When author Dana Fraedrich approached me recently and asked if I would be interested in reading her debut novel Out of the Shadows, I was thrilled! I had been looking for more steampunk reads after falling in love with Gail Carriger’s books a few years ago and, I have to say, this is the perfect book for readers who are slightly nervous of this genre; the attention-to-detail is meticulous but not overwhelming! Before I start reviewing, here’s what the book is about:
When the Allens rescue Lenore from certain torment, she’s offered a new life, a life that can save her from the underworld of crime in which she’s forced to live. The universe is keeping score, however, and Lenore isn’t the only one caught in this web of debt. Can she truly escape her past when it comes to find her or will she be drawn back into the darkness?
Homeless, orphaned, living in secret as a thief–Lenore Crowley just wants to survive, but the city of Springhaven has no sympathy for cases such as hers. She chose her path, and the consequences are hers alone. Being caught would mean certain death; her odds of survival are beginning to look bleak. When she meets the Allens, she’s offered a new life. In a world where debts and oaths carry very real weight, however, this second chance comes at a price. Lives entangle, and Lenore soon find that her secrets aren’t so secret. Someone is looking for her, someone who knows who she really is. One wrong move and everything around her might fall.
Fans of Gail Carriger, Garth Nix, and Marie Brennan will delight as this new world unfolds for them. A multi-layered realm of history, subterfuge, colorful characters, potential, and lost magic and technology promises to entrance readers of all ages.
First of all, I want to clarify that the length of time it took me to read this book is by no means a reflection of its quality! Out of the Shadows is a very enjoyable read and, as I said, provides the perfect entrance into the world of steampunk. Dana’s writing style works perfectly for the genre and I really liked her attention to detail. The book was clearly very well-researched and I was often impressed by the level of knowledge displayed on certain topics. I was also really happy to see Dana correctly use the phrase “couldn’t care less” – (a minor point, I know, but I hate seeing “could care less”; it makes no sense!!)
Lenore is a feisty heroine with lots of sass, so obviously that means I loved her. I wanted to join in her adventures! She is a strong-willed woman who fights for her rights and doesn’t let anyone belittle her, which I think is a fantastic message for the book to convey. We might not be living in the Victorian times but there are definitely still some men out there who act like pigs!!
The reason I refrained from giving this book a 5-star rating is because, as other reviewers on Goodreads have pointed out, the book does take a while to get going. However, I think this was due to the fantastic world-building! Dana has created a highly detailed world that feels completely believable and really drew me in. I did feel that Lenore was a little too accepting of certain things at first (I can’t really say which things without spoilers!) But maybe that’s me being naïve or showing my lack of familiarity with the steampunk genre?
Overall, this was a very enjoyable read and the ending has me really looking forward to reading the second book, Into the Fire.
Also, I will be interviewing Dana Fraedrich in the near future so keep yours eyes open for that!
Has anyone else read this one? What other steampunk books can you recommend to me?