by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Release Date: May 1st 2012
Book Jacket Summary
This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena's father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.
I highly enjoyed this one! This is what I am looking for when I read a fantasy/steampunk/alternative history book. As you well know I am a bit obsessed with books that take place in a Victorian/Frontier setting. There is just something romantic about traveling by coach or train.
Lena is considered very odd because of her extremely long fingers and toes. She has an extra joint on both making shoes and gloves hard to find without custom order. Her Nana blames her father, who ran off when Tessa was five, for giving her Goblinism. Nana tells Lena that she is evil and will go bad. Her mother does love her but is weaker willed than her own mother. Lena grows up believing that she has no soul and will ultimately show the world that she is bad.
Lena does not always make the best choices but it is understandable because she is desperate for acceptance and love. Lena travels to a land called Scree to find her father and find out who she really is; a human or a goblin. She makes a “friend” of the local Marshall, Thomas, in Scree but he is asking her to spy on a Mr. Beasley and find incriminating evidence that he is helping Peculiars. Thomas Saltre has his own agenda and uses Lena to get his way. He is constantly showing her signs of affection but you know how he really feels about Peculiars. She had already met Mr. Beasley’s new librarian, Jimson, on the train ride to Scree and stuck a genuine friendship. Jimson is a genuine sweetie and I really like his character! He is smart and makes the best of all the situations he is thrown into with his association with Lena and Mr. Beasley. Lena is readily accepted into the household and she feels guilt for spying. I won’t tell you anymore because it is such a good book!
The book incorporates an alternate history of the American frontier with a bit of Steampunk thrown in. It reminded me of the Frontier Magic Series by Patricia C. Wrede but it has a faster pace and a bit more action. Plus there is a dirigible! Sometimes I just want to shake Lena and tell her that she is being an idiot but at the same time I understand her need to be loved. I just wished she choose the right person from the start. However, she does grow up and becomes a strong character and make amends to the people she has hurt. Overall I would recommend this one to anyone who likes fantasy or Steampunk. Hope there are more books that incorporate the world of Scree. McQuerry has really struck a cord with me and I hope that Lena, Jimson, and Mr. Beasley get another book!
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1) by Kady Cross
Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, #1) by Patricia C. Wrede