This was absolutely fucking brilliant.
Just like I was all buzzed about Archivist Wasp, I am going to be recommending this book to everyone this year.
So, it’s the future. There’s been some sort of disaster that has meant the population has been radically reduced, lots of people are born without bits of them (eyes, arms, legs etc) and computers are banned. In this world we have Nell Crane, daughter of famous inventors in this world. Owner of one mechanical heart.
All the young people need to make a ‘contribution’ of some sort when they are old enough, to take their place in society or essentially become a manual labourer. Nell is no different. However, her audacious plan is to build a mechanical boy and even thinks about using the forbidden technology to do so.
But it’s so much more than that.
It’s about working out difficult relationships between you and your friends (or those who want to be more than your friend). It’s about dealing with your family, your past and what you want your future to be.
Nell is such a wonderful character. She is fierce and flaws in equal measure. She procrastinates, she’s impulsive. She’s so audacious and unforgiving about those who can’t share in her vision.
The world building was great. You get a sense of this new world and how it’s a mix of old and new. You can feel what the disaster meant to people and how it affects them. But it also moves quickly. You have to take some pretty large leaps of imagination to believe some of the things that can be done (especially what Nell does). But it all still fits. Sure, we may not get the detail, but I think you can still buy into it.
Also, lots of very strong women (Nell, Ruby, Nan Cora), who are all brilliant and fierce and intelligent. Also lots of not putting up with shit you don’t like (like Nell dealing with the boy who has had a crush on her for ages).
It’s just so beautiful. Beautiful.
And the end takes you by storm. It’s not the ending that I expected but it felt better than what I wanted. It felt right to have Nell be in charge of her future. It was a more impactful resolution to the entire story and I was left racing through the last few pages.
What a book. GO READ IT.