An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns--and the heroines who use them all Set in Edwardian 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. Told with Adrienne Kress's sharp wit and a great deal of irreverence, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike--well, relatively ladylike--heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.
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The Edwardian era is getting a lot of attention now (credit Downton Abbey, perhaps?), and the details of elaborate dresses and entertainment in this ring true. There's plenty of historic detail even if replicating the language of the era sometimes falls short.
The struggles of the three girls from different backgrounds is really interesting, as is their interaction with each other. Supporting characters add some romance and depth-- interesting how Cora is mad that her employer has a new assistant, but this doesn't keep her from finding him attractive!
The characters! Such distinct, fascinating heroines! I really enjoyed that all three of the heroines felt fully realized (complete backstory, hobbies/interests, unique agenda) and that each of them sounded different from the rest. They each brought their own strengths to the team, and I think any reader can find something relatable here. I was highly entertained and interested by all three.
The scope of the world. I do enjoy a story set in London, no matter what time period, and this was no exception. Turn of the century London, with its flower girls and poverty, its MPs and Parliament meetings, and its privileged few come to life in this story. Add in some steampunk, and you have a fascinating setting!
I enjoyed that the author took her time developing the characters, the situation, and the plot. The plot was an enjoyable journey for the most part as I got to see each heroine's individual personal journey along with the trio's efforts to solve the crimes. I felt fully invested in the outcome of the story.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Overall, this was a very well-written story. There were just a few things that pulled me out of the narrative. In a few instances, two of the heroines would use words that are common slang *now.* Like referring to herself as "smoking hot." That just doesn't sound like something a girl in 1900 London would say. It sounds like something I'd hear from one of my teens today.
I also sometimes got lost a bit during the action scenes. There weren't quite enough setting details given to help me keep a picture in my head of the surroundings or the direction everyone was moving.
Finally, the grand finale fell into the "villain stands there explaining every single detail of the grand plot in a huge monologue" trope, and it interrupted what was, until then, a really awesome action sequence.
Three fascinating, fully realized heroines with entertaining voices make this steampunk murder mystery a real page turner.