The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reader (Releases on June 9th!)
Synopsis: The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.
Sylvester Carthage, illusionist, and engineer has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.
To save their show, Carthage & Huxley stake everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, the Menagerie’s bid at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians — but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.
Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.
4 stars. The Electrical Menagerie was a fantastical adventure reminiscent of The Greatest Showman and Caraval. It was a whimsical journey through the fame, danger, and magic of the show business on the Celestial Isles. I haven’t really been a fan of the steampunk genre in the past, but this book really changed my views on it. It was a fun, fast-paced read that got my attention right from the Prologue. I really love the writing style- it’s descriptive, it’s imaginative, and it makes you feel like you are right in the action. All of the plot twists caught me by surprise and the murder mystery side of the story had me interested and guessing, and the conclusion was thrilling and satisfying, leaving room for future stories but not a cliffhanger.
The book is filled with well-developed characters that you can easily relate to. They are well-thought out and have seemingly real emotions and thoughts. Carthage and Huxley, the main characters, are so different, yet their friendship is very real.
The world was also extremely well developed. I could imagine everything so well, but it wasn’t too wordy or dense. Floating islands, stars that orbit the planet, space trains, holopapers, and magical electricals.
I don’t really have much to complain about with this book. Perhaps some of the tricks and shows could have been explained just a little better, and the backstories of some of the minor characters could have been elaborated on just a little more, but other than that, there isn’t anything to complain about.
Amazing storytelling, fleshed-out characters, and a mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat- it makes for a fascinating tale and a series that I am looking forward to seeing more in the future!
Note: I was provided with a free advanced review copy of this book. This does not affect the content of my review.
Until June 13, you can enter to win a Celestial Isles Prize Pack from the author. This includes: “High Victorian” luxury playing cards, a handmade galaxy mug, a Science and Engineering themed notebook set, and a tin of Electrical Menagerie themed tea! (US only.) Click on this link and enter to win!