A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.
When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass "Ticker," transforming her into "the first of the Augmented!" But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.
The last day of Warwick's trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?
Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.
©2014 Lisa Mantchev (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Supposedly for 12 year olds (and i'm guessing they would love it), I enjoyed this tale immensely, and I'm in my 40's. I bought it because I love Steam Punk and the premise looked intriguing. The story is fast paced, like most young adult tales, but still has enough depth for me to find it interesting.
"Superb Narration, intriguing but unsatisfying plot"
The narration was out of this world. Excellent ear candy.
The story - was interesting, intriguing - but the idea of a 16 year old girl, her twin, and two similarly aged mates and a very slightly older "commander in chief" being the agents of the story was just a bit hard to swallow. Then again I have lived with teenagers far more recently than I've been one myself, so if I were 13 or so, I'd naturally think it was totally natural that these characters were barely out of the childhood yet have the suave sophistication of the 1960s era James Bond Riviera set. I couldn't personally relate to the people in the story, but other than that it was good, and was enjoyable. I would give the overall rating at 3 stars *personally* but it would be unfair I think to the general impression of the quality overall if I did that.
So 4 generous overall stars, and 5 stingy stars for the performance quality. Think of it as 5 stars + a few more for the performance. Fiona Hardingham turned an otherwise not-quite-satisfying book into a fantastic listen.
I do have the ebook, and read a few pages in print in the middle of the story, however my take is that this is a book far better as an Audible experience than as a quiet read curled up in a sunny window somewhere. Go straight to the Audio book if you have any interest. Its really a great listen even if the ability to 'believe' in the characters was impaired for me. It was very tightly written, lovely word play and moved at a fast pace.
"Good. Not great."
Worth the listen. Interesting, original story. A fair amount of action my biggest issue was following the story properly. There are quite a few characters and it moves fast. The reader did an excellent job though.
I enjoyed the narrators voice and intonation of the story. she was a good pick for the read. the book was very interesting more of a fantasy than a Scifi but I liked the blend of magic and clockwork together.
Very gifted writer. I look forward to seeing how she develops. I am hoping she will stick with this genre as her imagination for this style is really enjoyable.
"Better as audio than as hardcopy!"
Definitely. I had previously purchased the book and for some odd reason, couldn't ever finish it! When I noticed the audio version, I thought I'd give that a try. The subject intrigued me, and it is a rather steampunk-esque novel, which I love. For me, reading this book was like reading Shakespeare; laborious to get through, but when you hear the performance, everything falls into place. So glad I got the audio and didn't give up entirely. Plus, the narrator was amazing. Perfect accent, perfect tone, hypnotic quality to her voice. Didn't want to stop listening!
So as not to provide spoilers, I will just say:
Evil Laboratory. Oh. Em. Gee.
Again...just say no to spoilers!
But I will say that I really enjoyed the technical aspects of the book, especially the detail surrounding how her heart actually worked/failed to work properly.
Yes. Curse you, Needingtomakealiving! You spoil everything.
I did 'forget' to make dinner so I could curl up in my chair with this book and my yarn. No one starved. I might do it again.
I so dearly hope she writes a follow up to this book and that this narrator is available to do the job. And that I'm not dead before it happens. (Insert hopeful sigh)
"Too many characters, all underdeveloped"
The problem with listening to this book is that there is a LOT of characters that all appear to have multiple names or titles, and none of them are explained very well, which is why I made them all obvious in my summary. I think I would have been better able to follow along had I had a better understanding of who was who. The author spent too much time describing clothes and nonsense devices that she failed to develop any of the characters. It seemed forced and poorly thought through and I had a hard time cheering for our main character. Overall, I wasn’t thrilled with this story.
This book is trying soooooo hard to be steampunk that the author is jamming all the mechanical nonsense down your throat, and a lot of it doesn’t even make sense.
Example: Penny has a personal communication device (RiPA – “Ripley’s Personal Aethergraph”) that attaches to her garter, under her bustle skirt, but she can still send messages using it while steering her “Vitesse motorized high-wheeled bicycle”.
This quick guide below should help when listening to this book!
