Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Quick Take: A Lady of Spirit (and the Magnificent Devices series)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 15, 2016

Before my first steampunk short story was published (in Terra Mechanica: A Steampunk Anthology – plug! plug!), I was trying to get an idea of the modern “lay of the land” in the steampunk literary field, and I came across the Magnificent Devices series by Shelly Adina. At the time, there were only four books in the series. I read the first one (which was available free on Kindle at the time) in a weekend, looking for a “Steampunk Adventure” series, and within the first couple of chapters I’d decided that I’d stumbled on Young Adult steampunk fiction geared more towards female readers. But I kept reading. And couldn’t stop. Before the weekend was complete, I’d purchased the collection of the first four books of the Magnificent Devices series.

Manliness be damned, these books were fun! They chronicled the adventures of Claire Trevelyan, a debutante with dreams of becoming an engineer, who finds herself impoverished, semi-homeless, and in charge of a street gang of young urchins. She ends up in deadly conflicts fighting off rival street gangs, air pirates, and an overbearing and ruthless fiance. All with fantastic Victorian manners and language. Great stuff!

It took me a while to continuing the series (and I understand book 10 is due out in a few weeks), because the next two were not about Claire. And dang it, I wanted more Claire! But two more novels in, I can say they have proven just as enjoyable.  These are all very short novels, which means they are quick reads that don’t overstay their welcome, but they also feel like they are roaring to an exciting conclusion while I’m still getting my bearings as a reader and wanting a little bit more “meat” to the story.

LadyOfSpiritThe sixth book is A Lady of Spirit, and it follows the adventures of Maggie, one of the “mopsies” from the first four books, now older and getting to know her (supposed) family along with her cousin. The first half of the book could almost be simple historical fiction, with just a few weird steampunk elements sitting in the background (like arriving in an airship). Maggie struggles to come to terms with her newly-discovered family, the Seacombes. Her grandparents were clearly unhappy with the scandalous details of her birth and have no desire to welcome her to the family. She soldiers on emotionally for the sake of her cousin, all the while feeling heartbroken and so forth.

And THEN there’s the smuggling ring, the submarines, and the attempted invasion of England and Prussia with giant steam-powered battle mecha/tank/gun fortresses, big underwater explosions and stuff. HECK YEAH!!!!!

So… um, yeah. Fun book in a fun series. While not my favorite of the series, I enjoyed it a great deal.

Filed Under: Books - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • Maklak said,

    OFFTOPIC: You could write a blog post about “indie stance” on buying programming tools and licences. Obviously a student who makes a small game for the lolz will value his money more than time and not bother with anything that’s not free. For a company with several employees it makes sense to spend thousands of dollars if it means saving time. Then there is anything in between. Sometimes you may get something and not uses it. Or try a demo version if availiable. Then there is the “not best on the market, but good enough”, especially if free and not burdened with licences.