London, 1889: Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin's son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.
At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire's talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It's not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices...
When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his...if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals....
©2011 Shelley Adina (P)2013 Shelley Adina
A delightful story to listen to. The main character was very determined, very likable. The supporting characters were also well developed and became quite alive (except the mother seemed a bit too exaggerated). I'd recommend this, however, my one reservation is, I think that it was deliberately divided into four for sales. Where this book ended seemed more an end of Act I, than a complete end to a novel.If it was done for sales, well, so be it, but a fully fleshed out book costing a bit more would've most likely earned five stars from me.
The author has a delightful imagination and she's created a unique world. But Book One just ended, no resolution, too many issues left hanging. Since Harry Potter's seven books it's become a trend to do this, but in this case, The Lady of Devices would've been best served by being put in one single book. Just my opinon.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the "moppets" and how they were transformed.
All throughout, the author did a fine job "inventing" machines and giving just enough description so they could be imagined.
Her voice is smooth, and so very easy to listen to. The English accent makes the listener absolutely feel as if they are transported to Victorian England. She did a wonderful reading and I've written her name down to find more books.
I really do wish that Audible would combine all of the books in this series into one. It makes the purchasing easier and allows for the story to continue without interruption.
LADY OF DEVICES thoroughly captivated me. There's something truly other-worldly yet so completely natural about this blend of Victorian England (with all its social rules) and Steampunk alternative history. I found myself loathe to put down this book, as the plot twists and turns made it a definite page-turner. I found the plot to make perfect sense as the twists happened (foreshadowed beautifully)...but I never saw them coming. The secondary characters added so much charm and wit to the read, and I loved their contributions. Each one was completely purposeful.
I find myself eager to read the second book in the series and delve back into this wold Shelley Adina has created.
This first book in the series did a splendid job setting up the story world, introducing characters, allowing us to see Claire Trevelyan's personality and character. Claire was not the standard 'YA' heroine (thank you, Ms. Adina!). Claire may be barely out of the schoolroom (age 17), yet she is independent, competent, determined, resourceful, KIND, and more powerful than she realized. I found her to be immensely sympathetic and interesting. While this might technically be labeled a Coming of Age tale, it's by far the BEST one I've ever read. I'm pleased to find I've discovered this series late enough that there are MANY books available in the series...so there's no waiting for me-- they're ripe and ready for picking and savoring.
I can't compliment the narrator/voice actress enough. Fiona Hardingham was well-suited to the task; her dialects (so many!) were extraordinarily good. Whether a Lady, a street urchin, an American 'colonist', male or female, of any and every age, each and every voice was consistent with itself and WOWED me! I'll definitely try other books Ms. Hardingham has narrated. Kudos to both the author and the narrator.
Highly recommended to fans of historical novels (particularly Victorian England) and Steampunk.
An English Lady with a mind and will of her own finds herself destitute. Her admirable character and huge heart make this a must listen to novel... I promise you WILL be hooked! Can't wait to see what further adventures lie in store for the Lady of Devices!
Working towards retirement hopefully. I enjoy sci fi, horror, steampunk and some ya for good luck.
I enjoyed the depth and detail of the world. Sometimes too much information is like stuffing you get bloated. Not here the detail brought it alive for me helped me to imagine the world and setting.
Narrator's always make or break a audio book for me. This narrator just nailed the voices and time period. Well at least how I imagine the period. Her accent and voices for the children are awesome.
What a fun, light story! I completely enjoyed this Steampunk adventure! The cast of characters was very interesting and I was quickly caught up in the story. Fiona Hardingham did an outstanding job as narrator. I hope to see more of this series on Audible soon!
The story is set in London and is close enough considering Steam Punk is supposed to be slightly out of our current universe. The representation of the young ladies is OK but a bit hackneyed. It is very much an outsider's view of society girls and a typically idealized view of 'polite' girls.
The story does not go the way that it looks like it will, and it isn't surprising that a bright woman sometimes does stupid things. People are far too simplistically offended, we are occasionally treated to adults taking permanent dislike to children based on a single sentence. A bit too pat.
On the one hand the story is fantastic, as in unbelievable. But on the other it isn't quite supposed to be real Victorian society, so the differences are forgivable.
In the end the story is enjoyable but too short, half a book.
