Friday, March 29, 2013
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
The Friday Society is about three young ladies who are assistants to rich, powerful, well known men. There's Cora, lab assistant to an inventor; Nellie, assistant to a famous magician; and Michiko, a samurai trained assistant to a fighting instructor. For one reason or another each of the three women were left on their own with no family and happen to meet these men who, with the exception of the magician, do not always appreciate the intelligence or work ethic of their faithful assistants. A chance meeting at a society gathering, a series of murders, and other strange happenings bring Cora, Nellie and Michiko together as they try to solve a mystery or two and save the city of London.
I picked up this book in part because I am participating in a challenge suggested by the online book club Literary Explorations (which I discovered through Goodreads). The challenge is to get out of one's comfort zone and read books from a wide variety of genres over the course of 2013. There are three challenge levels to choose from: easy (12 genres), hard (24 genres), and insane (36 genres). I choose to do the hard challenge and one of the genres I must read is steampunk.
Intrigued by steampunk but not having read much in the genre before, I was really looking to The Friday Society and it did not disappoint. It is not a perfect book. While the three leading ladies were sharply drawn, most of the male characters blend into hard-to-distinguish caricatures. The plot got lost in silliness at times and there were a few stretches where I thought the book should be shorter. However, overall it was fun introduction to steampunk and it has definitely made me interested in continuing to explore the genre. I'm not sure if The Friday Society is the beginning of a series but if it is I would read the next one. I would especially recommend this book to any preteen/teen girl who wants to read about girls who are smart, strong and resourceful.