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Curio by Evangeline Denmark
Series: Curio #1
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.
By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.
But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.
First off, I love this cover, it is beautiful and the synopsis is wonderful as well. I knew that this book was going to be crazy detailed and there are multiple worlds we, as readers, get to experience. I also heard a lot about this book, on blogs, vlogs, the internet in general and I have to say that it was mixed reviews. So how do you know if this book is really for you? - Well, if you like steampunk, dolls, world building, a strong female lead, and a bunch of craziness - I think you will enjoy this one. If you don't like those things - probably not.
The best part about this book is the world building, in the first part you get wrapped up in this horrific society where Chemists run everything. They are the law and you have to follow their rules - no touching the opposite sex, go to work, home before dark, take your ration - which is your only way of survival in this new world otherwise you starve to death. Then as the story progresses you and Grey are thrust into another world, completely different. This world is made of dolls and tinker toys and magic and mystery and Grey has to find someone and then get back out into her world to save it from the evil Chemists.
The book was crazy detailed and the worlds were captivating and interesting, sometimes a bit on the strange side, but it seems like in the end it will all work together well. I am not sure how the author decided to go from Chemists and a dystopian society to one with play-things as living beings, but it was something new that I have never read before, so props for that.
Grey is our main character and from the very beginning she is strong-willed and you can tell she is not a fan of the Chemists and how her world works. She is determined to help her family and all the people she knows but we follow her as she learns more about herself, these two worlds, and the magic that permeates then both.
This was a really fun read and I very much enjoyed it. I don't want to give too much away but I cannot wait to see where the next book leads us.