Within a few minutes of the start we hit the first Americanism and they come in every few minutes from then on. "she fit in"? The poor reader must have choked on this. She fits or she fitted. In Victorian England they may have used steam power but they knew their language. England does not have Sidewalks. Nor shingle roofs, even cheap homes had slate or stone roofs. Pocket book? Really> I have never heard that term in English English, but I am not certain. Britain did not grow maize, what Americans call corn. Corn in Britain meant wheat, cornfields were yellow dry grass. Every few minutes another Americanism. There are various "brit fic" communities, or the Little Details community on Livejournal that would be able to provide direction. The Americanisms really spoiled the effect and pushed my assessment to Fan Fic rather than serious and professional writing.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
The setup led me to believe that we were dealing with a strong-willed, steampunk lady with a penchant for building devices and blowing things up. I'm good with the idea. The world needs more heroines like that, and as such I expected to like this one more than I did. I didn't NOT like it, but I didn't really like it as much as I hoped either. I kept waiting for... more. I admit, I got spoiled with Morris and Ballantine's Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels in regards to female leads such as this. But then, those are high-powered steampunk adventure novels, and this one... not really an adventure regardless of what the cover billing says. Not yet, anyway.
As origin stories go, this one's believable. The credibility is there, with the explanation of her father's death and loss of fortune serving to boot our lady to the next phase of her life. I think the issue is one of pacing. There's plenty of character here, but beyond her father's death and the subsequent fallout, not much happens until about the last hour or so of the audiobook. It's like our heroine is so smart that she knows how to avoid the plot before becoming truly victimized by it. By the time she becomes the Lady of Devices pretty much in a single moment, the story seems pretty much over before it really gets going. And as to her personality, she's likable enough, but it seems like she's sandwiched between the layers. She's too unconventional for the high society life she started in, but she's too conventional to be a streetwise success. I commend her for wanting to take care of the kids and set them on a better path and all, but... well, the kids are part of why I'm not really invested. I would rather she spend more time building gadgets and blowing stuff up (preferably by design rather than by accident) than teaching kids basic arithmetic and how not to steal. There are some good ideas skirting the edges of the story here and there, especially in regards to the tech, which is always mandatory in a steampunk novel, but again... more is better.
I can only assume, given the short, quickly-read nature of these books, that now that the origin story is out of the way, the path is clear to tell bigger stories. Thing is, I didn't get that idea by the end of it either. The way is clear, but to bigger stories? Not really convinced. Only one way to know for sure, and I may circle back around for book 2 at some point simply because it is a quick read. I'm open to seeing the potential unfold for this one.
Fiona Hardingham did a wonderful job with the narration, and she's got a beautiful voice, a perfect match for what I'd imagine the Lady of Devices to sound like.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (teen historical fiction) - This is Book 1 in the Magnificent Devices series. It is probably a great book for teens but, let's face it, I'm not a teen and I bought it by mistake. It's well-written and beautifully performed, but the story is simple and fairly juvenile. It is based somewhere in England in the early days of steam engines. The main character, Claire, is a young lady of fine breeding who graduates from the English equivalent of high school. Then through a series of events, she finds herself on the streets, penniless, and taking care of a bunch of orphan children and surviving in the underworld. The characters are endearing, but the story just never had enough going on to interest my adult brain. The ending of the book is more like the beginning of a new alliance, so you will need to continue the series if you want to come to the conclusion. I'm stopping here.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator is female and has a lovely voice. I enjoyed listening to her read the story.
OVERALL - No sex or cursing and just a tiny bit of violence, so it's fine for teenagers. Just remember the story doesn't stand alone. I'd recommend for girls more than for guys because the main character is female. Adults need to skip this book.
I loved the Lady of Devices stories in print and looked forward to an audio version. By and large, the narrator does a decent job, and she has some nice voice differentiation for the various characters, but she does mispronounce some fairly common words very badly - Hors d'oeuvres had the s sounded, viscount wasn't vy-count, etc. They're just enough of a bobble to throw the listener out of the story.
A really fun story and not that predictable, so keeps you interested. It is an easy listen and goes quickly. Overall I enjoyed it.
A great introduction to a new series. One of the best things I have read in the last 10 years. Well worth a look (or a listen!). The production suits the glorious prose perfectly. Well done to all involved and more more more please!
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