Book Review: The Lady Astronomer by Katy O’Dowd
Title: The Lady Astronomer
Author: Katy O’Dowd
Amazon rating: 4.0 stars
Lucretia’s quiet life as an astronomer and hat-maker is quickly turned on its head by her brother. He is commanded by the king to build the grandest telescope in the land. Unfortunately for Lucretia, she is introduced to his majesty as her brother’s assistant. Her nights spent on rooftops gazing at the stars are replaced by adventure and danger. In a race to build the Forty-foot telescope on time for the king, her misfortunes take their toll. When Lucretia finds herself held hostage at the Clockwork Court, the innocent country girl doesn’t know who to trust. The lady astronomer finds court life to be more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Even if her brothers manage to build the telescope on time, she might not live to earn her freedom.
With the help of her brothers, Freddie and Al, and her constant companions Leibniz the Lemur and Orion the Eagle Owl, Lucretia embarks on a journey that could change her life forever. Can she find the strength inside to balance her new life and overcome the obstacles threatening her destiny? Only the stars will tell.
Reviewed by Stacy Overby
The Lady Astronomer by Katy O’Dowd is a steampunk tale of a young woman – Lucretia – and her two brothers. One brother is almost a recluse, and the other is a bit of a troublemaker. Lucretia is fascinated by astronomy and tries to focus her life around that. Not much luck when one brother pesters the king enough to get the king to pay for building an enormous telescope. When things go wrong, Lucretia ends up in hot water over it.
I must say, this is my first foray into steampunk and I had fun. I’ve always meant to find some, but just had not gotten there yet. Overall, this is a quick, but enjoyable read. The overall storyline was fun. The pacing felt good. The events lined up and made sense even as they continued to feel a bit off the wall, which worked for me in the context of the story.
I loved Lucretia’s personality. She came off as a good mix of intelligent and feisty woman, yet a little naïve and uncertain of herself at times. Lucretia made a good foil for her two brothers. I also loved that she had a pet owl and a pet lemur, whom she scolded and treated like her children and it felt believable to me.
Finally, I enjoyed the balance of detail and action. O’Dowd did a nice job of adding in just enough detail to create the world and give it that Victorian/technological vibe while making sure the action was not sacrificed in the process.
The one thing that bothered me about Lucretia at times was that it felt like most of the story happened to her, rather than Lucretia acting to move the story along. While I get that happens at times, it felt like Lucretia had some opportunities to change things, but did not. She seemed a little too passive to me at times.
The other thing I struggled some with was the king and his behaviors. He had been played up as this somewhat crazy Willy Wonka type character. Then, toward the end of the book, his behavior changes quite a bit. I didn’t see anything to have spurred that change, so it ended up feeling a little jarring to me.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. For my first foray into the steampunk world, I think this gave me a good introduction. And I love the fact there was a pet lemur in the story. A solid 4-star book. Check it out![bctt tweet=”A quick, but enjoyable read! #amreading #bookreview @dontpanic2011 #ourwriteside” username=”OurWriteSide”]