Short Summary & Characters:
*Penny (Penelope) Farthing – Main character, heroine, has a hereditary heart condition that will stop her heart and kill her, like her sisters’, Dimitria and Cygna.
*Nic (Copernicus Emery) Farthing – Twin brother of Penny
*Dr. Calvin Warwick – the man who augmented Penny’s heart; to save her life, Dr. Calvin Warwick replaced her failing heart with an augmented heart. In order to perfect the augmented heart, Dr. Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people, a crime for which he is on trial.
*Sebastian Stirling – Wealthy childhood friend of Penny and Nic, always seems to be around, with parents who are never around.
*Violet Nesselrode – Best friend and youngest baker at Sugarwerks Fully Automated Bakery, which is owned by Violet’s family
*Marcus Kingsley – Proprietor and Legatus legionus of the Ferrum Viriae, (also addressed by his title: Legatus)
Less important characters…
*Dimitria Beryl Farthing – Older sister to Penny and Nic, deceased
*Cygna Garnet Farthing – younger sister to Penny and Nic, deceased
*Frederick Carmichael – Soldier
*Dreadnaught – Some type of housekeeper at Glasshouse, cooks, cleans, sews
*Philomena de Mesmer – Professional Clairaudience and Trance
Good things to know:
*Farthing Cogs & Rivets Factory – Owned by Penny and Nic’s family
*Glasshouse – The home of Penny and Nic
*Ferrum Viriae – Industria’s privatized military, in charge of police, fire, and emergency
*Bazalgate – the main city, located inside “Industria”
"A Most Enjoyable Story!"
This is my first steampunk novel.
I believe it's written for a younger audience, however if you still have your love of adventure stories, you will enjoy this. It reminds me of the Narnia books.
The author & narrator were a good combination!
"Intriguing premis, didn't fully deliver"
The premise of Mantchev's Ticker was intriguing, but fell short in execution. Not quite a Steampunk Frankenstein, but it borrowed some of those ideas, including the mad scientists and a thematic debate about improving humanity and threw in some Victorian Spiritualism and gadgets.
What was good - fast paced, light, interesting heroine, some cool 'steampunk' concepts.
Penny was, for the most part, a good heroine facing both internal and external jeopardy. She was independent and somewhat reckless, which made for both humor and some tension. The others were more or less distinct, but verged on types rather than full-fledged characters. I felt more could have been done with at least three of the major players.
If you don't think too hard, it made for a quick, light read. I often let the details of the world slide by and while there were predictable moments, the pacing kept me from dwelling on them.
The idea of the 'clockwork' heart was the most interesting, and for the most part, was well played through the novel.
What didn't work - the world overall, the romance, predictable twists.
I tend to be patient when reading books where a new world is being presented, because I recognize that takes time. There are two things that will annoy me in a new world - an info dump early on trying to explain every aspect of the world, and when an author just expects us to accept everything with little or no explanation. Mantchev is guilty of the later. There were too many gadgets tossed in without explanation and at times I felt like I was in the second book of a series where I'd missed important details because I skipped the first.
The romance between Penny and another key character fell flat. It is a bad trope for the independent heroine to fall for a male character with little ceremony because they happen to face danger together. Worse when it happens during that danger.
Finally, I found the 'twists' predictable. While not a fatal flaw, the book could have been better, relying on not just the external events but based on Penny's reckless nature and the flaw of her 'clockwork' heart.
"Great Listening Book"
I did not read the book, but I found I greatly enjoyed the narration of this story. The narrator was able to provide distinct voice changes for each character as well as expressions in her voice. It made it easy to get lost in the story and want to listen. Some narrations can be annoying and deflate a great story. This was wonderfully enjoyable.
It was an entertaining story that took you to a world combined of technology and historical setting, without being historical. The plot was semi-predictable, but still engaging. I also really liked that this is a stand alone novel.
This was my first audible book by Fiona Hardingham.
"good story but the narrator made it an excellent experience"
I would strongly recommend this audio book.
Good story but the narration made it great
This is my first experience with the reader and I plan to look for more of her performances
I really wanted to listen in one sitting but life always has a different plan
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