Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

The Basics:
Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
YA, Steampunk
Published December 1, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I loved that cover and 'steampunk YA' had me on board.


A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.
When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.
On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings...or is the motive more sinister?
Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.
My thoughts:

Ticker is a beautiful mix of emotion and invention that I would best summarize with the image of a clockwork heart skipping beats as family is threatened and love at first sight strikes!

Mantchev's young adult steampunk novel takes the reader racing across a delightfully rendered landscape. Set in the city of Bazalgate, we go from cake factory to busy city streets, factory to family home and even up into an impressive airship. I loved the steampunk details - clockwork heart, augmentations, beetles and spiders, weaponry, transportation and the like. There's also some impressive fashion choices that had me longing, just for a moment, for the talent to make costumes. Really though, when would I ever find the time to exercise that skill? Far too many good books out there to read!

What I'm trying to say is that Ticker has all the bits and bobs I like to see in a solid steampunk novel, including some novel inventions - possibly my favourite are the mundane bits of equipment at the sweets shop! The flavour of this book is spot on, and I loved that. I sank right into this world, enjoying every delightful detail that the book imparted. 

The story itself is go-go-go with constantly escalating threats and plenty of action, violence and tension to keep things interesting. I found the villain appropriately, and alternately, menacing and sympathetic. His heart is in the right place (hahaha) even if his methods are horrific. 

What I didn't buy completely was the romance between Penny and Marcus. This was a wee bit too 'insta-love' for me. I didn't mind all the butterflies (mechanical and hormonal) nor the instant attraction. What I bugged me was that they fell so easily into it. I wanted some kind of flailing, some resistance, some acknowledgement that forging a romance in the middle of all this chaos and danger isn't a recipe for anything lasting. There was something lovely about it once the book got going, but right off the bat? I wanted something a little less predictable - or at least more explanation, more struggle, more build to love.

Bottom line:

Ticker is a delightful steampunk novel for the YA reader. There's more cultural/social freedom in this setting than in the typical Victorian steampunk story, which is a nice twist. The fast-paced plot had me sailing through the pages, even when the romance made me roll my eyes (at least at first). 

Worth a read!

4 stars
For fans of steampunk, YA, delicious sweet treats

But don't just take my word for it! I grabbed a few links to other blog reviews of Ticker:

Life of a Random

Debbie Davis

Nick's Book Blog

Romance and Smut


  1. Not ever heard of this one but it sounds interesting. Great review! :)

  2. I have seen this one around and actually am pre-approved for it on netgalley but I passed it by since I really need to stop requesting from Netgalley. I am now sad I did. I love steampunk books and this looks like one I might have enjoyed. Will have to see if it is still available. Awesome review!!!

    1. It's not a perfect book, but it's a heck of a lot of fun! I'm sure you can sneak it into your line-up! (I may be an enabler when it comes to book reading addictions....)

  3. I'm so excited that you liked this and that it worked so well with the steam punk, even if the romance wasn't great. I grabbed this book with Kindle First so I'm looking forward to reading it even more now! Great Review!