OMG, I love this book so much! It’s such a cool concept, the idea of writing an imaginary world where people mill about just the same. On top of that, the story is set at the turn of century. Also, also, there are so many cools gadgets (all fictional) and everything is steampunk, which I really love.
I’m super glad I got my hands on its ARC (thanks to Nobonita Chowdhury for her ARC circulation in Bangladesh and thus allowing Bangladeshi book bloggers a chance to read and review physical ARC as well), and now I’m extra happy of how the book turned out to be.
Now, without further ado, here’s my review breakdown:
The plot was super intriguing and refreshing. Reading the back cover blurb, I imagined something like the story of the Inkheart movie, where you could summon fictional characters into the real world. But as soon as I read the first few chapters, I realized how wrong I was. The story is about Elsa, who isn’t an Earthling but from a textual world created by those they call a Scriptologist, who create textual worlds they can venture without any problems. Elsa and her mother, Jumi, were living happily in the textual world of Veldana, until some earthlings invaded her world and kidnapped her mother. To rescue Jumi, Elsa sets out into the real world, where with the help of a mentor, she makes new friends who help her in her pursuit. These friends are all quirky and unique like her, social outcasts for being pazzerellones which is Italian for madcap, aka mad scientists, they are.
Anyway, the plot is super intriguing and awesome for fans of Cassandra Clare’s steampunk books, Kerri Maniscalco’s “Stalking Jack The Ripper” series and Gail Carriger’s “The Finishing School” series.
Some characters would receive a mixed feelings from me. Simply because they weren’t total cinnamon rolls, rather mixed with both good and bad traits.
As the protagonist, I really loved and related to her. She is also a brown skinned girl like me so she feels the disadvantage of being shoved to a white dominating society of 19th century Europe. Her tenacity and resilience make me adore her, and her cautious manner is super relatable. She’s a polymath, meaning talented in numerous pazzerellone skills.
I’m so glad to see girl friendship being featured in this book. More than the romance, the friendship and gangship was super adorable. At first, Porzia’s snoopy and bossy nature made me annoyed at her, but then her changed behavior toward Elsa changed my mind too. Their friendship was adoring and I really hope the next book will feature more such moments.
I liked and hated this character a lot throughout the book. His POV I somehow could not relate to much, though there was plenty of causes to relate to. He is the love interest, and though he loved Elsa, his questionable manners threw him from my grace.
I simply loved him! He’s so amazing. An alchemist, he’s super cute and I often wished for him to be Elsa’s love interest, not Leo. His bromance with Leo was adoring as well.
The book’s concept was super intriguing and cool. I really loved it. Set in a steampunk setting and exotic European places (yes, I’m Asian so Europe is exotic to me, okay!). On top of that, there were some really really unique and cool events and gadgets throughout the book that should interest you enough to pick it up. The concept of writing a world gone wrong, as well as book portals and all made me super happy and satisfied.
04. Some mistakes:
Yes, though this book was super interesting, there was some factual errors. For example, this story was set in 1891, a time long before the 1920s when the usage of “okay” began. Also, the word “muck” seemed rather out of place to me for a girl from the 19th century. Even though she was not from this earth, she was given earthly upbringing in her textual world. So therefore, perhaps the author should have done some research on the vocabulary of the late 19th century.
Overall, I really loved and adored this book. I’ll definitely pick up the sequel. Author Gwendolyn Clare is a fantastic writer.
Thank you, Nobonita Chowdhury, for running the ARC circulation in Bangladesh, and thus allowing me access to this super interesting book. Follow her reviews here.
Also, if you are a book blogger residing in Bangladesh and want to join this circulation, join our group.