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All Men of Genius (2011)

por Lev AC Rosen

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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24526107,715 (3.56)12
Inspired by two of the most beloved works by literary masters,All Men of Geniustakes place in an alternate Steampunk Victorian London, where science makes the impossible possible. Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. The school is run by his son, Ernest, who continues his father's policy that the small, exclusive college remain male-only. Violet sees her opportunity when her father departs for America. She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry. But keeping the secret of her sex won't be easy, not with her friend Jack's constant habit of pulling pranks, and especially not when the duke's young ward, Cecily, starts to develop feelings for Violet's alter ego, "Ashton." Not to mention blackmail, mysterious killer automata, and the way Violet's pulse quickens whenever the young duke, Ernest, speaks to her. She soon realizes that it's not just keeping her secret until the end of the year faire she has to worry about: it's surviving that long.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Heart of Iron por Ekaterina Sedia (nessreader)
    nessreader: Both are steampunk college-set stories about strong women finding their own strength. Alternatively and not college-fic, for a cheery romp in a postcolonial take on a steampunk brit empire, try Zoe Archer's 4 romances: Rogue, Scoundrel, Warrior + Stranger (which are heavier on the romance side)… (mais)
  2. 00
    Leviathan por Scott Westerfeld (LAKobow)
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Prelim Review: As a big time fan of both Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest, plus steampunk, this was a natural fit for me to enjoy. I had met the author at BEA this year during a double signing with [a:Edward Lazellari|4631640|Edward Lazellari|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1517502365p2/4631640.jpg] for TOR (my publisher for life), but knew nothing about the book. However soon as I began walking away from the table I looked at the backcover and was like 'HOW COULD I NOT KNOW OF THIS?' and almost turned around to fangirl at Rosen just on the grounds of what the book was inspired by.

Yes that is how deep my love is for those two plays.

So how does the book match up to my expections? Fantastically.

Not only is the book peppered with inside jokes and references to the source materials (Bunburry's multiple accidents, cucumber sandwhichs and well the names are a bit more obvious I suppose), but this is possibly one of my favorite steampunk tales to date. Rosen doesn't just pay lip service to the genre, he goes into (sometimes horrifying) detail as well. Its possible I could have done without the lessons in Biology that Jack (Violet's room mate and childhood friend) engages in, but they certainly added a different layer to the tale.

I could wax poetical about the various references for probably a good half hour or more (depending on the mood of the listener), but instead let me focus on the book itself. I would definitely say that Rosen captured the 'feel' of the two plays quite well--it has always seemed to me that neither took itself seriously. Both Wilde and Shakespeare seemed content to let their creations be just a shade over the top and ridiculous. Admittedly the book isn't a farce, but Rosen doesn't let the characters ever think so much of themselves that they become tiresome. Well except perhaps Volio, but he's the bad egg of the piece (more or less) and you expect that of his sort.

At any given time there are about a half dozen or so romances going on, one-sided and otherwise. The centerpiece is of course Violet and Ernest, but through their associates we see the various stages of romance. Her brother Ashton and his romance with a servant, a couple of her new friends paramours, Cecily's infatuation with Violet-as-Ashton, Ernest's confusing courtship of Violet, Volio's campaign for Cecily and Jack's campaign for Cecily. I think that pretty much covers things. Rosen doesn't let gender really get in the way of romance, and I admit that Ernest's confusion until the truth is revealed had me slapping my forehead in amusement.

Subtly issues of race, station, sexuality and gender makes it way into the story. The boys at Illyria are from every kind of background--their only unifying quality their genius--and because of this we're introduced to far more than just the elite. Truth be told I wanted to see more of what society thought of the Duke (of Illyria's) school--we see scarce little of society outside of Violet's family and mentions by students of their titles (or father's titles). At one point Ernest does mention he likes to keep to himself, so I suppose that's a reason.

As odd as this sounds I think that Ashton was my favorite character. We see little of his exploits when they don't pertain to Violet (we hear bits and pieces, but that's about it), but I took a shine to his character. Maybe because despite all his tomfoolery he showed true care and concern for those around him. Or maybe because he was kind of a reckless take me as a I am sort of fellow that I tend to really admire. Violet was a good foil for him, or he for her. She is serious-minded, despite her insane plan and madcap ideas, and though she loosens up while amongst the boys of the school, she's a stabilizing force in the book.

