#BOOKREVIEW BY @LRWLEE OF NYSSA GLASS AND THE HOUSE OF MIRRORS

NyssaGlassCoverCreative. Engaging. Well written. These adjectives summarize well the fun steampunk novel, Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H. L. Burke.

SUMMARY (From back):  Nyssa Glass is a reformed cat burglar turned electrician’s apprentice, settled into a life repairing videophones and radio-sets. However, when her past comes calling, she finds herself forced into one last job. No one has entered Professor Dalhart’s secluded mansion in almost a decade, at least not and returned to tell the tale. If Nyssa wants to ensure her freedom, she’ll brave the booby trapped halls and mechanized maids. Nyssa has skills, but this house has more than its share of secrets. As she steps into the cobwebbed halls lined with dusty mirrors, she has to wonder. Is the House of Mirrors really abandoned?

WHAT I THOUGHT: I’ve never read anything by H. L. Burke before but when she offered her latest release to me for an honest review, I thought I’d check it out and I’m glad I did, for this fun adventure did not disappoint.

I love steampunk for the creativity authors show re: inventions in the Victorian era that could have been. This novel captured Burke’s vivid imagination as we find a house full of mirrors that feed data into a central computer. I love the imagery, for mirrors not only reflect ourselves, but more importantly, give sight and that’s the roll the host of mirrors throughout the old abandoned manor serve. In fact, after investigation, they reveal that the manor is not deserted at all. But what manner of beings  does Nyssa, our protagonist, find inhabit the place? Now that is the question…and it won’t be what you expect, trust me, for it proved a great plot twist when I found out.

The characters were well done as well. Our primary character, Nyssa Glass, is a spunky teen thrust into a situation not of her making. But this girl, who has a past she is trying to escape, proves quite the curious heroine as she befriends the house’s computer. I appreciated her resolve as well as ingenuity as she encounters obstacle after obstacle, but like McGyver, figures out a way through. If I had a complaint with the character it would be Nyssa’s seeming lacks of response to a horrific murder she witnesses as well as lack of an emotional response to who/what she finds  in the house. When I got to several instances where I would have totally freaked, Nyssa puts on a stiff upper lip of sorts and under reacts. That’s not a big detraction from the narrative for she is very much an analytical, figure-things-out kind of character.

I also loved the house computer that she meets early on. The personality and humor it introduces are steampunk at its best and enhances the story.  If the protagonist isn’t reason enough, read this book for the computer, for we find out it’s more than just your average machine..and yet another great plot twist 🙂

Overall, I give this 4.5 stars!

Buy Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors (at Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.

#BookReview by @LRWLee of Etiquette and Espionage

EtiquetteandespionagePink Panther meets Monty Python–that’s how I describe this fun YA steampunk novel, Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series Book 1) by Gail Carriger

SUMMARY (from back): It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

 Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Steampunk is always a fun read for me because authors invent so many steam-powered gadgets that folks back in Victorian times only wished they had, for all the time and effort they would have saved. But Carriger displayed more creativity than many as she built this world starting with her mechanimals (mechanical animals), a finishing school that floats as a dirigible, mechanical servants on tracks that keep students in line, and more.

The first hint I had that I was in for a treat was the character names–Sophronia, Mrs. Barnaclegoose, Mrs. Temminnick, Diminty Ann Plumleigh-Teignmott, Pillover, Monique Pelouse, Bumbersnoot, Soap, and more. She also included flywaymen (airbourne bandits) to add conflict.

I also fell in love with the language the author employed–long, sophisticated words retired from common usage with much gratitude–some examples: a private conveyance (car), deportment, articulated hassock, affronted, flabbergasted, and so many more I’d love to expound but lack the space. A steampunk novel requires language such as this to effectively carry the genre and Carriger did a splendid job (LOL, I couldn’t resist). But my use of “splendid” brings up another point that I loved about this story: the fact that as I kept reading, I almost wanted to start speaking like the characters…too fun 🙂

The story begins with Sophronia’s misadventure with a dumbwaiter to evesdrop on a conversation and continues through a variety of jaunts as she comes to understand one of the students possesses a valuable object the bad guys (flywaymen) are willing to go to great lengths to steal. As an author, I weave in humor. for I know readers love to laugh. Well, clearly Carriger recognizes that as well, for much humor ensues as the author has her characters observe the absurd decorum of Victorian times. Imagine, a prop-per lady in prop-perapparal, fighting bandits with all manner of propriety, fainting properly (always backward, never forward), or fluttering ones eyes in a correct manner so as to distract the opposite sex.

This was a fun tale and worth continuing on to book 2, Curtsies & Conspiracies, in the Finishing School Series. I give this 4.5 stars.

Get Etiquette & Espionage (at Amazon)

_______________________________________________________

Final_395x391

Review by YA fantasy author L. R. W. Lee
Website: LRWLee.com
Twitter: @lrwlee
FB: LRWLee Author
Blog: blog.LRWLee.com

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the award winning Prequel and Book one in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age epic fantasy series.