Book Review: Mr. Gearhart, Emily Owen

Book Review: Mr. Gearhart, Abernathy Series Book 3, Emily Owen

Mr. Gearhart, Emily Owen

Steampunk/Fantasy: Mr. Gearhart, Abernathy Series Book 3, Emily Owen

 

Oh how I love to read steampunk novels! There is just something delightful about the “what if” in these alternate histories. Often written with a light touch, anachronistic technology dropped into an earlier time period gives plenty of room for humor as well as drama.

 

George and Douglas Abernathy got their start as watchmakers, working in their father’s shop. They took that skill and began making animatronic creatures. George’s technical genius combined with Douglas’s aesthetic sense meant that their lions looked and moved and roared like lions, their birds could sing and fly, and their musician could not only play music but compose it as well. The secret to their success was that their creations had “brains”; they were AI before AI was cool.

 

Along with their sister Molly, herself a genius in plant genetics (stay with me), they live in a manor bequeathed to them by a distant relative. There they work on their various projects: Douglas creating airships, George creating new and better and smarter androids, and Molly cross-pollinating plants that (among other things) can bear fruit that looks like oranges but inside the rind hides a surprising variety–pears, peaches, and other fruits.

 

The Abernathys are quirky and individual. Molly finds that long exposure to plant poisons in small doses has made her relatively immune–but also opens a door to a much darker side of her personality. Douglas longs for an ordinary life. He is engaged, although his fiancee does not like his creations and her domineering father insists that Douglas work for him. George is reclusive and antisocial. Spending long hours in his basement laboratory, he engages in secret experiments, trying to increase the intelligence and self-awareness of his thinking machines. As we see, his experiments are disturbingly successful.

 

I like to think that Emily Owen has a lot of fun writing these novels. I certainly have fun reading them. Imagining Victorian Londoners flying in airships, communicating via texting, and having robotic companions, appeals to me greatly. Combine that with an interesting (albeit somewhat predictable) plot and characters that make you cheer and cringe–sometimes at the same time–and you have a wonderful book to take to the beach or to read in front of a fireplace. If you are very lucky, you may even have a robotic dog at your feet and a robotic servant to tend the fire.

 

Our thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things for our copy of Mr. Gearhart, given so we could write an honest review as part of this blog tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

 

One final note: we sincerely apologize for the lateness of this review. We had it written and ready to post, and then our Google Drive ran amok and ate the review. Not the most enjoyable of experiences.

 

Mr. Gearhart, Emily Owen

Book Review: Mr. Gearhart, Abernathy Series Book 3, Emily Owen

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