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  • Enjoyable Steampunk Novel

    I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review. I rated this 4 out of 5 Stars. A steampunk novel set in the early 1860’s, The Brass Giant by Brooke Johnson is an enjoyable mid length story with colorful characters, sharp dialogue, a bit of mystery and a touch of romance. While a book dealing with mechanics and machinery, Ms. Johnson creates a world that is fairly easy to understand, even for those of us not mechanically inclined. In addition Ms. Johnson tackles some of society’s issues of the time: poverty, the lack of women’s rights and quality education being denied to the poor. If you’re looking for something a little different in your historical reading, you’re going to want to give this book a try. Naturally intelligent and mechanically gifted, Petra Wade wants nothing more than to be an engineer and become a member of “The Guild”, something denied to her due to the misfortune of being born a girl. Donning a disguise, dressed as a man and using her brother’s first name, Petra attempts to bluff her way into the university but is unable to enroll due to a lack of money and lack of a transcript. Continuing to work as a shop girl, Petra works on any machine she can get her hands on and refuses to give up on her dream. Especially after she meets Emmerich Goss, a new member of “The Guild” who recognizes her from her attempt to gain entrance into the university, who needs help designing a new clockwork for a top-secret automaton and turns to Petra for help. Ms. Johnson does a good job developing both Petra and Emmerich’s characters right from the start. I was able to connect with both characters and understood Petra’s anger at the injustice of being denied an education and “career” as an engineer due to her gender. Ms. Johnson also does a good job showing how the class separation and financial struggles of the day kept many gifted people from being able to pursue their dreams. The friendship and mutual respect that grows between Petra and Emmerich is based on their shared interests and a desire for self-improvement. They in essence fell for each other’s brain first. The secondary characters are well developed and made some very interesting contributions to the story. I especially liked Mr. Sticket, Petra’s boss at the shop, who was also her secret teacher and who believed in Petra’s talent. While “The Guild” was originally presented as the villain, as it were, of the story, it turns out that there are several different factions at play and most of them don’t have good intentions. Will Petra be able to help Emmerich design the clockwork required for the new automaton? Will their budding romance get in the way of Petra realizing her dreams? You’ll have to read The Brass Giant to find out. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in this series.

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