Sometimes Cecily got on my nerves, which is par for the course as the character in Importance also got on my nerves at times. Not that she was naive or stupid, just...blind maybe. Several times her 'good fortune' is pointed out to her, but she takes much of it for granted. Jack, Toby and Drew were fun and rounded out the cast nicely. I liked Jack, liked his sensible approach to wooing Cecily. I thought Toby and Drew played off the others well and if nothing else gave Violet some sound advice (if she were male at least).

My one sadness was how depressingly pragmatic many of the female characters were. Lady Ada, Miriam, Fiona, and even Violet at points were all realistic about their futures. Well, perhaps not Violet so much, but it definitely Fiona and Miriam. They were definitely 'live for the moment' sorts who understood the ways of the world, but tried not to let that ruin their enjoyment of what they had.

I'm not sure I can recommend this book enough. There is I believe something for everyone. I do warn at some content matter--terrifying automata for instance that had my skin crawling and oily creepers for instance. If nothing else I hope the school year proved to the Duke that he needs to install some sort of psychological examination before allowing kids like Volio in again! ( )
  lexilewords | Dec 28, 2023 |
Somewhat lacking. I'm hard pressed to define the lack, though I can distinctly feel it.

Overall it's wonderful and delightful.
Yet I feel slightly cheated. As if some delicious treat was dangled before me only to disappoint by not being delivered.

Ah well. It's nice enough read. ( )
  QuirkyCat_13 | Jun 20, 2022 |
This was a terrific book, combining Twelfth Night, The Importance of Being Earnest, with a dash of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and a hint of Harry Potter.

When the novel started out I thought it was a young adult and a British boarding school invokes memories of Harry Potter but then as the plot evolved the writing seemed to transform to more adult almost a comedy of manners with a steampunk setting.

I saw the action orientated finale coming a long way before it flowered. Once we knew Violet was making a "Gundam" and Violio an army of androids it seemed kind of obvious that she'd save the day but it in no way spoiled the fun of the story, and the all the interesting characters ( )
1 vote kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this book! A steam punk Victorian story inspired by Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Ernest--what's not to love? It also had a great cast of characters, all distinct and fun, from many different walks of life. Even the nasty ones had interesting back stories.

Some of the science was a bit flaky--for whatever reason I can accept a steam punk London but not Lamarckism--but it was also fun. Watch out for Ernest the bunny.

Overall, a fun and funny book. ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
This was delightful. In terms of basic flavor, think Tamora Pierce's Alanna books ([b:Alanna: The First Adventure|13831|Alanna The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)|Tamora Pierce|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1348885690s/13831.jpg|1936544]), but transposed to a steampunk Victorian London and a cast of college-age characters. (And without the eventual corruption of the twin brother into a villain, thank goodness.)

Although it doesn't really have the feel of a science fiction book, I decided to shelve it as SF also because, along with the plot, character development, period manners, and steampunk tropes, this book also eloquently describes the passion and joy and beauty of science.

On a social justice note, in addition to the obvious theme of sexism, the author also treats heterosexism (Violet's twin Ashton is "inverted", and is partying on with young men of similar inclination in London while she's off at school), racism, and classism: all quite well, I thought.

I must also note that Ada Lovelace is a minor, though significant, character in the book. :)
( )
  VictoriaGaile | Oct 16, 2021 |
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Lev AC Rosenautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Gray, EmilyNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mckowen, ScottArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Inspired by two of the most beloved works by literary masters,All Men of Geniustakes place in an alternate Steampunk Victorian London, where science makes the impossible possible. Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. The school is run by his son, Ernest, who continues his father's policy that the small, exclusive college remain male-only. Violet sees her opportunity when her father departs for America. She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry. But keeping the secret of her sex won't be easy, not with her friend Jack's constant habit of pulling pranks, and especially not when the duke's young ward, Cecily, starts to develop feelings for Violet's alter ego, "Ashton." Not to mention blackmail, mysterious killer automata, and the way Violet's pulse quickens whenever the young duke, Ernest, speaks to her. She soon realizes that it's not just keeping her secret until the end of the year faire she has to worry about: it's surviving that long.

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