Lady of Devices – Victorian Feminist Steampunk

Book Review : Lady of Devices
Magnificent Devices #1
By Shelley Adina


Spoiler Alert!



London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world. At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices . . . When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, and business partner to James Selwyn she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .(Courtesy of

Adult Point of View

Shelley Adina’s Lady of Devices is the first ebook that I would say is well worth buying. The plotting  is set up in such a way that within the first few chapters I knew how everything would wrap up – except I was completely wrong! Delightfully wrong! You don’t have to be a fan of steampunk to like this book, but it is geared to a female audience with a background in Regency and Victorian stories.

Claire matures quickly when faced with the challenges brought on by her father’s speculations. Her mother has much the qualities of a Regency Mrs. Bennett, without a dose of realism and bent on a marriage proposal her daughter. Claire is more take charge than Elizabeth Bennett and will find a path for her own ambition while retaining a sense of refinement.

Lady of Devices has become a rather long series. The break after book four is a good place to stop. Book five isn’t as devilishly twisty but then book six starts right up again careening wildly like a steam powered top if you need more from the Lady. As a word of advice, remember the insignificant characters because it is likely they will come back.

Adina has built a believable world balanced on change of the Bloods and the Wits paired with the industrial revolution, exploration and monopolies. This is a must read when you need something whimsical, adventurous and touting a Victorian feminist.

4 out of 5 stars
4 star

  • the Mother

If you liked this one you must try Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede. Also try Mairelon the Magician by Patricia Wrede.

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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