Blog Tour: The Friday Society-Review & Guest Post!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Title: The Friday Society
Author: Adrienne Kress
Format: Harcover, 440 pages
Genre: YA, Steampunk
Publication Date: December 6, 2012
Published by: Penguin Canada, Razorbill Canada
Source: ARC received from Publisher for honest review

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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.

About the Author

Adrienne Kress is a Toronto born actor and author who loves to play make-believe. She also loves hot chocolate. And cheese. Not necessarily together.

She is the author of two children's novels: ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN and TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON'S GATE (Scholastic). Her debut YA novel, THE FRIDAY SOCIETY, launches Fall 2012 from Dial, Penguin.

She is a theatre graduate of the Univeristy of Toronto and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in the UK. Published around the world, ALEX was featured in the New York Post as a "Post Potter Pick," as well as on the CBS early show. It won the Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award in the UK and was nominated for the Red Cedar. The sequel, TIMOTHY, was nominated for the Audie, Red Cedar and Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, and was recently optioned for film. 

  My Thoughts

I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time. Adrienne Kress is a local author in my town and I have to say that I am very proud of her leap into the Young Adult genre. Originally she wrote a middle grade book called Alex and the Ironic Gentlemen which was followed by Timothy and the Dragon's Gate. 

The Friday Society starts off with introducing each main characters; Nellie, the Magicians Assistant; Cora, the Lab Assistant and Michiko, Japanese fight Assistant. These three girls become the center point for everything that happens within the story. 

I loved the way each story interconnected and hoe each girl seamlessly had her own voice, even though the story was written in three different points of view (which can be hard). I also loved that their points of view seemed to merge as the story progressed which gave a very good pace to the novel. 

The girls themselves were very entertaining as characters but I found myself liking certain characters over others. For instance, I liked Cora the best, just because she was funny and sarcastic yet extremely independant. While I liked Michiko the least, mostly because I did't feel any connection to her character. But all three girls possessed verything I loved in a lead female character: strength, drive and independance from men. They are great characters that young girls should be read about. 

I do wish that there was more background on the three men that taught these girls. They seemed very interesting in and of themselves and I really hope that we get to see more of them in the books to come. 

The writing style is simple yet fun. It allows the characters themselves to shine rather than describe a scene or place. I rather liked that in comparison to the recent books that I have read. 

3.5 Stars 

Guest Post

Why Steampunk, why now?

It’s interesting to observe Steampunk gaining . . . uh . . .steam. This time last year we had a Justin Bieber Steampunk music video, and Barney’s had a Steampunk Holiday window theme. And yet that wasn’t even the apex. This year we have more books than ever coming out in both the adult and YA markets. As well as several TV shows and movies, either wholly Steampunk or with delightful Steampunk flavouring. And the fashion industry has happily taken it onboard– heck Tyra Banks did a Steampunk photoshoot with her top model candidates this past cycle.

But why Steampunk now?

Sometimes things just gain momentum and that’s all there is to it. But I do believe that, in the case of Steampunk, its current popularity reflects the current state of our society. The popularity of the oldy-timey Steampunk actually is a very modern thing.

Here are some of my thoughts on why:
1. We live in an age of magic. Most of us don’t actually understand how the tools we use work. I have this flat rectangular box that allows me to call people, take pictures, communicate by typing, play games and music, watch videos, etc., and so forth. It’s a magic box. How does it work? I have no idea. I really don’t. And most of us don’t. We live in a magical world, not quite understanding why things happen the way they do, but we are grateful for it nonetheless.

Still, the not knowing can also be frustrating. Steampunk technology, on the other hand, is human-sized. Where modern technology in some cases needs magnifying glasses or even a microscope to interact with it, Steampunk tech consists of gears, levers, etc. Basically it’s a world of Rube Goldberg-y devices, one thing affecting another. We can see it happen. Further we can understand how it happens, which means we can make it ourselves. You can look at it and think . . . that makes sense. Things that make sense are enjoyable.

2. Making stuff has become a popular trend. I think this also stems from living in a magical world. Since everything is pre-packaged, pre-made, just press a button and the food is hot, people are starting to rebel slightly. Twenty-somethings, considered first adopters of any new technology, now are also getting into cooking, and knitting, and crafts. It’s like we’re going through another Arts and Crafts movement. This is what also draws people to Steampunk: making your own clothes, props, inventions.

3. Whatever you think of the Hipster dogma (the “it’s only cool if no one else knows about it” thing), you can’t deny its influence on fashion. Steampunk fashion has a great deal of crossover with it. Suspenders, button down shirts, hats and moustaches. It’s hard to know which came first, Steampunk or the Hipster (the Hipsters would say they did, of course), but each has contributed to the popularity of the other.

4. There is something of the slower pace of the past that people also enjoy in the present. It’s nothing new to say we live in a fast-paced world. If I don’t answer an email the day of, the sender worries something’s wrong. If I don’t answer a text almost instantly, I’m ignoring my friend. Obviously the Victorian/Edwardian period was much slower. Steampunk societies go for group outings that usually consist of walks. Steampunk creators take their time working on their projects. It’s a different tempo.

5. Manners. Whether or not we are less mannered now is a matter of opinion. Surely in some ways, definitely, but then again, I don’t think the lower classes from the Victorian period were necessarily all polite speech. Nor do I always see manners as being all positive. Sometimes the habit of tradition can get in the way of logic and progress. That being said, it’s nice to have a bit of formality. It’s nice for people to speak with some flare and a careful choice of words. It’s nice to be polite.

6. Cosplay. This is something specifically geeky, and not about society at large. Cosplay is a form of geekdom where fans will dress up as their favourite character, etc., at a convention.While you’ve always had people dressing up in Star Trek uniforms, cosplay has really exploded in the last decade – thanks in no small part to women attending conventions in higher numbers (not saying that men don’t enjoy it too, but you definitely see a correlation). It is fantastic to see the skill and effort put into making these costumes, and more and more people are getting into it. Steampunk has become a staple of conventions, and there are cosplayers who, having never considered doing Steampunk before, think, “Oh, that’s neat!” I know a group of people who first were introduced to Steampunk when someone suggested they do a Steampunk Xmen.

7. Tea. Everyone loves tea. And high tea, with little sandwiches and cakes . . . so good. So these are some of my theories, and I’m sure others can add their own, so please do below! Ultimately, whatever the reason that Steampunk is so popular at this moment, I’m just happy that it is :)  


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  1. Glad you enjoyed The Friday Society as well! I also liked all the characters but didn't really connect with Michiko. Still, I'm looking forward to more books from Adrienne

  2. Sounds good, i recently like steampunk genre adn this book look good, looking forward to read this book :)