- Published: 2016
- Number of pages: 429 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 1.37 MB
- Authors: Evangeline Denmark
Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her 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.
Review “A wonderfully appealing writing voice and engaging characters immediately draw readers into this dystopian story. The imaginative worldbuilding (not one but two!) and swoon-worthy romances complete the attraction, making this novel difficult to put down until the very last word has been savored.” – RT Book Reviews, Top Pick February 2016 From School Library Journal Gr 8 Up—Grey Haward’s life is nothing out of the ordinary. She, like everyone else in her town, spends most of her time trying to avoid the Chemists’s notice—both fearing the powerful alchemists and needing a daily ration of their potion to survive. Life with the Chemists is life in a police state, with violence doled out to those who break the law. When Grey’s friend Whit is striped for an offense Grey feels responsible for, she stands up for him, unleashing an inner power and a family secret about a group of fighters long believed extinct. Thrust into a whole new world, Grey must figure out how to channel her newfound abilities in order to save herself and those she cares for. There are many threads in this book, and unfortunately, not all of them are woven successfully. At times, this work reads like two completely separate stories with only the names of the characters as a constant. The connection between the world of Curio and Grey’s regular life does not feel fully developed, nor does the Defender/Chemist battle, although this looks to be addressed in a forthcoming prequel. VERDICT Purchase only where there is a ravenous fandom for steampunk and dystopia.—Heather Webb, Worthington Libraries, OH –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:
⭐ Actual rating: 4.5 starsA wondrous mix of fantasy, dystopian, and steampunk with inventive twists and turns, Curio is a great new novel by Evangeline Denmark! I am a huge fan of steampunk, so naturally this novel caught my eye. However, this being said, I am also extremely picky about my steampunk. Some authors don’t do it justice and fail epically, while other authors offer mind-blowing worlds that capture the exact essence of steampunk. I am happy to say that this novel is a perfect steampunk novel that everyone can enjoy. Every scene has a little hint of steampunk in it, but it’s never overwhelming. One of the reasons this works so well is how Evangeline Denmark incorporated elements of other genres into the story as well. There’s fantasy when we get to the Curio world, there’s dystopian when we are in both worlds, and then there’s a bit of romance. Everything is perfectly balanced, and it makes this book even more enjoyable.The writing was absolutely wonderful and Evangeline Denmark crafted a fantastical adventure that sweeps you away from the first page. There are so many secrets waiting to be uncovered, and I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for these secrets to be unveiled. And when these secrets are revealed, well let’s just say, you will be pleasantly surprised. This book isn’t that predictable, which is extremely refreshing, and you will find yourself guessing every thing. There are many twists and turns you won’t see coming, and the world that Evangeline Denmark has developed is so intriguing. My only complaint was that I wished for a little more description of the fantasy elements. I don’t know if this will be explained in future novels, but I didn’t like just accepting that these elements existed with no explanation. I wanted to know more! However, I am extremely excited to learn more about the Defenders and the Chemists in future books. It’s such a unique and creative aspect of this novel, and I can’t wait to see where Evangeline Denmark takes the series in this regard.Grey is an amazing female lead, and easily one of my favorite steampunk ladies. Grey is so real and relatable, even though she’s quite different than everyone around her. She has insecurities and is very uncertain of herself and her future. But, I loved how once Grey was transported to another world, she immediately took charge, and was able to fend for herself. She let the restrictions that had imprisoned her during her upbringing fall away, and was able to think on her feet and find her true inner strength. Grey’s growth and development over the course of this novel is perfect and extremely well written. Ultimately though she learns what it truly means to be a Defender, and the entire ending is truly magnificent in both character development and storytelling.I highly recommend checking this novel out if you are a fan of steampunk novels or are looking to get into the genre. This would serve as a good introduction to the steampunk world without being too overwhelming. Plus, with the other genres mixed in, this novel has a little bit of something for everyone! Every character is unique and different from anything I have read previously, and I am excited to see what happens next in the Curio series!Happy reading 🙂
⭐ *Originally reviewed on Goodreads and My Blog*This book was pretty freaking awesome! I felt like I was in a strange Doctor Who episode in a sense, but not as good as Doctor Who =):There are evil, evil Chemists, Porcie’s (porcelain people), clockwork people (although, they don’t look like the Doctor Who ones, just people like), Defenders, Warriors, stone people ← for reasons and other stuff.::All of the people in the town have to take a potion that gets rationed out daily for the people to stay alive. There is a whole thing about that you can read in the book.But, Grey and her family are different. The men in the family are different and Grey herself. They are strong and they may not even need to take the ration. And why are they so big and strong?All of this stuff goes down in the beginning with Grey and her best friend Whit. Some things happen and he gets taken away to be um, taught a lesson. This upsets not only Whit’s mom, but Grey, her father, grandfather and her mom. They try to help the family but this evil Chemist named Adante comes and starts trouble. (I hate him!)It ends up that Grey is on the run for her life and her grandfather tells her to go to his shop where she works with him and one of his assistants. Well . . . instead of Alice falling down the rabbit hole, Grey gets tossed into the Curio Cabinet. Yes, I know that sounds funny as all get out but it was freaking cool after she got to the bottom. This is where she meets all of the porcelain people, the tocks and the infamous, Mad Tock. She’s actually supposed to find him for reasons.It ends up being an amazingly, bizarre book that I just loved. I had a little crush on the Mad Tock too, he’s not what you think he is and neither is a lot of people for that matter!♥ Thank you for looking at my review ♥
⭐ Any other book I read for 2016 will have a hard time competing.Curio is one of those books that I wish I’d written. From the first page, I fell straight into Gray’s world. And the world-within-a-world. Not only is there the real world, which is controlled by the exacting Alchemists, there’s also the world inside of the curio cabinet. I felt a part of both worlds although if I had to pick, I like the world inside of the curio a bit better. Why? Because it’s inhabited by Porcies, porcelain people reliant on steam-run “jitter pumps”, and metal mechanical people who must be wound. Then there are the outcasts, less than perfect Porcies.I also highly recommend the prequel, The Mark of Blood and Alchemy. I read it after I read Curio. I’m glad I read it second, but I think I would have understood the Alchemists and grandfather’s roles a bit better. However, it made the mystery of Curio more exciting not knowing about the history of the various peoples.I received a copy of Curio in exchange for an honest review.
