Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Goodreads Blurb: This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.
This is a great book to try if you’ve never read steampunk. I loved it.
Lena is trying to find out who she is, or rather, what she might possibly be. She goes on a journey to try to find her father, who left when she was 5. She doesn’t really appeal to me as a strong female character. She whines a lot, and takes everything at face value without questioning anything. This definitely gets her in a few messes. Jimson is a scientific person. He doesn’t have any spiritual beliefs, and becomes a great friend for Lena. Mr. Beasley is probably my favorite character. He’s a retired doctor, but is very into science. He’s always looking for a way to make things better without using up all the resources, such as coal. He’s always so understanding, and tries to see the good in things.
The plot didn’t take off until halfway through the book. That doesn’t mean the story was lacking. The first half was imperative to get to know Lena and her thought process. You spend a lot of time wondering who you can trust: Thomas Saltre or Mr. Beasley. The author is able to create a great world that’s easy to visualize. You feel like you’re riding in the train with Lena and Jimson. You can also navigate the streets of Knob Knobster fairly easy. It’s a dreary town on the edge of a wild expanse.