By Adrienne Kress
3 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 words or less (or a little more): This is a man's world, but it would be nothing without a girl.
An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns–and the heroines who use them all.
Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.
It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.
Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.
Think Charlie's Angels in Victorian London without a Charlie. Not sure that makes sense. Something terrible is afoot on the streets of London and our three heroines have managed to firmly entrench themselves in the fun. Cora strong-willed, intelligent, and terribly stubborn, tinkering with inventions in her master's hidden laboratory. Nellie is a magician's assistant for the Great Raheem. She's beautiful, flexible, and perhaps a little on the naive side. And samurai Michiko, quiet and calculating, helps her master teach self-defense classes to the uppercrust of London society. The three strangers meet by chance after a gala one evening and stumble upon a dead body. When the men in their lives fail to take the necessary means to find the assailant, the three girls begin an investigation of their own.
Girl Power!! These girls know their minds and their strengths. But more than anything, they know they are stronger together. Each of them finds their niche. Cora is an inventor, so her gadgets come in super helpful (see below for additional awesome), Nellie is pretty wicked as the magician's assistant. She's flexible; she's stealthy; and she can totally kick butt. And Michiko...the girl is lethal with her samurai sword and she's into parkour.
More awesome. I mentioned awesome weapons, and one in-particular is beyond awesome. You can take it all to pieces and store them on your person, and with the flip of a switch, they all come flying together into a whole gun. No assembly necessary, it does it by itself. And to top it all off, it disintegrates people. Zapp-o gone. That simple. A.W.E.S.O.M.E.
The Not So Awesome:
The story wanted to be hip, but something was lost in translation. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the read, but between very predictable moments and some cheesy "girl time", it was all a bit much. There was too much relationship building and not enough action. And the book was a little low on steampunk-isnness.
That being said, pick up The Friday Society the next time you visit your local library. And if you like it, I sooo recommend the Nebury and Hobbes series by George Mann.