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review 2019-10-25 16:55
Lady of Devices
Lady of Devices - Shelley Adina

This was a nice story about 17 yo Claire. Even though the world in which she lives is steam powered (airships, trains, etc) she is still constrained by being a woman. And everyone knows a woman's sole purpose is to get married, have kids, and make the menfolk's lives as nice as can be. She was the daughter of a viscount until her father's death (and now the sister to). She goes from having a roof over her head and other comforts to having nothing.
While I liked Claire, I was also annoyed with her for (IMO) her judgmental attitude towards the street children. Yes, she did take them under her wing and was teaching them how to read and write. But, she judged them for stealing (to survive). I thought it was hypocritical considering she was playing on making and selling her "devices" (and those devices I'm sure would not be used for innocuous purposes).

Halloween Bingo- free space

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review 2017-07-27 12:42
Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices Book 1)
Lady of Devices - Shelley Adina

From Amazon's book page:


Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices, Book 1):

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 . . . but sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .

I just finished reading this free e-book, and I must say I was positively surprised. Since I bought my Kindle Touch I have downloaded and started reading so many free books and most of them weren't good enough to finish. This turned out to be among the few that was well worth reading to the end. My main complaint is that the story is a little too short and seems to end sort of in the middle - not quite - there is a resolution of sorts - but it comes rather quickly and feels a bit sudden. Normally, I wouldn't buy the next book when the author leaves the reader hanging, but in this case, I might make an exception. As I mentioned above, there is a sort of ending, even if it's too sudden for my taste.

Claire is a likeable character. As the book progresses we get to know more likable characters, mainly young women. There are of course a few men - one sympathetic and another less so. Time will tell how they will develop. When the story begins Claire belongs to the upper class and is miserable that her mother won't consider letting her go to university. She is passionate about engineering and loves to drive a steam driven car, even though it's not considered 'ladylike'. Soon her circumstances change dramatically. Being a resourceful young woman, she handles her situation well and manages to save herself.


If this sounds like your kind of thing, visit Amazon as soon as you can. The book is still available for free if you hurry.

Source: www.amazon.com/Lady-Devices-steampunk-adventure-Magnificent-ebook/dp/B0053CYXS0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501145280&sr=1-1&keywords=lady+of+devices
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text 2015-10-23 16:00
Lady of Devices - Shelley Adina
Brilliant Devices - Shelley Adina
Her Own Devices - Shelley Adina
Magnificent Devices - Shelley Adina
A Lady of Spirit: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices Book 6) - Shelley Adina
A Lady of Resources - Shelley Adina
A Lady of Integrity: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices) (Volume 7) - Shelley Adina
A Gentleman of Means: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices) (Volume 8) - Shelley Adina

Looks like this is my first Fab Finds for October, mostly because I have been trying not to acquire quite so much lately (without much success). However, this week (and last) I've only been worried about collecting a single series: the Magnificent Devices series by Shelley Adina.


I heard about it from a "greatest steampunk books" list, though where that list came from I don't remember. It's a fun, lightweight series of adventures. They often stretch credulity-- they are plotted within an inch of their life-- but the characters are so easy to love, and the adventures are so fun, I couldn't help but get caught up in them. They do start to wear a little thin near the end, but I chalk this up to reading them so quickly and without other books in between, rather than any actual lowering in quality of the stories themselves. They have a nice feminist slant, too.


I bought them all digitally, the first four in a box set, 5 and 6 in a pair, and the last two individually. (The first standalone volume is actually free- I was expecting disappointment, and ended up buying all of them).

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text 2015-10-09 22:46
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
Her Own Devices - Shelley Adina

The covers for this series so far are very misleading. They are in almost total opposition to what is actually inside, which makes me sad. I think a lot of people are going to pick them up thinking they are romance and be disappointed, and a lot of people who would enjoy them won't give them a shot.

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review 2015-10-09 22:11
Review: Lady of Devices
Lady of Devices - Shelley Adina

I can’t in good conscience say that the plot of this tale is “believable.” But the pieces fall together so nicely that suspending my disbelief was surprisingly easy. I suppose this is because the setting and the characters do all the heavy lifting, with actual plot taking a backseat to the development of the world.


Claire Trevelyan, the titular Lady of Devices, goes from well-to-do finishing school graduate with hopes of attending university to the den mother of a gang of pickpockets within a matter of days. On the surface, this summary sounds silly, but Claire is a bright and resourceful heroine and makes you believe in her. I’m a little afraid some readers will accuse her of being a Mary Sue, but Adina does a good job of establishing Claire as someone who works for her successes, and isn’t just magically gifted because she is the heroine.


Lady occasionally reminded me of another female-centric steampunk series, Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate, though the similarities are probably due to sharing ground in a very small literary subgenre. Both works feature a practical, no-nonsense heroine who is somehow held back from joining the ranks of bored Victorian society wives, either due to physical or social limitations, but who proves to be incredibly resourceful and finds her own idiosyncratic way of doing things. In Carriger’s series, Alexia is relegated to the shelf of spinsterhood on account of her unconventional looks and her unwillingness to suffer fools. Adina’s Claire is also not a great beauty and is more interested in intellectual pursuits than is “proper” for a well-bred young lady. Like Alexia, Claire has a mother who is more concerned with appearances and the status quo than her daughter’s actual welfare. Both act out against the strictures of society as embodied by their mothers, and lead adventurous lives against the grain of feminine expectations. Were this actual Victorian fiction, Claire would be anachronistic, but for the purposes of steampunk adventure, she presses all the right buttons (just like Alexia before her).


Adina does a superb job blending alternate history—steam powered devices, electrical weapons—with a Victorian setting that feels very authentic. This is where the Magnificent Devices series deviates from the style of Carriger’s series, since Parasol Protectorate used steampunk only on a superficial level and was much more about the paranormal (which doesn’t feature at all in Devices). The nuances of social strata and the contrast between the classes feel very real; Adina obviously did her research, even if Claire’s ability to walk between the different spheres may stretch credulity a bit. Especially worth noting is the effective use of dialect; it’s a tricky thing in the best circumstances, but the cockney street slang of Claire’s gang rings true and never feels forced. The author may describe fashion in a little more detail than is necessary, but in a society so focused on decorum, it doesn’t detract from the overall effect.


Before this starts to sound like a complete gush-fest, I have to admit this first volume has some weaknesses, though none of them are deal breakers. The story has important plot moments, but much of the time it feels like set-up for the later entries in the series instead of a story all its own. There is also a quality to some of the events that make the stakes feel both real and unreal, with certain moments of tension being very effective, and others being too obviously a set-up for later events and thus having very little payoff. Also, the cover is misleading. It’s pretty in a generic kind of way, but doesn’t fit Claire’s get-down-to-business character at all.


Minor quibbles aside, this was a great popcorn read and helped me out of a fiction reading slump. I enjoyed it so much that I bought the next THREE volumes in the series.


(If any of this struck your fancy, this first volume is available for FREE at Amazon)

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