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At 18 and just finishing her rather confining ladies' school education, Lady Claire Trevelyan is far more interested in scientific discovery than she is in the traditional art of snaring an aristocratic spouse. She despises the more superficial amongst her classmates and longs for a life as a scientist and adventurer. It is only after her father's shock demise, and an unexpected reversal in the family's fortunes that Claire begins to see opportunities that will enable her to pursue her own destiny. Her mother, younger brother and some of the family's retainers depart for the family estate in Cornwall, leaving Claire with the responsibility for concluding the family's London life and overseeing the sale of their townhouse. But an attack on the family home, and then herself, lead to a total change in Claire's circumstances - presenting challenges, adventure, and an opportunity for her to take charge of her own destiny... if she only has the courage.

Claire falls in with a gang of thieves - the very gang that had sought to rob her - when she discovers that they're a rag-tag group of children in sore need of education, moral guidance and some serious scientific up-dating!

I generally liked this steampunk novel - about a titled, wealthy, but intelligent young woman on the brink of being forced into a straitjacketed existence that really doesn't suit her character at all. It's a stirring and interesting fantasy adventure and I enjoyed it considerably. But it's not without fault. Shelley Adina's world introduces a range of fictitious 'devices'/wider applications of gadgets than actually occurred. All good so far. But there are also a number of factual inaccuracies/historical liberties taken in the background set-up that aren't acknowledged. The US author's language isn't always convincing ("fall" for 'autumn' isn't a typical feature of 19th C British English) and English schoolgirls completing their schooling in the 1880s aren't normally as closely associated with graduation parties as seems to be the case here!

The heroine wants to attend university at Oxford and there are several references to the institution, including the statement that "she could have gone for a master's degree at Oxford with that" ['that' referring to an amount of money]. However, although Oxford had opened its doors to female students by 1889 (the year in which this novel is set), this was only a limited admissions policy. Women were able to attend lectures, sit examinations (and receive honours in those exams) but were debarred from receiving the degree that the same results and being born male would have entitled them to... until 1920.
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on 16 January 2013
Shelley Adina writes a good yarn but as others have said, spoils the story with lack of research and applying Americanisms to British characters in reported speech. It's just lazy, Shelley. A quick Google would have given you enough detail on Queen Victoria and *Prince* Albert to get dates and titles right.

My other objection is that the book ends halfway through the story. As there are other books this just looks like a deliberate money-making ploy and the book just isn't good enough to make me want to spend money to find out what happens.

The author evidently didn't think her lack of attention to detail would matter but it matters enough to have warranted several reviewers to comment and in my case not to bother with any more of her books.
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At 18 and just finishing her rather confining ladies' school education, Lady Claire Trevelyan is far more interested in scientific discovery than she is in the traditional art of snaring an aristocratic spouse. She despises the more superficial amongst her classmates and longs for a life as a scientist and adventurer. It is only after her father's shock demise, and an unexpected reversal in the family's fortunes that Claire begins to see opportunities that will enable her to pursue her own destiny. Her mother, younger brother and some of the family's retainers depart for the family estate in Cornwall, leaving Claire with the responsibility for concluding the family's London life and overseeing the sale of their townhouse. But an attack on the family home, and then herself, lead to a total change in Claire's circumstances - presenting challenges, adventure, and an opportunity for her to take charge of her own destiny... if she only has the courage.

Claire falls in with a gang of thieves - the very gang that had sought to rob her - when she discovers that they're a rag-tag group of children in sore need of education, moral guidance and some serious scientific up-dating!

I generally liked this steampunk novel - about a titled, wealthy, but intelligent young woman on the brink of being forced into a straitjacketed existence that really doesn't suit her character at all. It's a stirring and interesting fantasy adventure and I enjoyed it considerably. But it's not without fault. Shelley Adina's world introduces a range of fictitious 'devices'/wider applications of gadgets than actually occurred. All good so far. But there are also a number of factual inaccuracies/historical liberties taken in the background set-up that aren't acknowledged. The US author's language isn't always convincing (although an earlier feature of the langage, "fall" for 'autumn' isn't a typical feature of late 19th C British English) and English schoolgirls completing their schooling in the 1880s aren't normally as closely associated with graduation parties as seems to be the case here!

