Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: "Curio" by Evangeline Denmark


Evangeline Denmark


Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.
By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.
But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.


One night, everything went wrong. First, an evil chemist comes to visit, Grey and Whit are caught breaking curfew, Grey’s family is attacked, and Grey is thrust into a different world filled with clockwork people. Her world is falling apart, but at least she has a purpose, if vague—to find “him” and bring him back. But clockwork world, Curio City, has its own problems and politics that she is soon thrown into. Will she manage to complete her quest and return home alive?

Evangeline Denmark’s Curio was a fascinating tale of revolution, magic, and romance. Set in two worlds with tyrannical governments, the characters begin to see just how wrong the systems are and step up to right their wrongs. And in the midst of the chaos and life-threatening danger, the characters start fall in love.

My favorite part of the novel was the story world. There were two different “worlds”—one in an alternate history (future?) of the United States and one filled with porcelain and clockwork people called Curio City. But Curio City is not a world as much as it is a prison. The plot splits between Grey’s side of the story in Curio City and Whit’s in the human world. There were times when I wondered what the point of investing in so many characters and putting so much of the story in this fake world, Curio, when the characters would travel back to the real one, but I have a feeling that the characters will travel back to it in future novels.

The plot was interesting. There were times when I could not put it down and times when it seemed to drag on. I cannot explain why it dragged, since the plot was so complex and moved along so quickly. Perhaps because, as I stated before, it was because I did not understand why the characters spent so much time in Curio when there were more problems in the real world. Whatever the case, I am still glad I read it and plan to read the next book.

The magic, well, I did not like the blood part of the blood magic. Just the idea of it grosses me out and seems wrong. But it makes complete sense in the context and was very well done. The Defenders and the Chemists…I cannot wait to see how their conflict will climax in coming novels.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who enjoy steampunk and young adult fiction.

I received a free copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 

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