In my early Kindle days, when I read at all hours of the night/day while nursing my son, I read The Book of Deacon. There were a lot of books read during that time, so the fact that I remember reading and enjoying it means…something. Something good, I think. I fully intend to read it again sometime and leave it with a proper review.
One day I was browsing the “just added” audiobooks on Hoopla when the familiar name Joseph R. Lallo caught my eye. So I favorited Free-Wrench for when I was ready for a new audiobook.
I was also excited to see the rest of the Deacon series is available, as well as most of Lallo’s sci-fi series Big Sigma. The wide selection of titles, often including indie-pubbed works, is one of the reasons I really enjoy Hoopla.
Steampunk / Adventure
The islands of Caldara are a shining jewel in a rather bleak world. A terrible calamity in the past had blanketed much of the world with a toxic “fug.” Those who survived were forced to take to the mountains and the skies in wondrous airships. Life has since been a struggle, with only the most ruthless and crafty able to survive. To spare themselves the same fate, the Calderans erected a battery of guns to fend off the airships of the mainland. They isolated themselves from the madness of the world, choosing instead to focus on the pursuits of art and creativity. Few believe the technologically advanced but socially barbarous outsiders have anything to offer. Amanita Graus, though, is hoping that they do.
Nita’s mother has lost her livelihood and perhaps soon her life to a terrible disease. Already the black sheep of the family for embracing engineering rather than art, Nita resolves to leave the safety of her home and do whatever it takes to find a cure. For a price, the bizarre crew of an airship called The Wind Breaker are willing to grant her a meeting with their mysterious benefactors, and thus a chance to procure the one thing with a chance to save her mother.
Free-Wrench follows Nita’s adventures in a steampunk world of airships and lunatics. Helping her in her journey are an eccentric crew of smugglers; the gruff Cap’n Mack, the simple but enthusiastic Lil and Coop, the arrogant marksman Gunner, the surly surgeon Butch, and the irritable mascot Wink. To survive and find what she seeks she’ll need to earn their trust, follow their rules, and meet face to face with the people who pull the strings of their society. (Goodreads) // (as of writing this) Free on Amazon
Audiobook-specific note: At first I didn’t like the narrator, but she grew on me.
4 of 5 stars!
I really liked Nita. Impulsive, somewhat-misfit Nita, who appreciates the inner workings of things more than she cares about their aesthetics. I loved how she could be impulsive, and focused, and selfish, even if it was in the pursuit of something rather selfless.
The secondary characters were all fun, too. Each with their own unique story and personality. They were half the fun!
I also very much enjoyed the steampunk aspects of the book, and really enjoyed how it was not only an aesthetic for the story but also a key component.
One thing I might have liked to see more of is Nita’s relationships with family and friends on Caldera. But I understand how that would have slowed down the story, and there *are* still two more books. 😀
Do you enjoy steampunk in literature? What are some of your favorites?