Friday, June 27, 2008

Book Review: The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson

Although political boundaries were redefined following Napoleon’s historic victory at Waterloo, 1920s Europe may be on the brink of another war. Despite being sheltered under the wing of her distant, séance-loving great aunt, fifteen-year-old Sophie is becoming more and more aware that she lives in a world of chilling new technology.

Sophie discovers her own abilities as a medium and learns that she may hold the key to preventing Scotland’s power-hungry leaders from stirring up the violence that serves their dark purposes. But few people in Sophie’s circle of acquaintances are what they seem to be, and there may be no one she can trust.

This book was as compelling as any I’ve read in quite a while. The stakes are high, and as I neared the end I cared a great deal—but couldn’t see how Sophie was going to escape the fate of being surgically altered into a mindless cog in the government’s machinery. This is a solid read that paints a vivid, believable picture of an alternate history in which the outcome of a single battle created a world where spiritualism is a real science, Scotland is a potential military threat to the rest of Europe, and young women are remade into near-zombies for the supposed good of the country.

The Explosionist is ambitious, and Jenny Davidson lives up to the challenging task she sets herself in this book. I recommend it for anyone in search of a YA novel that stands apart from most of the books on the shelves today.


Suzanne Young said...

I love that cover! It's great to see the variety in YA! A flavor for everyone!

Great review, Sasha!!!

Em said...

Ohh, I heard about this one. Glad to hear that it's good. :)

Chantal said...

The cover is beautiful and I LOVE LOVE LOVE alternate history! I didn't think I would until I read Phillip K. Dick. I'm gonna look for this book when I get to Europe.

Word verification: cugvwew
Sounds like something I'd actually name one of my characters.

(this is Thump, btw)