Book Review: The Falling Machine

Oct
19
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Title: The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam #1)
Author: Andrew P. Mayer
Origins: My Local Library
Summary: [from GoodReads] In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime…

But twenty-year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a hero. Her opportunity arrives in tragedy when the leader of the Society of Paragons, New York’s greatest team of gentlemen adventurers, is murdered right before her eyes. To uncover the truth behind the assassination, Sarah joins forces with the amazing mechanical man known as The Automaton. Together they unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the Paragons that reveals the world of heroes and high-society is built on a crumbling foundation of greed and lies. When Sarah comes face to face with the megalomaniacal villain behind the murder, she must discover if she has the courage to sacrifice her life of privilege and save her clockwork friend.

My Review: I don’t remember which blogger posted the review that made me read this book, but whoever you are, thank you! This book blends steampunk seamlessly with a Batman style superhero tale. This is what I imagine Watchmen would be if it were set in the 1800’s (though I’ve never actually finished Watchmen, so that may be inaccurate).


The thing I liked best was our spunky heroine Sarah. Despite my love of all things steampunk and Victorian era, I have this sneaking suspicion that would be me. I’d be sneaking out at all hours, exasperated at the restrictions of the clothes I’d be forced to wear. And at the same time, I’d love it!


Tom was another favorite character. He was beautifully written, at times very mechanical and at others believably human. Asimov’s Laws of Robotics or not, I really want Tom and Sarah to end up together. They would be so cute!


And of course, as with any Steampunk there’s the believability factor. If the book is particularly well written or focusing on other facets of steampunk it’s not quite so important but here the entire story was based around the technology. The nice thing was that it was explained in a way that made sense, even for someone like me who has absolutely no head for science. (As a sidenote: Those of the scientific persuasion might find it a bit fantastical. I wouldn’t know the difference.)


A slight disclaimer: This is probably not the best book to start a love of Steampunk with. Look for something a little lighter like Westerfeld’s Leviathan series (wonderful in it’s own right but perhaps less startling to those unacquainted with the genre.) But if you’re already a lover of steampunk as I am, you will definitely want to check this one out!





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