Review: The Lady Astronomer by Katy O'Dowd

Genre: Steampunk
Publisher Untold Press
Publication September 26th, 2012
Pages: 192

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Lucretia's quiet life as an astronomer and hat-maker is quickly turned on its head by her brother. He is commanded by the king to build the grandest telescope in the land. Unfortunately for Lucretia, she is introduced to his majesty as her brother's assistant. Her nights spent on rooftops gazing at the stars are replaced by adventure and danger. In a race to build the Forty-foot telescope on time for the king, her misfortunes take their toll. When Lucretia finds herself held hostage at the Clockwork Court, the innocent country girl doesn't know who to trust. The lady astronomer finds court life to be more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Even if her brothers manage to build the telescope on time, she might not live to earn her freedom.

With the help of her brothers, Freddie and Al, and her constant companions Leibniz the Lemur and Orion the Eagle Owl, Lucretia embarks on a journey that could change her life forever. Can she find the strength inside to balance her new life and overcome the obstacles threatening her destiny? Only the stars will tell.


My thoughts:

I received an ARC from the author in exchange of an honest review.

Lucretia H is a woman who is fond of astronomy as well as his brothers. When Freddie, her brother gets a job as building a huge telescope for the King, they have to move to Slough, near his Majesty and that's where their adventures begin.

First off, this was not the usual genre I read. This was neither young adult nor my usual monstery paranormal/fantasy/sci fi/etc. However, despite its flaws, it was a good kind of exception.

The main thing that tickled my mind was that for a very long time (about the three quarter of the book) nothing relevant happened. They lived their life and that was that.Maybe it's just me being used to action-packed different kind of books, because it was far from boring, but I would have liked to see some more, important events.

Another drawback was that at some places, the oldish language made the impression that it was somewhat forced. It seemed a little artificial and not quite as beautiful as it tends to be. (I love old English a lot.) At some points, it would even fit as mild slang nowadays, in my opinion, however, at other places it was fairly okay. It didn't took away that much joy though, I could put up with it.

One thing that rather bothered me though was the world building. It wasn't elaborated at all and so I didn't get why the clockwork machines were there in such a great number, and very intricately. It also occurred that I was confused whether a person or animal was human or clockwork. Moreover, I didn't understand why everybody had only one letter as surnames. Perhaps, I'm the ignorant, (though I googled on it and found out nothing) but even if so, due to the previous part in the brackets, I'm sure not many people know about such habit or tradition in the old times and therefore as I see it, we should have been told about it.

As for the characters, I have positive as well as negatives remarks. Firstly, to me it felt like that there were too many of them. I couldn't keep up since most of them were important and/or got to be mentioned later, but by then I didn't know who they were. But I liked them nevertheless. Especially Lucretia and her family. I was afraid that I might not be able to connect to her, because she'solder (which is partially the reason why I only tend to read YA), however, I did really grow to like her actually. She was smart and loving and bold and witty. She was a rather lovable character. Al was clumsier and more fragile in some ways while Freddie was clumsy, too, but differently. They were both really sympathique, though. The lemur and owl were also cute.

The thing I liked the more in the book was the author's writing style. It was nearly impeccable and nothing else needs to be added. On the whole, it wasn't bad at all, it was very nice in fact. Heart-warming and calm for the most part and had its magic.

Rating breakdown:

Cover: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 3/5
World building: 3/5
Style/Writing: 5/5
Originality: 4/5

About the author:

Katy O'Dowd
Katy is an arts and entertainment journalist and has worked for Time Out, Associated Newspapers and Comic Relief and her articles have appeared in The Times (London), Metro (London) and many other arts and entertainment publications, paper and online.
Alongside writing with her Dad under the pen-name Derry O’Dowd, whose first book ‘The Scarlet Ribbon’ was chosen to launch the History Press Ireland’s fiction line, she writes under her own name.
Katy reviews for the Historical Novels Review and the British Fantasy Society.


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