⭐ If you love steampunk and/or magical worlds, then Curio is quite a treat! I admit that I don’t know that much about the steampunk genre, but I do have an interest in the steampunk fashion/convention scene, and the atmosphere of Evangeline Denmark’s novel evokes what I imagined a steampunk world would FEEL like. This is a BIG book, in the sense that I did not expect the world to be so complex and multi-layered. If you find yourself confused at any point, hang on—it will all make sense in the end. Denmark’s imagination is incredible, and the introduction of a world within a world that has its own unique cast of characters, including “tocks” and “porcies,” was unlike anything I’ve come across in Young Adult fiction (a genre where trends are often imitated to the point of frustration and boredom). Gray’s adventure in Curio City was definitely one of my favorite parts of the story. Speaking of Gray, she’s an awesome heroine. Strong and admirable, but not overly “girl power” to the point that I felt like I already knew her entire story by the end of page one. Gray was sympathetic and real, and I enjoyed following her through this fascinating world!
⭐ Denmark weaves steam powered machines, clockwork beings, and alchemy-powered cities into a visually stunning work of art. While I enjoy steampunk in art and fashion, I had not read a steampunk book until Curio – and I was very impressed! I’ve rarely read a book that gave me such clear and beautiful imagery.On top of that, the characters are excellent. Grey, the heroine, is a determined, warmhearted young woman in a culture bent on crushing her spirit when she is thrust into a world and battle that she only just found out her family was a part of. Her struggles and triumphs are believable, relatable, and make for a riveting story.I am recommending this book to all the readers in my personal life, and to all you Amazon folks as well!
⭐ I couldn’t put this book down. Denmark had me wrapped around her finger with her masterful storytelling, and Oh, the places she led me! I visited not one but TWO fantastical, fully developed worlds with intricate and intriguing details woven into the narrative. The dual plots kept me guessing, the action and danger kept me on the edge of my seat, and the characters made me feel brave, afraid, and in love. I feel like I’ve just returned home from a fantastical adventure, and that I made awesome new friends along the way. I can’t wait to take another journey with them!
⭐ I read this book as a part of an online monthly book club and I am so glad that I did! I have always enjoyed fantasy and historical fiction and this beautifully combines both seamlessly. I have also been drawn to the steampunk genre recently and this was a perfect example of what I wanted to read and experience.The author does such a great job at creating and developing not just one world but two imaginative worlds. The characters were easy to relate to because they all had strengths and weaknesses that make them human. Once you enter into this world you do not want to leave it and I hope that this adventure continues soon.I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to explore a world full of imagination. It does not fit into just one genre but many and it is a fast paced book that reveals more and more with each page. I bought it for my kindle but I enjoyed it so much that I want to buy the book version so that I can but it among my favorites on my bookshelf.
⭐ Evangeline Denmark’s “Curio” is too broad and creative to stay relegated to the genre of “steampunk.” The world-building is amazing, with some very familiar elements, and some fantastical. The characters have depth, and the plot is anything but predictable. What I liked best was watching the characters discover the truth about themselves and how their choices made real changes in their worlds.If I had any least-favorite part, it would be that the worlds have such untapped history and the characters are so deep that one book isn’t going to cut it. I want more.(This reviewer was given an advanced reader copy by the publisher.)
⭐ An action-packed romp through an alternative world inhabited by all sorts of fantastical creations. I’m not a huge fan of steampunk, but Denmark’s take on the genre was enjoyable and unique. The characters are engaging, and the story kept me wondering what was going to happen next. A great read for those who enjoy steampunk or speculative fiction.
⭐ From the moment I slipped into the pages of Curio I was transported. Evangeline Denmark has written an intricately webbed story that will make your heart race and your mind thrill. But, be prepared. The Mad Tock, powerful chemists, and wicked porcies roam these pages. Danger, adventure, romance, and imaginative settings galore! I haven’t been so enthralled since my childhood favorites of The Labyrinth and The Neverending Story.”
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