Monday, March 16, 2009

The Engine's Child by Holly Phillips

It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy, so I was jonesin’, and The Engine’s Child seemed like a good bet. Awards. Praise. All that.*

That praise is well deserved. Holly Phillips creates a remarkably intricate society and land. Their society is at a breaking point; revolution stirs.

Our cast of characters includes: Moth, a slum orphan who's been sponsored into the world of priests and scholars; Lady Vashmarna, a noblewoman who has big plans that include Moth; and Lord Ghar, a nobleman who has designs of his own.

I only have two complaints about this book. First, and most important, the world and civilization is so complex that I had a hard time getting into it: language, magic, machinery, politics, political history, religions, and so on. I had a really hard time figuring out whether the machinery was mechanical as we understand it, magical, or some combination. (It’s a combination, by the way.) Thank goodness for the glossary of terms in the back.

My second complaint is that the events were mostly expected; nothing surprised me. Normally, the lack of surprises would bother me a lot more—but the setting is that fantastic.

So, yes, I look forward to reading more of Phillips's work. And I would be neither surprised nor disappointed to hear that this is actually the first in a series.

*Except the title. I really am not crazy about the title.

Thanks to Ballantine Books for sending me a review copy!


Liviania said...

Sounds kinda cool. The fantasy book I'm reading now first put me off because I could barely keep up with the terminology and customs at first.

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Zibilee said...

This sounds kind of interesting, although I have had problems with the excessive world building in this type of literature before. I might take a chance on it anyway. I really like the cover.