Laurie’s been pushing this book at me for some time now. Quite some time. Now I’m done reading and honestly? I’m kicking myself for not getting to it sooner. I’ve already ordered Her own Devices and Magnificent Devices. The fourth book, Brilliant Devices was released in February this year, and is on my To Buy List. (Which is long… What? Don’t tell me you’re surprised?!)
Lady of Devices is a steampunk adventure, historical novel. I got caught off guard on how amazing Shelley’s world is. Steampunk isn’t always for me, because I get frustrated by some of the details on the mechanical machines some authors love to pour out into their books. Sometimes I can’t picture the thing in front of me, other times, I get lost in the description, trying to translate what the author is telling me. This was, however not a problem here. I could easily understand the descriptions and they didn’t bore me in any way. So, either Shelley Adina is just a fabulous writer or my English has improved.. Naah. It can only be Shelley’s amazing and beautiful writing. This book started out as her Thesis for her Master’s of Fine Art in creative writing, and it shows.
Seventeen-year-old Lady Claire Trevelyan isn’t your ordinary girl. She’s just graduated, the Season is beginning, her mother is eager to get her married off, (to someone presentable, of course), but all that is a minor thing for Claire. All she wants is to concentrate on her beloved engines. They fascinate her and she would rather spend her time on something useful rather than wondering how to dress and attract the right man.
Unfortunately, an financial catastrophe occurs. Her father was involved in what today would be close to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, an event called the Arabian Bubble. The effects of her Father’s failings and his suicide, leave Claire and her baby brother without protection and the family is devastated. Claire’s mother insists they should go to their estate out in the country instead of staying in London, to regroup and to keep looking for a husband for Claire. In fact, her mother sees this as the only viable solution to save the family.
The problem is, Claire knows that is no longer an option. In their world, who would want to marry a girl with no money, women are supposed to come with dowry’s so their husbands can control their money, so she stays behind in London to get the last of their affairs in order while her mother and brother go to their estate. In reality, Claire stays to find a job and a hope of that she, in time, will be able to go to the university.
But Fate has something entirely different in mind for Claire and soon she finds herself in a dangerous, yet exciting, new environment, surrounded by strangers, trying to keep her wits about her, because in the end; it all comes down to life and death.
I enjoyed this read so much. Shelley described Claire’s predicament so beautifully and heartbreakingly, I couldn’t put the book down. It was amazing to see how Claire took the worst from the situation she found herself in and turned it around, using it to her advantage.
Claire was raised to be a fine lady, her mother has taught her everything she should know about behaving like a “Lady.” Even when in horrific situations, Claire conducts herself with dignity and grace. She is not however interested in getting married to someone to save the family coffers. She wants an education, a career, a job. When the opportunity to change her life is presented, she doesn’t hesitate. No, she grabs on with both hands, refusing to let go, because damn it – she believes in herself and she believes she deserves it. I admire her courage to stand up for herself, to take matters in her own hands and to make a difference.
I’m curious about the rest of her new gang of friends; Mr. Snouts, Maggie, Lizzie, Jake and Tigg and I can’t wait for my copies of the next books to arrive. (Where is that mailman?!)
If you like steampunk, fantasy or just looking for your next great series, this is definitely the one to grab. Just make sure you settle in somewhere comfy because once you start reading, you don’t want to stop.