Review of Mirrors & Magic by Katina French


This one gets 4 stars of 5

This is book 3 in a series called “The Clockwork Republic,” but don’t be put off by that point. Each story in the series is an independent story in the same world. They’re subtitled “Steampunk Fairy Tales,” and this is the first one I read. It won’t be the last.

It’s a ton of fun.

I have a soft spot for circus stories, I love alternate histories with a touch of magic, and I can seldom resist steampunk even when the gimmicks strain my suspended disbelief to the breaking point. This book had me at circus and never let go.

I found the whole read to be as light and chewy as caramel corn and twice as addictive. It’s a triple play of fun: a coming-of-age story, a light fantasy, and a classic tale painted up in a fresh, delightful coat of steampunk styling.

The plot starts with action, weaves and dances through backstory as lightly as an acrobat, and makes a lovely shadow-play out of the necessary world-building. There is enough description to deftly evoke the look and feel of the places and people, but not so much that it weighs down the action. The language is beautifully evocative, but never overwhelms.

This is a book of bright colors and dark secrets, easy on the angst and strong on sassy dialogue. Have a seat on the bench, grab the snack of your choice, and settle in to enjoy the show.Then come back for an encore performance with the other two books. I know I will.