Author – Genevieve Valentine
Publisher – Prime Books
Genre: Science Fiction (Steampunk)
Hi Dear Writers
For those who haven’t heard of steampunk, or haven’t yet plunged yourself in the goggle sporting, gearwork spooling, steam powered subgenre that is all about strapping Queen Victoria to a jetpack then I heartily recommend you dip your toes in it with Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, because nothing says sexy like French words and colons in a title.
Realistically now this book is good; usually now this is where a reviewer will give a short synopsis of the plot stopping just short revealing the ending like a tantalizing treat the pet dog hasn’t begged for yet. But a more tantalizing way of making you read it is the premise: Circus performers made up of veterans, drifters, criminals, are given copper enhancements from extra muscles to wings perform from town to town in a post-war world, avoiding the new government. And if that doesn’t at least make piqued enough to Google it then I’m going to have to call a ambulance as I rifle through your pockets for spare change because you are most likely brain dead.
Character wise, you are not going to forget a man made out of more orchestra than flesh, or the dead man who could fly who lives on in the damaged psyche of the entire circus. Yet it’s one of the less flashy characters Elena, a trapeze artist, who is the bitchiest bitch that ever bitched her away through this bitching novel that is one of the greatest ascendancies in characters I have ever read. For we always hate that cold bitch, who you may never(hopefully) personally now but who never smiles, only apathetic sneers or glazed looks of entitlement and who bitches at you for getting in the bus like everybody else, and we hate her all the more when you’re wrong and she’s right, you did cut in line.
But what truly carries the day is the sharpness of the language; it’s so sharp that stepping on broken glass barefoot would be considered a softer alternative to bleeding to death. There is no flowery dialogue no eloquent scenes that would take Fitzgerald’s breathe away, rather it beats Fitzgerald with a lead pipe and let’s Hemmingway take over with sentences so simple yet poignant you could spend the next several hours with a wastebasket full of crumpled scribbles and screaming at your fingers for why they can’t replicate such emotion.
Okay, okay this book isn’t perfect, and the ending is as cliché as the writing is sharp. Like the JK Rowling’s way of delivering the final emotional payoff by oh-just-kill-off-characters-nilly-willy-to-supplement-cliché-big-battle kind of way, it’s running on its own fumes at the end. But by then you’ll be so blown away by the writing and the premise that it it’s easily digestible like a slice of chocolate cake that was a little dry at the end. You’re not going to be licking through your teeth for that final tasty morsel, but as a whole you’ll still be left with pleasant, if a little painful, memories.
A definite recommend 🙂
By Joshua P’ng, A North York Writer