Title: Magpie’s Song
Author: Allison Pang
Read harder Challenge: Yes possibly :); A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author (If steampunk is sci fi!)
Star Review: ♥♥♥♥ /5
Guys, this book was going to be two stars. I swear it was. It started and my eyes rolled so hard. But something magical happened, and I was drawn in, and now I’m left feeling upset that I finished it before the obvious sequel is ready. That’s a good problem to have!
Mags is a Moon Child, member of a downtrodden caste in a steampunk world. Moon Children are exceptional because they are unable to catch The Rot, a disease that infects the other 2/3 of the book’s population.
Hijinks ensue, one thing leads to another, and Mags finds herself in a conspiracy to overthrow the government (or at least the social structure), she has an automaton dragon that seems to be intelligent life, and everyone keeps looking sideways at her one-of-a-kind mechanical heart that was probably put there by the most famous inventor/scientist of all time. You know, as one does. I can’t read that and not want to keep reading, so I don’t think you will either!
This reads a bit like a grittier (but not much grittier) Cinder, which is a good thing. The world-building’s pretty good, the character development is solid, and I’m invested in Mags and her ragtag group. The misadventures that happen hit hard, as they should. No one should be able to change the fate of the world without a few losses.
There are a few moments in the book that made me raise an eyebrow of incredulity, but the piece as a whole works without stressing out my suspension of disbelief too much. At the end of any book that’s intended to have a sequel, there’s a spectrum of endings that run the gamut between total resolution and total cliffhanger. My preference is solidly in the middle. This book ignores my preference and goes for absolute cliffhanger, while I don’t love.
I’d recommend this book for fans of YA fantasy and sci fi, or fans of steampunk. If you liked Cinder, or the Red Queen series, this would be great for you! It’s different enough to enjoy but gives you a new world to escape into and a new “Strong Female Lead” to love. It climbed its way from 2 to 4 stars, which is hard to do! I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to the next one.