The heroine wants to attend university at Oxford and there are several references to the institution, including the statement that "she could have gone for a master's degree at Oxford with that" ['that' referring to an amount of money]. However, although Oxford had opened its doors to female students by 1889 (the year in which this novel is set), this was only a limited admissions policy. Women were able to attend lectures, sit examinations (and receive honours in those exams) but were debarred from receiving the degree that the same results and being born male would have entitled them to... until 1920.
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on 22 September 2015
Another reviewer has called this book 'lazy' and I agree wholeheartedly. It is a pastiche, and not a good one at that. It was free which is a good thing as that is about all the story is worth. The basic premise is weak, poor little rich girl wants to be independent, family fortune vanishes and her plucky adventures involve the grubby side of London, and everyfink! No research done, other than hopping through a bunch of bodice rippers, and failing sadly as there was not much bodice ripping or even a cog in sight! She did have goggles and spelled electric as 'electrick' thereby making it somehow a bit more steamy, but certainly not punky.

Half a book is about all that was included, which did not induce me into paying any money for the continuation of the series. Sadly, it could have been something, it could have been a contender but what it was, well, it wasn't much.

I gave it two stars because I didn't hate it, but I was extremely disappointed by the whole premise, which wasn't really steampunk, more like a Nancy Drew without the interesting bits.
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on 28 July 2014
This is (yet another) case of the first book in a series being nothing more than exposition. The premise is interesting and holds great scope for adventure and exploration and Claire, the protagonist, is a strong woman with clear-cut motives. This book could be incredibly enjoyable, and the series certainly holds that potential. However, there is no sense of resolution or a real story arc due to its being the first book in a series and, thus, exposition. That being said, the writing is clean, and it was a short, fun read. It will no doubt hook many readers into continuing with the series, but I doubt I’ll be one of them.
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on 31 July 2015
I did enjoy this as a light read. It is important not to think of this as Victorian England, but a similar country on a separate timeline - with different natural laws. This will allow you to ignore the lapses from English to American and to accept the possibility of a steam driven car that never needs refuelling, or an electric rifle that fires a laser beam from a minuscule power source.
I didn't bother checking the usage of titles and etiquette, as I fear there are errors there as well and the story flowed well enough without worrying about that. For it is a fun read of a resourceful lady using her mind to overcome the slight problem of bankruptcy.
Do not expect reality - the underworld in which she moves seems very tame to reality, and I am quite sure that in reality she would have been raped rather quickly and at best become a gang-leaders moll. But it is fantasy, it is a different world, so never mind the nit-picking, enjoy the story that flows quickly (sometimes too quickly as the Lord appears to have offered for her hand in marriage but the author forgot to include that scene in the book, although she refers to it at one point). The children are delightful and behave pretty much as one would expect, as do most of the characters.
My biggest objection, apart from the missing scene, is that the book is too short. It is 54,000 words. I want a book to be at least 120,000 words. IF it had been a full sized novel rather than a novella, I would be tempted to buy the next book.
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I have been looking for some decent steampunk novels to read for a while now (if you have any recomendations please let me know) and stumbled upon this series by Shelley Adina completely by accident. Lady of Devices follows Claire Trevelyan, a viscount's daughter interested in adventuring and engineering who do to society instead is forced to go to school learning about flower arranging, tea pouring, and look pretty for lords and ladies. When her father puts all his money on the future of the combustion engine and it falls through in favour of steam the family loses everything leaving Claire in a fairly desperate situation.

