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Steampunk Darcy Paperback – September 9, 2013
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About the Author
Monica Fairview is an ex-literature professor who has abandoned teaching criticism about long gone authors who can't defend themselves in order to write novels of her own. Monica can be described as a wanderer, having opened her eyes to the world in London and started travelling since. She spent many years in the USA before coming back full circle to London.
Monica's first novel, An Improper Suitor, a tongue-in-cheek Regency, was short-listed for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hassayan prize. Since then, she has written two traditional Jane Austen sequels: The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins (both published by Sourcebooks) and contributed a short sequel to Emma in Laurel Ann Nattress's anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It (Ballantine).
Originally a lover of everything Regency, Monica has since discovered that the Victorian period can be jolly good fun, too, if seen with retro-vision and rose-colored goggles. She adores Jane Austen, Steampunk, cats, her other half and her impossible child.
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Top customer reviews
Because I’m new to the world of steampunk, I’m not thoroughly acquainted with the ground rules for what will or will not be a part of it. Monica could have easily thrown in random external elements and I would have been none the wiser. As a reader, my highest interest was not in remaining incredibly true to Austen (just the concept is a wild diversion), nor was it focused on how this frameowork would fit into steampunk fans’ definition of the genre. Those notions are important, but the ultimate priority was to have an enjoyable story. The fantastic elements make this genre intriguing, but without a quality narrative to support them, my interest would fade quickly.
I’m pleased to report that Monica Fairview has succeeded on all fronts with Steampunk Darcy. I loved the amazing environment she created in her vision of Jane Austen’s England, adjusted with a post-rebellion, modern-yet-steampunky tone. Main character William Darcy is a descendent of Austen’s Darcys, and there are other elements that tie the story back to the original material. In Steampunk Darcy, Jane Austen is a “biographer” of the Darcy family, with the text of Pride and Prejudice being a non-fiction account, rather than a classic novel. Other characters, such as the lead-female Seraphene seem to be completely new inclusions. She is a welcome addition, as the repartee between the high-spirited Seraphene and pretentious Darcy is quite entertaining. There is a romantic element of course (conservative readers like myself might find it a bit steamy), but their story also involves their relationship as employer and employee. Through Darcy’s obsession with his family history, he hires Seraphene to help him with his work on a top-secret project. The following quote exhibits much of what I refer to—the ties to Austen, mixed in with the steampunk elements:
“Give me a chance to explain. As you know, Pemberley was my ancestral home before it was destroyed, first during the Blitz, then by the slime rain before the Uprising. What I require-- in a nutshell-- is a detailed record of Pemberley as it was at its height, during the Regency period. I want to know everything about it, from the paintings on the wall to what the servants ate for breakfast. I would also like a detailed rendition of Fitzwilliam Darcy and his wife Lizzy at the beginning of their marriage. I want to know their manners, their personal peculiarities, their interactions with each other, their food preferences, their taste in music-- just about everything there is to know.”
This leads to high adventure, as well as opportunities for Seraphene to deal with important issues within her family’s past, especially the struggles her kin have endured since the culture-altering Uprising years ago. Adversaries include the culture around them, a very interesting character based on George Wickham and more. Surprises, romance, humor and drama abound in a way never before seen through a filtered derivation of Austen’s imagination. I highly enjoyed my first experience with the steampunk genre, and Monica Fairview has crafted an interesting and compelling story which can stand on its own, regardless of classification. Steampunk Darcy is a rousing, amazing adventure, one that breaks new ground in Austenesque fiction and does not fail to entertain.
I had no idea what a Steampunk was and did read the same statement in other reviews. I do think that the author would please many a reader with either a glossary (What is a fishobe?) and/or a prologue to give us a hint of when this story is set and the background leading up to the present.
While the author has used many names of people and places from canon, there is very little resemblance to P&P other than a few uses of lines or phrases and/or situations, i.e., Darcy has a sister, Georgiana, and a woman named Caro hangs on his arm. He works out of Longbourn Labs in the American Republic but Pemberley has been destroyed years ago in The Blitz and due to environmental damage. People in this world live under biodomes or in citiships which seem to be cities held up by dirigibles(?) We can garner "the uprising" was a wide spread rebellion linked to concerns about the ecological damage from evils such as slime rain or poisoned water. The Authorities suggest a Police State which may or may not have evolved when the Uprising was settled. But some people have “implants”, others are automatons and still others live outside the Grid so their movements, etc. are not monitored.
William Darcy is a descendent of ODC. He is “The Boss” and has invented many items to help in the Restoration Movement, i.e., biodomes. But his Pemberley Project, which no one but he knows about, has far reaching and possibly disastrous and world changing possibilities. He needs to hire help and Seraphene Grant, an MIT graduate, who moonlights using an Hansom cab to support her 16-year-old sister, Briar Rose, and brain damaged mother (who watches projection of the Peter Rabbit movie daily), is the ideal candidate. However, when interviewed and pressured to accept the position with Longbourn Labs, Seraphene wants nothing to do with it. “What did she mean when she said he was the last person in the world she’d want to work for?” Seraphene lives in an area off-the-Grid, the Crooked Lane, an interesting hodge-podge of houses and neighbors who don’t want to be tracked or traced.
Much of the tale has to do with learning what this project is and the relationship between Darcy and Seraphene a.k.a. Skipp, which runs hot and cold and finds them with huge trust issues due to miscommunications and/or misunderstandings. Skipp’s family history places her in shadowy territory with the Authority and she has walked a fine line trying to stay out of trouble while earning enough “credits” to put food on her family’s table. Richard Darcy is a half-brother to William (& there is a story there). Rich has some of canon Wickham’s traits but there is also a Wickham who SEEMS to be a passive aide to Darcy. Keep an eye on him. There are other interesting roles: Lang Jan Silver, Geronimo (brother to Seraphene), and Katrin Darcy/mamma.
There is a lot of action and adventure and edge-of-your-seat intrigue but it is not all wrapped up neatly. There is a paragraph after the story which states that Monica Fairview is working on a follow-up. Published on January 11, 2014 so I am hoping the sequel will be not long in being published. Yes, it was interesting enough that I want more!
Most recent customer reviews
they expressed at times. Things were left unexplained and unsatisfactory.Read more
which is the best thing that can be said about a book.I really liked it well
more than that but I hated to.Read more