The Ghost Engine by Theresa Fuller
Date read: 7th June 2018 – 11th June 2018
Page count: 350
Genre: Steampunk (Science Fiction/Historical Fiction)
Format: Kindle Edition (arc from NetGalley)
I received this arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I love a good Steampunk – especially a new good steampunk, and the market is unfortunately rather sparse of well-written examples of the genre. I have found a few gems before (I would recommend the Newbury and Hobbes series by George Mann, which I do plan to review on here at some point) but I’ve been on the lookout for a new read, and I found it in The Ghost Engine.
The Ghost Engine follows the story of Lady Elizabeth Ada Lovelace, granddaughter of Ada Lovelace, one of my personal heroines, and suffragette. Much to the chagrin of her brother, she much prefers getting her hands dirty with a car or a machine than looking for love or finding a husband or even dressing as women at the time were expected to.
In her attempts to break the bounds of the society that holds women in, she sneaks into an auction of a dead man’s belongings and manages to procure the Ghost Engine, a machine which has been said to hold the ghost of Charles Babbage Fotheringay, who worked on the machine with his late father (who is, no surprises her, the man who has just passed away at the beginning of the novel).
On working on the engine, Elizabeth finds herself sucked into the insides of the contraption, and into the arms of the annoyingly stubborn ‘ghost’ – Charles Fotheringay. Together, they must discover the way out of the engine, whilst dodging the seemingly malicious intentions of the engine itself.
This book was incredibly well written, fast-paced and not too heavy on the detailed descriptions. Whilst the inside of the machine certainly felt fleshed out and real, the action never stopped for a moment, which definitely worked within a novel involving such fast-paced events.
Elizabeth was an amazing character, feisty and interesting, and always willing to speak her own mind and go her own way. Of course, the early 20th Century suffragette trope is a pretty overused one, to my mind, in modern-day fiction, but it was done very well here.
There is an element of romance to this book, and I feel like it actually added to the story in this case, rather than taking anything away (as can occasionally be the case in books that triumph strong female narrators). But, overall, the main theme in this book is definitely female power and, of course, steampunk science fiction.
Overall, I gave this book a solid 5 star rating out of 5, and I think this is one anyone who wants to try out steampunk should have a go with. It isn’t too outlandish, so it’s a good introduction to the genre for those who don’t know a whole lot about it. However, overall, this is just a brilliant book, and one I wholly recommend.