The title of the book, as well as the synopsis, are a little bit misleading as Claire uses, very few devices, three tops if you include her steam car and the "new leader in the underworld" description also feels like a bit of a stretch never mind that the "friendship and betrayals" line never happens in the book at all, later in the series perhaps? Either way that synopsis should be taken with a large dose of salt. The plot itself isn't too bad, I like the steam engine and combustion engine competing as the technology of the future and some of the characters I quite like, and it's fairly easy reading. My biggest problem though was Claire, at times she is the intelligent strong willed heroine the book claims her to be, but other times she is a bit of a wet blanket, I found myself rooting for her and then frustrated at other times. Just wish her personality was more consistant, as when she is taking charge she is extremely likeable.

Overall the book shows promise for the series, it feels more like an introduction anyway (another reviewer wrote the book is nothing but exposition and i'm inclined to agree, it stops without any real resolution) if Shelley Adina can develop the world and Claire as a character in further novels (I think there are eight books currently in the seires) then they could be a worthy read for sure but I'm not quite sold based on this novel alone.

+ Light easy reading.
+ Some nice plot ideas.
+ Claire at times is a likeable protagonist.

- Synopsis feels intentionally misleading.
- Claire needs developing as a character.
- Just sort of stops.
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on 3 September 2014
I've seen a few reviews on here laying into the "Americanisms", fact checking and the like. I only noticed one or two, and it in no way dragged me out of the book.

The fact is that this is "speculative fiction". Given that the story presupposes that steam is the predominant power (over and above what it would have been capable of at the time) and (slight spoiler) that the combustion engine is close to a non-starter, we can also assume a few other differences.

In fact I can't recall if in this timeline the America's ever achieved independence...if they did not then it is likely that we would be seeing further cross-pollination of speak than actually took place, and thus more Americanisms.

But that is speculation by me. The main thrust is that on the few times I noticed it, it wasn't enough to "take me out of the story" so to speak.

From what I can tell it was pretty much self published (I'm not sure if the small press that published it is a self run business). If so it is among the top percent of self published books I have read.

The characters are believable (or as close to it as you can get in steampunk, which isn't usually my cup of tea), the storyline so far interesting, and the world is fascinating.

I immediately went and bought the Omnibus Edition on Kindle which contains the first 4 books. There have been very few (2 I think) of these "Freebie" entry books into a series which have grabbed me enough to buy another, this has just added to that list.

There is the problem that many of these freebie first books suffer from - specifically not giving you the right ending for it to feel like a complete book, but then that's how they get you buying into their series and whilst I'm not a fan of the tactic, I can understand it - and when the story is as interesting and as well written as this I can forgive it.

All in all I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading the next few books in the series. I can say that about very few other "free" books.
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on 29 October 2014
'Lady of Devices' is the story of a young woman, Claire, as she loses the life she knows and decides she must find a way to get the life she wants.

I downloaded this when I saw it was on free offer as I'd never tried reading something in the steampunk genre before, and when I started reading this I'll admit I wasn't too sure that I was going to enjoy it. I prefer modern settings in general so I found it quite hard to get into this to begin with. It took until about 40% in to really hook me which is longer than usual, but that's largely due to adjusting to the setting and I'm really glad I persevered, because once it hooked me I was really invested in the characters and loving the surprising way the story was unfolding. Claire is an intelligent, resourceful and determined character and I can't wait to see how the rest of her story unfolds.

Overall it's a well plotted story with an excellent main character, and a fantastic start to a series I will need to keep reading. Highly recommended!
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on 22 June 2015
I was disappointed with this first of a series. Having read the blurb I finished the book but felt cheated as the book didn't live up to the sales pitch. The blurb states "It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices." but in my reading of the term "Lady of devices" only occurs once and this from the lady herself. Another let down comes from "When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals" again in the book she doesn't make any explosive devices only a kind of Tear Gas and the only explosion comes in her cookery class when she adds peppermint to a fizzy drink.
Overall not what I was expecting and I will not be reading others in the series
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