I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
Published by Blink on January 5th 2016
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
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.
It started with breaking the curfew and then everything in Grey’s life changed. Her family and her friend Whit are in danger. The Chemists are relentless in their control over the population who are dependent on their special potion. Meanwhile, Grey is pushed into the world of the curio cabinet and is merely told to bring him back. Only she doesn’t know who ‘he’ is and how to escape from her new luxurious prison filled with beautiful porcelain people and those oppressed under their superficial rule.
First off, I’m just going to say that this is a hard book to explain because the world building is rather complicated. There are two different worlds, the world from where humans are from and another magical world inside the curio cabinet. There are people who depend on daily potions to prevent starvation, and there are Chemists and Defenders. So initially, I was a little put off by how different and odd the story was set up. It’s quirky and unique, even though the ideas aren’t necessarily new. I was confused about the setting or at least the time period for the human world, it felt very historical-ish at times, but technologies like trucks exist. I loved the Curio world so much, and I’m hoping that it will be explored more in the sequel (assuming there is one because it’s very necessary). I don’t know how to describe this book, it felt dystopian in the beginning, but it’s more of steampunk with really great fantastical elements. Sentient machines and people made of porcelain, what more could I ask for?
I’m not sure how to feel about how the ending was wrapped up. I liked it, but I’m perhaps not convinced enough that Grey could be strong enough for that scene against someone with more experience no matter the reason of her strength. Nonetheless, I am very ready to see where this is all going.