Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine

Read: 13 July, 2012

The Circus Tresaulti is the circus that never dies. It is a haven for soldiers, orphaned children, and other victims of the wars that have ravaged the world. It is the one splash of colour and wonderment left to a people reduced to mere survival.

I picked up Mechanique after it got a fan review on Sword and Laser. I’m attracted to the visuals of steampunk, but I’ve never really delved into the genre.

The story is told in a non-linear collection of vignettes, and they cover the origins of the circus, as well as a “present day” plot line involving efforts to re-establish civilization.

I found Mechanique to be very interesting and entertaining. The combination between style and subject made it quite lyrical, particularly all the references to music, and I’ve rarely seen parentheses used to such great effect. Unfortunately, there are some proof reading errors (“…and then she hears a the[sic] chord shift to a minor key…” (p. 264) that are somewhat jarring.

But mostly, I just didn’t feel like I took anything away from the book. Stuff happens and the writing is quite beautiful, but I felt like I was just watching the story unfold from a removed vantage point; like I was strolling along a path that doesn’t go anywhere. Then again, maybe that was the point.

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