans will enjoy these novels. Possibly romance novel lovers will enjoy them and some of the usual Sci-Fi Fantasy crowd would not be disappointed. I would say keep writing them Shelley, but I'll wait until I've gotten through the lions share and it looks like there's a fifth novel anyway.

Thanks for the good-read.
Magnificent story telling-with a satisfying though somewhat incomplete end.

J.L. Dobias ( )
  JLDobias | Nov 10, 2013 |
AAARGH!
Why do I always have to pay for books that are distributed for free in the US?
This makes me angry to no end.


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  sbinifera | Nov 8, 2013 |
Lady Claire, society daughter is approaching the end of her school career where all the important things a young lady needs to know have been passed on to her. Despite this, she’s also made the effort to actually learn something, much to the frustration of her teachers and certainly to the annoyance of her mother who is viewing the coming season with great anticipation. Education takes a back seat to dress fitting if Claire wishes to achieve the ultimate goal and secure herself a proper husband. Rather than Claire achieving her ultimate goal and go to university.

Of course, such ambitions become far more distant when disaster strikes the family. Impoverished and without her father, Claire sees her mother leave the city and is left to pack things up and join them – and rejoin the quest to find a proper husband.

Independent, with little supervision, Claire pursues her own goal of employment hoping to realise her own potential. But she quickly finds herself in a far worse position than she ever imagined possible – and must now make her way on the poorest streets of London, penniless as the Lady of Devices

Lady Claire is a Victorian society lady, the daughter of a Marquis of considerable wealth and influence. This is a common setting for Steampunk and my first test is always “does this feel right?” I want to be able to open the book and feel the Victoriana, when a new character is introduced, the theme should be set so that I picture her in a gown, not jeans and a tank top. I want the feel of the time and the place to be so evocative that there’s no doubt to the setting and no need to translate. And I want all that without massive amounts of clumsy info dumping.

This is one of those books that gets it right. Through dialogue, through actions, through carefully described settings, through attitudes and appropriate, non-overdone references we have a great sense of time and place that’s really immersive and fun.

And Claire is a fascinating character – someone who causes explosions in her “chemistry of the kitchen” class simply because the Professor won’t tell her WHY those compounds should not be mixed, she’s not satisfied with “just don’t.” Claire faces two major conflicts, the first – and one I hope will be developed in later books – is the conflict of Wits vs Bloods. The Wits being those who consider intelligence and knowledge to be important and the Bloods who consider breeding and lineage to be what matters. She is from a Blooded family, a family that wouldn’t dream of employment or involvement in such crass activities as science and engineering. Instead finance and politics are for the men, and finding a good husband and running a household are the women’s job.

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  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
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For Timon Esaias, with special
thanks to Spencer Bates
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To say that the explosion rocked the laboratory at St. Cecilia's Academy for Young Ladies might have overstated the case, but she was still never going to hear the end of it.
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If you like steampunk stories by Cherie Priest and Gail Carriger, you’ll love Shelley Adina’s Lady of Devices!

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 . . . 

[retrieved from Amazon 2/27/2012]
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If you like steampunk stories by Cherie Priest and Gail Carriger, you'll love Shelley Adina's Lady of Devices! 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 . . .… (more)

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