Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress -- Book Review

Published: 2013

Genre: Young Adult / Steampunk / Mystery

From the book flap:

The Friday society follows the stories of three intelligent and talented young women who work as assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, combat instruction assistant; and Nellie, Magician's assistant. Their lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man. It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder--and the crimes they believe may be connected to it--without calling too much attention to themselves. Of course, blending in has never been these ladies' strong suit, especially with so many eligible men around.

Told with Adrienne Kress's sharp wit and a great deal of irreverence, this Steampunk mystery introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike--well, relatively ladylike--heroines poised for more dangerous adventures. 

Clearly, these three young women are ahead of their time. They're independent, smart, and resourceful--but they live in an era where women receive little credit for their work except for their looks and supporting roles.
Cora, Michiko, and Nellie each have compelling (and hilarious) perspectives in the uphill struggle to prove themselves as talented people without destroying their employers' reputations.

Although the book had indicated that the setting was in 1900 London, I didn't get a feel for the time period. Part of me kept thinking that it must have been the early 1950s or something more recent because of the modern slang that the characters used. I get that it's supposed to be irreverent, but it ended up preventing me from getting a strong sense of the time period despite the mention of period-appropriate technology. 

Nonetheless, the dialogue is compelling, and there are several instances in which I wish I could punch out a particular character's teeth. It makes sense that the dialogue would feel so natural, since Kress has done a lot of theater work in her career. 

The narrative is full of insightful observations as the characters try to interpret each other, as well as memorable little quirks that minor characters exhibit. The voice shifts between tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and earnestness, most likely due to the the differences in the minds of Cora, Nellie, and Michiko. Cora is a strong, forceful (and sarcastic) character, Nellie's mind is more playful, and Michiko's mind is serious and earnest.

Given Cora's strong and forceful personality, her weird hormone-pumped relationship with Andrew Harris becomes a bit irritating to me. Andrew is condescending from the start, and I don't understand how a proud person like Cora would put up with him, even if he is handsome. 

As we get to the last third of the novel, the close calls, cheesy rescues become comical. Some of the close calls (such as Nellie convincing the scientist-henchmen to give up whatever they're doing to be with their families) are humorous, but they also diminish the suspense. 

Overall, the novel is a great read with lovable characters, with a few flaws. 

What I would dine on while reading this book:

  • champagne 
  • tea 
  • cornbread 
  • snails  (Nellie's pre-performance meal with the Magician--No, thanks.)
Did I forget to mention how beautiful the cover art is? The costumes are amazing! Also, the little cog headings on the inside pages are adorable too. 

Thanks for reading! <3 Learn more about The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress on Amazon


No comments:

Post a Comment