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!