In the young adult steampunk fantasy “A Machine Divine,” biological engineering and mechanical robots are commonplace. Asher, a genius in biology, is 17 years old. Callie, on the other hand, has a passion for trapping and taking care of animals. It is seen as a great honour when both applicants get accepted to the prestigious Langford University in Riali. It is uncommon for someone from the agriculturally oriented Vana to be offered such a chance.
But when a chemical terrorist begins targeting school functions and killing people, they will have to choose between remaining hidden and taking it easy or taking a chance on being singled out as outsiders and probable suspects in order to save Riali. Detailed descriptions of this steampunk-era society and its various creatures, machines, and cultures, together with the urgency that drives the book’s tempo, combine to create a story that is ripe for telling. I liked how Asher, Nico, and Callie were so very different from one another.
Despite coming from such disparate backgrounds, they cooperate in an effort to protect the greater good. Each of the three has unique skill sets, prejudices, fears, and reasons for acting the way they do. Although Nico’s motivations ultimately revolve around serving the needs of the top-secret organisation he was born into, it was still clear that he had his own ideas and beliefs, which caused me to feel sorry for him and want that he ultimately takes the right decisions.
Even a few of the minor supporting figures, including Roman, Autumn, Avee, Kiara, and the numerous teachers, have radically different identities, personalities, and goals. This created a cast that was simple for me to visualise while I read the novel. I found it increasingly difficult to put down “A Machine Divine” as I read farther into it because I was so anxious to find out what would happen next. When reading Derek Paul’s novel, readers will go through a wide range of emotions.
They will experience the anxiety of being thrust into a strange environment that is very dissimilar from their upbringing. They will experience joy as Asher and Callie carve themselves distinct identities inside the university, worry that Asher might be getting into trouble by giving his new, rich peers psychedelic drugs to help him fit in, and, on occasion, tremendous sadness.
“A Machine Divine” gets off to a great start with plenty of chances for Asher and Callie to venture out into the world and pursue their goals. The realisation that some people may never accept you because of where you are from and that it may be more essential to be true to yourself than compromise your ideas to please the wrong people, however, makes academics and peer pressure seem insignificant in comparison.
As the lines are set and, in the case of Asher and Callie, war creeps over the threshold, all too frequently the people we try so hard to please end up leaving us hanging. I suggest “A Machine Divine” to readers who like YA fantasy and science fiction as well as fantasy and scientific fiction in general. Looking forward to reading the upcoming book in this series, which is likely to be a success!
About The Book
Asher Auden is a biology prodigy whose work led to an economic boom for his rural hometown but has left him feeling isolated and alone. Callendra Saint is an introvert and the town’s most prolific, yet reluctant, animal trapper. The two are presented with an opportunity of a lifetime when they are accepted into a prestigious university at the heart of the nation’s capital. As they adjust to new surroundings, Callie embraces her independence while Asher’s gifts land him the social acceptance he’s long desired.
But, they aren’t the only new arrivals.
A gas-masked terrorist has begun plaguing the city, poisoning its leaders, and sowing political discord. Equipped with the prowess to develop an antidote, Asher sets out to protect his new friends while enlisting the support of Callie, the only person he can trust. In doing so, he unknowingly ensnares them both in a covert investigation, an ancient society’s conspiracies, and the ambitions of a deadly menace.
A Machine Divine
This book was an absolute page turner. There was such a great flow between setting up the scenes, introducing characters, and the action! The world building is exceptional and the characters are so well crafted that I cannot wait to see what may be next in their stories. I especially love Callie. The themes of the novel are very relatable, whether as a young adult or older. This novel was so well done it’s hard to believe that this is a debut work for this author. Can’t wait to see what Derek Paul has up his sleeve next and to continue on the journey with Asher and Callie!!!
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