- File Size: 3100 KB
- Print Length: 308 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0990502279
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Fox Collie Publishing; 1 edition (November 10, 2016)
- Publication Date: November 10, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01LRGABYK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,525 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Dead Magic (The Ingenious Mechanical Devices Book 4) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 308 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
In fact, I did not follow my usual practice of rereading the prior book in the series before reviewing (mainly because, like most people, I am pressed for time during November and December), but I was swept up in the story without any difficulty. I gave a copy of this novel to a friend who had not read the prior novel and he was able to enter and enjoy the story world as well. The novel can certainly stand on its own.
For readers who enjoy steampunk and neo-Victorian fiction, there is a lot to appreciate in this novel. Set in an alternate version of Victorian Era England, Jorgensen demonstrates her expansive knowledge of the time period. Indeed, by combining the themes of science and fantasy, the author is reflecting the dominant cultural beliefs of the historical culture.
While many who lived during the 1800’s were obsessed with the developing fields of science and technology, a large number were also obsessed with mysticism and “unseen world” that supposedly existed next to our own. The practice of spiritualism was popular at all levels of society. There was widespread interest despite Christian piety in psychic phenomena and the occult. Spiritualist societies sponsored lecture tours, opened reading rooms, and published newspapers where photographic evidence of spirits were presented as proof that contact with the unseen world could be documented on film.
Many of the historical spiritualists were revealed as “fakes,” like Madame Nostra in Dead Magic. They used tricks, and even played with the new technology, to convince the gullible public in their powers.
Emmeline rolled her eyes as the others tittered for her to tell them more. One day back on English soil and they were already falling over themselves to be in Madame Nostra’s good graces. Did they not realize she couldn’t actually communicate with spirits? All it took was one reading with her for Emmeline to discover that Madame Nostra’s spirits spoke in knocks that came from her left foot. It didn’t seem right for her of all people to rise to the top, but with Lord Rose dead, Madame Nostra had the biggest name and the loudest mouth (Jorgensen, 2016).
Emmeline and Immanuel actually have abilities beyond the norm. This adds a nice touch to the story world; although based in history, it is indeed “punked” with actual magic.
The main characters develop further in the newest edition to the series. At the start of The Winter Garden, Emmeline is a young, spoiled aristocrat whose main concern is her place in society. Immanuel is a poor, foreign-exchange student at Oxford University who has to face prejudice due to both his nationality and his sexuality. After Immanuel saves her life with magic, he and Emmeline and bound by their souls.
At the start of Dead Magic, Emmeline behaves rather wantonly (for a Victorian Era lady) by encouraging the attentions of Lord Hale, a fellow spiritualist. She is also bemoaning the loss of her position as temporary head of the London Spiritualist Society. Immanuel has obtained a job as a junior curator at the Natural History Museum and lives with his lover, Adam Fenice. He still suffers bouts of post-traumatic disorder from his torture at the hands of Lord Rose, but is improving.
Once again Immanuel is the character that resonates with me the most; he is intelligent and gifted, but an outcast all the same. His romance with Adam is a secret that should not have to be kept and it offers them as much pain as it does solace. When reading this it is not hard to imagine having to live a double-life where you have to censor everything you say because society would object to your relationship.
Emmeline is growing on me, though. I think it is because she is maturing in the story and looks at the world from an adult perspective. She is headstrong, even when it gets her into trouble. She is determined and does not give up, even in the face of danger. And she is loyal to her friends.
Throughout the novel the characters develop as they face and overcome a multitude of obstacles, including those in the magical and the social realms. The pacing of the story is fast, the detail makes it easy to envision the story world, and the steampunk and fantasy elements are interwoven seamlessly.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys steampunk, fantasy, and/or mystery novels.
Kara Jorgensen decided with her fourth novel to revisit characters she's already told one story for. Emmeline and Immanuel were last seen in The Winter Garden, but in Dead Magic, Jorgensen fleshes them out a little more and explores what comes after a life changing event.
Dead Magic is different from the ones that came before, at least for me, because it was more...thrilling. There were parts that had my heart racing because I had to know what happened next. The pacing was faster and drew me in more quickly. Jorgensen's novels have always had an air of mystery about them, but this one really kept me guessing until the end.
What I like about Jorgensen's steam punk novels is not only that they mix past, present and future with a little science fiction, but that they deal with timely social issues. Immanuel and Adam's love story is one that you would think and hope doesn't resonate today: two people of the same sex hiding their feelings for fear of what society has to say. But it's still true. There are people today who hide what they feel and who they love because there are those who tell them what they feel and who they love isn't right. And Jorgensen captures the confusing thoughts and feelings, the stress of having to check everything one says, and the anguish at "being single" even though one is in a committed relationship really well.
She makes it normal - which it is - and that's something society sorely needs.
Her female characters are also very real. Society tells writers to create female characters that are strong because strong female characters are sorely lacking. But I like the argument that tells authors to make real women. Real women aren't always strong; sometimes they are weak. Real women aren't always right; sometimes they make poor judgments and deserve to be told they're wrong. Real women make mistakes and real women need help. Real women also want to fall in love and have someone fall in love with them. Emmeline is just such a character. She's real. She's not perfect. She makes mistakes. You don't always like her. And for me, reading a female character that is flawed, but still tries, is more important than a strong female character. Because flaws are what make us stronger.
I recommend Jorgensen's novels for the entertainment, yes, but also because they offer so much more. And that's what novels should do.
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