Title: The Electrical Menagerie
Author: Mollie E. Reeder
- Date read: May 30, 2018
- Rating: 5 stars (ALL THE STARS!)
- Genre: Steampunk
- Age: Any
- Year pub: 2018
- Pages: 323 (ebook)
- Series: The Celestial Isles, #1
- Fave character: Huxley (I love Carthage too, though; and especially them as a pair.)
- Source: Giveaway
- Notes: I won an ARC ebook in a giveaway (thanks!) and wasn’t required to write a review. These opinions are my own.
- Links: Goodreads • Amazon • Author’s Website • Series Website
Ten Reasons You Should Read The Electrical Menagerie
1. What did I just read? *deep breath* I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was absolutely delightful and I have a book hangover—how will anything ever be this good again? AAHH. *collapses and wails and longs for a sequel* I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this but it was INCREDIBLE and just so much fun! 😀
2. The humor! It’s an utterly hilarious book and I LOVE that so much! The humor/snark/dialog absolutely made my day and I keep wanting to quote it. XD
3. Arbrook Huxley and Sylvester Carthage, y’all. THESE TWO. ❤ You know how there are dynamic duos who are just the best, especially together? And you take their last names and squish ’em together into something iconic. Holmes and Watson. Spellsmith and Carver. Beaumont and Beasley. Well Carthage and Huxley are next on my list! I just love them and their friendship-not-friendship-whatever-it-is. Carthage is a slightly older man who’s a genius at making mechanical things and devising illusions to enchant a crowd, but he’s also got the heart of a child and is intensely introverted. I kind of related to that and he was so REAL. I love him. Then you have Huxley, who is… well… he’s Huxley! Young and dashing and energetic, he’s the smooth-talking and charismatic co-manager, and he’s so funny, especially when paired with Carthage. XD They’re my favorite thing about this book. ^_^ But both have a lot to learn, and are hiding secrets, and nothing’s going to work out until they learn to trust each other…
4. Welcome to the steampunk-ish, absolutely delightful, original world of the Celestial Isles, in which there are a string of “isles” floating above an ether sea with sky trains traveling between them. There are “electricals” (basically like robots) and I love the trains and the 1800s-esque feel. I feel like it’s such an enchanting world that it’s kind of like the best fantasy, but at the same time it’s more sci-fi/steampunk-ish, since there isn’t really anything “fantasy” or “magical” about it? Things are powered by electricity or stardust and just—everything’s so unique. I love it! It feels utterly magical without being real fantasy at all and… I can’t really describe it but I’m in love with the world. 😛
5. The Electrical Menagerie (their show) is taking part in what is essentially a circus-type competition to put on the best show. Which means there’s a lot of imaginative, gorgeous acts going on, and I loved seeing what would happen next. But there’s also a murder mystery and sabotage going on and WHO IS BEHIND IT ALL? :O Because all Carthage and Huxley need on top of the competition is secret plots and danger, right? 😉
6. There are plot twists, too, and the book took a totally unexpected turn and just—whoa! It’s very edge-of-your-seat. The adventure’s exciting, and you know it’s awesome when, on top of trying to win a competition, there’s also a deep plot and a princess in danger and lots of potential for betrayal, and ALL the excitement. I read the whole book in a day because I couldn’t stop reading. 😀
7. Aside from the wonderfulness that is Carthage and Huxley themselves, the other characters are fascinating too. I especially love Dominic the electrical butler! AAAHH. I love him so much. *feelz* His last speech in the book, though. It was… just… so touching and true. GAH.
8. This book made me laugh over and over—and, yes, it made me cry too. Like… I don’t know how it made me care that much but— *sniffles* THE FEELS. But I think I’m okay. Really. I don’t know why I cared so much but gaah. (It was still beautiful, though. :))
9. It taught me things about myself and life and deep things and—wow. Yes. I often find bits of unexpected truth in the most unlikely places, and I didn’t expect to find such soul-touching things in this super fun, swashbuckling, snarky story of two unlikely friends and their illusion show, but IT WAS THERE. It’s deep and touching even in the midst of the fun, and don’t you just love that? When a story is fun AND feelsy AND has depth AND it will just sweep you along in an utterly rollicking adventure? UGH, so good. *hugs book* It’s a clean read, too, and just so delightful.
10. Just—just—there is no way I can properly describe this book and how much I liked it, so I’m going to stop trying and simply direct you to the book itself. *points imperiously toward it* GO READ IT, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. AND YOU’RE WELCOME. (You can thank me later.) I need more adventures of Carthage and Huxley ASAP, and YOU, my friend, need to go read this one immediately. Ladies and gentlemen, that is all I have to say on this subject. Thank you, and good night. *bows*
Some Favorite Quotes
(I could quote the whole thing, and many of my favorites are spoilers, but here are some excellent non-spoiler-y ones.)
“Are you still alive?” Dominic asked him finally.
“Am I alive?” Huxley turned to him. “Yes, I’m alive. Why would you ask that?”
“You were uncharacteristically motionless and quiet. I thought you might be dead.”
Huxley blew air through his teeth. “Did I make a terrible mistake, Dominic?”
“The probability is high. But you’d have to be more specific.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“You’re welcome,” Dominic said without a trace of irony.
“You look like you’ve been run over by a train,” she said.
“Oh,” he said, and scrambled to rake his fingers through his hair and fix the tuck of his shirt.
“No, no…” She bit her lip. “The look on your face.”
He drank from a silver flask, which he held out to Carthage.
Carthage gave him a disapproving look. While at work?
“It’s coffee,” said Huxley. “Stars, you’re worse than the nuns at boarding academy.”
Relenting, Carthage took the flask. He drank a swig and nearly choked.
“Well, it’s been in my coat since this morning.”
Carthage wanted to spit the lingering traces out of his mouth, but that would have been improper. He swallowed his own grimace. “Don’t offer me anything that’s been in your coat since morning ever again.”
“You’re very talented, and I especially admire how collected you are in a crisis. Except for that time you broke a teacup on the floor. That wasn’t very collected.”
“Huxley… what’s wrong with you?”
“I was spiked with a truth serum which seems to have drastically lowered my inhibitions.” Huxley raised a confident hand. “But it’s alright. I think it’s wearing off.”
“I’m quite certain it’s not,” said Carthage.
Secondly, the swarms of biting insects that came out in the early evening. Huxley called them mosquitoes and seemed unconcerned by them, even though they could bite you through your clothes and suck the blood out of your body, which seemed to Carthage like something to be concerned about.
Huxley’s hand darted out, finger aimed at a scallop of frosting. Carthage slapped the hand away.
“What are you doing?” he hissed.
“I’m so hungry,” Huxley said.
“You can’t steal food from the table of the Future Queen!”
“It’s not stealing!” Huxley hissed back. “My tax dollars paid for that cake!”
“If only my mother could see me now,” he said aloud.
“If my mother could see me now,” said Huxley, “I’d be legally disowned.”
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