One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.
After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.
Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own.
Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
This book is wonderful. It’s full of creative trinkets, adventure, mystery, hope, and the writing is lovely! I was hooked from the beginning, lost in the delicate descriptions of steampunk creations; metal birds that are sensory to guard the gates, an elephant, a living cycle with wings, the Illuminator! It had a sense of magic, science, and creative imagination. I could picture everything, and I love how imaginative the author was with her descriptions because it made everything seem more elegant and admired. In short, the descriptions weren’t just descriptions, they were the entire story entwined with the narrative to make everything fit; a brand new puzzle finished, fun to put together.
“Frantic, the carny pulls back a tusk, and the mechanical beauty trumpets, sounding a little bit tinny, yet magically –elephant! Its mouth opens wide, showing off a ruby-crested tongue and a row of splendid ivory teeth.” (1%)
“Father’s promised to fix me. And he will. As soon as he perfects the machine.” (1%)
While the book is about how Eyelet searches for her father’s machine, the illuminator, it has a sense of adventure. She’s running from dangerous people and instead of hiding, she goes after her father’s machine and jumps on a stranger’s carriage when she sees he has it! And she hangs on, too. She meets Urlick, a man with pink eyes! And with him, she sets out to find the mystery of the machine in hopes of curing herself, and a few other things. And with this sense of adventure, mystery plays a hand. What happened during the black out, what happened to the machine after it was sold off, what is behind the strange discoveries? Where do the mad go? What happens when you’re cast out? What will become of Eyelet if they ever find out her secret?
“I remember the looks on their faces in the windows, the bone-jarring pitch of their screams.” (5%)
I’m not a big fan of romance. Action is more my thing, full of battles and blood shed and crazy adrenaline. A lot of times I like the romance in books, maybe enjoy it a little. But there are rare cases where I adore the romance, where I see the connection and everything feels right and I want more of it because I love it. This is one of those rare cases. The romance is slow coming, a gradual connection between the two, and even after they acknowledge it, they don’t get lost in the fluffy pink clouds and forget about the importance of their missions. No. They just protect each other a little more fiercely, and try a little harder to stay alive. They’re friends at first, being there for each other such as when he danced with her during her first vapour attack to calm her down a bit. And they don’t declare their love for each other, nor do they become a couple, they kiss, and they protect, and they try to survive. It pulled at my heart strings without even trying, and I loved every minute of them being together. The romance is barely developed in this book, and I’m already loving it, so I can’t wait to read the second book, to have some more of their romance and see how it develops!
“Together, we spin in tight, safe circles, inside the storm, as if nothing else in the world existed.” (52%)
“Did she just-?
She did just, didn’t she?
She kissed me.
She did!” (80%)
The characters were well-written, as well. I love Urlick and Eyelet, but also Iris and C.L. and Cordelia. They were all odd, misfits in a way, but they were all lovable and good and I felt for all of them. Especially C.L. because of where he’d been before. And Cordelia because of her condition and what Urlick’s father was supposed to do. Smrt was a deceiving little power-hungry professor, and I don’t like him much, but at the same time he brings humor and chaos to the story and some of the things he says are truly hilarious! In fact, a few of the characters said some pretty funny things, they were so ludicrous.
“You’re standing in the presence of a living demon, that’s what…” (7%)
“She used her wicked powers to still the babe’s lungs.” (7%)
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I recommend it to you lovers of steampunk, romance, and maybe even adventure.