Author: Elizabeth Bear
Synopsis: “Set in the late nineteenth century – in a city a lot like what we now call Seattle Underground – when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a young woman on her own, making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house – a resourceful group – and the poor and the powerful of the town.
“Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap – a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
“Hard on the heels of that horrifying discovery comes a lawman who has been chasing this killer for months. Marshal Bass Reeves is closing in on his man, and he’s not about to reject any help he can get, even if it comes from a girl who works in the Hôtel Mon Cheri.”
Review: I have yet to meet a novel by Elizabeth Bear that I didn’t like. That goes for Karen Memory as well. This novel sucked me in and would not let me go. I mean, just look at the first line: “You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway”. Told in the first person, Karen Memory allows us to see inside the head of Karen Memery, which is fascinating. As readers we get to see coarse, outspoken Karen evolve into a steampunk hero, wielding her sewing machine. One of my favorite things about the novels by Elizabeth Bear is the depth of her characters. Now that I’ve read a novel about Karen Memery I want a novel about Miss. Francine, Karen’s transgender friend. I want a friend like Miss. Francine, any takers?
I love the characters. I love the story. I love this book and I love Elizabeth Bear. Go buy Karen Memory or find it at your local library, you won’t regret it!
Publisher: TOR Books
If you like this book you may want to read:
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan