The Earl of Brass is the first installment of The Ingenious Mechanical Devices Series, before The Winter Garden. This book is generally, historical fiction and adventure. The two main characters are Eilian Sorrel and Hadley Fenice. The author describes it this way: A once promising archeologist and adventurer, Lord Sorrell is now grounded after the loss of his arm in a devastating dirigible crash over the countryside and is facing a bleak future in London as the prodigal eldest son of an Earl. With the care of his dutiful butler, Eilian recovers but seeks to regain what he has lost by enlisting the Fenice Brother’s Prosthesis Company to create a new arm for him Rather than meeting a brother, Hadley Fenice arrives with an interesting proposition for the adventurer. She creates an arm of brass and leather that can flex and move as a real arm could, but what Hadley receives in return is the chance to be free from the restrictions of Victorian life. Under the guise of Henry Fox, artist, dandy, and lover of all things beautiful, she is free to explore alongside Lord Sorrell as they work at an archaeological excavation in the Negev Desert. But what lies under the sand is better than potshards or bones. The subterranean dwelling Billawrati have lived for centuries in peace without the burdens of money or imperialism. As the archaeologists venture deeper, they are confronted by a society where the path of life is not governed by gain but by passion. They question how their lives and the lives of those close to them could be if the world would only allow them be who they really are. When imperialistic invaders come to Billawra in search of a new colony to pillage, Eilian and Hadley are forced to commit the gravest sin to protect their fleeting glimpse of freedom.
What I particularly liked about the book was how beautifully it was written, how the characters seemed so real. My favorite character was Hadley Fenice, because, like me, she hates gender discrimination and loves her brothers. It was as if I could relate to her. But, that is my opinion towards her, that’s my prejudice. But an original and perfect character drawn out by the author was of Eilian Sorrel. Kudos to the author for creating a character like him. I wish, though, that we could find characters like this everywhere. There are people like Eilian in this world, but they’re countable…
The characters felt very real, undergoing the whole process of character development. I especially loved how Eilian developed from his insecurities to him being confident enough to propose Hadley. Every character developed brilliantly. Though, there was this time when the butler was very much active, but in the end, he was rarely seen. Last minute characters shouldn’t be introduced either. Eilian’s uncle should have been introduced earlier, if I haven’t missed that part.
The intellectual qualities of the writing were simplicity and clarity. The style was very well done. The writing had a rhythm throughout the book. The problems were discussed very well, from racism to gender discrimination. These kinds of faults are still found in this world. I loved how these themes were played out.
I don’t think that the story kept me guessing, though. It just flowed smoothly like natural life. There were conflicts here and there, apart for the bigger one, but other than that, there didn’t seem to be strong cliffhangers, and things that will keep a reader up all night to know what happens next.
My favorite scene from the whole book was when Eilian woke up and found out that he had lost his arm. It broke my heart how the author had described his pain. Coming to that, sad scenes were written particularly well. A person could just imagine it happening.
However, the story didn’t grip me as it should have been to keep the pages turning. At times, I didn’t quite understand the theme of the book. It was as if the author was jumping from one conflict to the other. There didn’t seem to be a continuous conflict. At times, love seemed the theme, and then there came adventure, then gender discrimination, then racism, then betrayal. If it was one single conflict including them all, it would have made sense. But, it was like one conflict was themed love; the other conflict was themed racism, and the other friendship. If the Billawrati’s was the main thing to be happening, then there was no use of him losing his arm. Sure, Hadley met him that way, but still… Everything should be linked somehow.
What I loved the most was how beautifully the author had planned the story out. Though a continuous conflict wasn’t found, every chapter was linked to the other, but if a person views it wholly, there are some plot holes. I also loved how it was so close to reality. The tragedies, I could just see them happening.
I liked how all the issues resolved one by one like in real life, and not with one boom! I do think, however, that there was more juice to squeeze in the end, relating Sir Joshua. It was resolved very lightly, though wisely, but it wasn’t that strong of an ending.
The part where Hadley becomes Henry gets confusing. It gets messed up when the author does her part as “HE”. I thought it was great that when she was made Henry, she was introduced as HE. And when with Ellian, she was introduced as SHE. But there are some moments when with Ellian the author introduced her as HE. That part confused me. So, a look over that is needed.
What I disliked in the book were the descriptions being too long. Not everything needs knowing unless it’s important. Other than a bit too extended descriptions, that usually bores the new generation whose gonna read the book, the story is drawn out pretty good. It was the kind of book I would find flaws in, but wouldn’t change a thing about it. It didn’t make me stay up all night to finish it, but surprisingly, I didn’t drop it. So, it’s a good thing. Not entirely, but enough to make a statement.
I’d recommend this book to every reader who, firstly, wants to improve their writing skills and vocabulary, secondly, who doesn’t like discrimination and are of objective thinking, thirdly, to all those people who like adventure, tragedy and romance, all at the same time.
I wouldn’t recommend it those who like fast moving books. It’s pace is pretty slow.
Hope this review helped you guys to find a new book out. Hope you all check it out and enjoy. The book is very original and beautifully drawn out.
Till the next post,