Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1)

Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1) - Shelley Adina 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 DevicesLady 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.Read More