Volumes 1-4 of the Magnificent Devices Series concerns the tale of Claire Trevelyan and her struggles in becoming a lady and fulfilling her dream of attending university.
Fresh out of school, newly titled Lady Claire finds herself homeless and penniless after her father wagered everything on a combustion engine. While making her own way in the world she begins an unusual partnership with local gang who, throughout the course of the series, become very dear to her. The scientist Andrew Malvern provides her with encouragement and the opportunity to prove herself in the face of her mother’s disapproval and the uncomfortable situation she finds herself in with Lord James Selwyn suitor and asshat extraordinaire. Other colourful characters met along the way include: an airship captain with a talent for automatons, the inventor of the great Zepplin airships, a famous activist and her daughter, an unusual rich couple, and a missing father.
The strength of our main character in the face of opposition is one of the things that kept me hooked on the story. Lady Claire is intelligent and resourceful in a pinch. Her strong bond with the people she loves makes her a very likable character. The writing is simple but enjoyable and the plot is thoroughly engaging. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first four in the series, in the following books the focus is shifted from Lady Claire to the Mopsies. Who, while they were a great source of fun, mischief and heart in the first four, didn’t appeal to me as leading characters in the latter books.
Steam power, trains, airships, adventure, romance, lost children, mechanics and diamond mines all weave together to make an entertaining read suitable for, and recommended to, any young lady of resources!