Didn’t Like It
“This one was hard for me to really get into and took a long time to actually read. Very little character development in the book and the development that did take place seemed vague and aloof. Not direct. Had a difficult time suspending my belief because of the future almost dystopic feel of...”see full review » see other reviews »
“An interesting if somewhat confusing book. It jumps from different points of view of the different characters (going first person for some, third for others) and even different tenses (past and present). Makes for a bit of "jerky" reading.
The story is of a circus run by Boss who has magical powers to give her performers "bones" made of copper. It all takes place after war has decimated the world and only little "city-states" are left.
Grim yet intriguing. It warrants a second reading because if you don't pay close enough attention at the beginning your not too sure how all the relationships fit together.”
“Neatly straddling the line between New Weird and Steampunk, this book has a lot to offer those who liked The Night Circus but wished that either TNC was shorter, or had a somewhat more readily apparent plot.
The circus of marvels contained in this book is not powered by magic - not entirely, anyway - and it's more of an actual circus, with performers rather than an exhibition of magical prowess. Unlike the Night Circus, which is a wonder-filled, beautifully powered attraction with a dark purpose in an otherwise mundane world, the Circus Tresaulti is a full of tragically dark wonders powered by a ambivalent power in a bleak and dismal world.
Got the differences?
There is a certain flavor of the post-apocalyptic (mostly around the parts where the author mentions that the world more or less *ended* and is now destroying and rebirthing itself as petty powers struggle for dominance) and the Steampunk aspect is readily apparent. The creator of the circus, known only as Boss, has awoken some strange power to animate and resurrect people that she has partially rebuilt with metal pieces. This nebulous power is never really explained, but in this shattered husk of a world, it doesn't really need to be.
The performers of the circus all have their little tales of woe or strife, and as the overall plot is opened, each of the acts and their individual performers are exposed a little more to the reader, creating a story within a story, intertwining the performers' arrivals with key points in the main plot.
Giving the impetus for conflict within the circus are a pair of now-unused but never forgotten mechanical wings, which may or may not commune with the dead, and may or may not drive their wearer to madness, despite singing heavenly music as they fly and allowing the wearer to escape the burdensome confines of the ruined Earth, if just for a few minutes at a time. There is a whole backstory with these gorgeously sinister wings, explained in pieces thoroughly throughout the story, and when they finally get their chance to shine again, it feels *right*.
I think you could probably classify this book as Young Adult, but the structure and language might be a struggle for younger YA readers, and the bleak and sometimes disturbing imagery might be troubling for others. This is a dark book, make no mistake, and even though the ending is more or less positive, it doesn't entirely wipe away the lingering overall feeling of desperation and despair.
Part mystery, part steam punk fable, and all circus, Mechanique is the story of a mysterious travelling circus in which half the performers are half machine and nothing is quite what it seems. If you loved Son of a Circus, Water for Elephants, or The Night Circus, well then you've probably already bought Mechanique. If not, click on the links above to order it now!
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley.com. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
“I just finished "Mechanique - A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti" by Genevieve Valentine. I enjoyed this book. It was rather dark and depressing. If you are interested in scientific accuracy, um, this might not be your best bet. As noted in the attached review, sort of a mashup of steampunk romance, fantasy and a bit more. I must admit skimming a bit near the end. Could just be my current mood ”Gary M wrote this review Monday, May 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Beautifully written steampunk styled story taking place in a post-apocalyptic world. ”Stevie Ann wrote this review Thursday, March 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“"hard" steampunk without Victorian whimsy. I wish the book was longer!”Elizabeth F wrote this review Tuesday, March 27, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Beautiful and dark, stylistically complex, but once I understood the rhythm of the book, it was incredible.
Reread again, still incredible. One of my absolute favorites.”
“Excellent post-apocalypse steampunk circus tale. Difficult to believe this is a first novel.”LuftWaffle wrote this review Wednesday, December 7, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This one was hard for me to really get into and took a long time to actually read. Very little character development in the book and the development that did take place seemed vague and aloof. Not direct. Had a difficult time suspending my belief because of the future almost dystopic feel of the society created by Valentine. Their were some interesting concepts, especially attaching your self to some can expand your life span dramatically (which in reality is probably true), but for the the bad far outweighed the good in this one.”John B wrote this review Friday, November 11, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No