Posts Categorized: victorian

Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Ah, I am seriously so interested and excited by this book. For folks who are unfamiliar with The Madman’s Daughter series by Megan Shepherd, the basic premise is as follows: what if Dr. Moreau (island, animal-human hybrids, H.G. Wells) had a daughter with the same scientific bent? The first book (Wendy has a positive review of that book here; Tonya liked it less) follows Juliet Moreau from London – where she’s been living and working, cleaning university laboratories and the like after her father disappeared following a scandal that besmirched their family name – to the fabled island her father’s currently set up shop on. Juliet’s anxious and excited about reuniting with her father, but her feelings become more troubled when she discovers that the rumors are true: not only is her father a vivisectionist, but he is crafting human beings from the parts of different animals. (Whom he names after characters from Shakespeare, because… Read more »

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Dickens Christmas Séance: event recap

Dickens Christmas Séance: event recap

I love doing very Christmassy types of things, but I never thought I’d be attending a Victorian literary séance. But when I saw the event hosted by the Pomona Historical Society and Pomona Library pop up on Facebook, I just couldn’t resist! I’m fascinated by the Victorians’ obsession with death and mysticism, particularly after reading Affinity and In the Shadow of the Blackbirds, and of course A Christmas Carol puts a whole new spin on ghosts and the holiday season. Two things you should know about me: 1. I absolutely believe in ghosts. 2. But I’m also a skeptic and well aware that a large percentage of supernatural phenomena are most likely hoaxes. Mr. Darling and I signed up for this as a lark with more intellectual curiosity than anything else, so it wasn’t until we were sitting in the library enjoying cookies and punch that it occurred to me… Read more »

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Monstrous Beauty: review

Monstrous Beauty: review

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama It was a woman–as pale and luminescent as a ghost, with swirling white hair. Ezra startled, dropping his pencil into the water. Her face snapped toward him. Her eyes were too large, clear green, and had horizontal, slit-shaped pupils, reminiscent of an octopus. Did your pulse quicken when you read that paragraph? Mine did! I had a feeling I was going to love this book, because it blends several different things that I love: mermaids, the nineteenth century, and ghosts. What I wasn’t prepared for was an unconventionally striking story that will definitely not appeal to someone looking for a typical YA paranormal book. I found this dark fairy tale to be wildly exciting and utterly gorgeous, however, and I think it will find its audience in readers who enjoy literary fiction or more mature YA. In the late 1800s, a mermaid named Syrenka makes… Read more »

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Clockwork Prince: review

Clockwork Prince: review

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2)by Cassandra Clare Have you ever pictured yourself wandering among the tombs at Westminster Abbey, marveling at the sheer wonder of being among the greatest literary figures in history? Sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray is taken to Poets’ Corner by someone who understands exactly what such an experience will mean to her, and this lovely little moment in the sequel to Clockwork Angel perfectly encapsulates everything I love about the Infernal Devices series. Tessa is a shapeshifting Shadowhunter who is becoming accustomed to her powers, but in the middle of all the magic and mystery in Victorian England, the relationships between Tessa, the enigmatic Will, and the thoughtful, sensitive Jem remain the very heart of the story. Following a rather, ahem, provocative prologue, the story really begins as the London Institute of Shadowhunters is given two weeks to find the evil Magister, who is still determined to gain… Read more »

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Dearly, Departed: review

Dearly, Departed: review

Dearly, Departed (Dearly #1)by Lia Habel Dearly, Departed is one of the most enjoyable steampunk novels I’ve ever read, as the author skillfully puts Victorian customs down in a futuristic setting and then throws the crazy addition of zombies into the mix! It is, unfortunately, also a very frustrating novel in many ways, mainly because it has major flaws that stand in the way of a really terrific story. In the year 2195, Nora Dearly is just coming out of a period of mourning for her father, who was a noted scientist, when her home is attacked by living corpses. She’s rescued by Captain Bram Griswold, a dashing young man who turns out to be not quite alive himself. There’s a difference between Bram’s brand of zombie, however, who have technically died but have retained their memories and personality, and those who are just mindless, violent cannibals. There are a… Read more »

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The Poisoned House: review

The Poisoned House: review

The Poisoned Houseby Michael Ford A haunted house, a forbidding lady, a master who has gone mad, and a servant girl caught up in the middle of the whole mess. If this premise appeals to you, there’s no doubt you’ll delight in this book. I’m a big fan of Victorian fiction, and the author does a superb job of making the era come alive and keeping the language and decorum pretty true to the period. Abigail Tamper is a 14-year-old servant at Greave Hall, where she’s lived all of her life. Her mother died under mysterious circumstances not long ago, and the troubled Master of the house seems to know more about her death than he will admit. Abi has few confidants among the other servants, and her only protector against the cruel Mrs. Cotten, who rules the household, is her childhood friend Samuel, who is the Master’s son who… Read more »

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