About the Book
FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC, FOR THE MUSIC OF LOVE
Steam and steel are king, nowhere more so than Detroit, the gleaming gem of the world’s industrial crown. A beacon of innovation and culture, it is the birthplace of the mechanical automatons, and the home of the famed Detroit Opera House. It is where people come with their dreams, their plans, and their secrets.
A young man with the voice of an angel and dreams of stardom.
A globe-trotting heiress with a passion for adventure and memories of a lost childhood love.
A mysterious woman with a soul made of pure music and a secret worth killing for.
Beneath the glitter and sparkle, something sinister lurks at the opera, and three lives will collide with tragic consequences.
This book is a finalist in the SPFBO2.
The Music Box Girl is a book that is part of the steampunk (sub?)genre. Now, before we venture any further into this review, I want you to know that I’m really, really not a fan of steampunk, and I do just about whatever I possibly can to avoid reading it. There’s nothing wrong with the genre, it just doesn’t seem to appeal to me for whatever reason. I feel the same exact way about books that take place on boats. I just can’t bend that way for some reason.
So, right off the bat we all know that this is a book that Sarah is going to struggle with. Remember that as you read this review.
The Music Box Girl interested me despite myself. I set out thinking, “Oh God, I’m really going to have to slog through this one…” (sorry, but I’m honest) and I ended up really enjoying myself. So that right there says something about the quality of this book.
The story is rather enchanting, and it’s fast moving. The book itself is full of tropes, but Stewart does a good job at taking some of those tropes and making them her own. Now, I wouldn’t consider this a challenging read. The book was rather predictable, and the plot, at times, felt paint-by-numbers, but there is something to be said for a book that you can just sink into and enjoy for what it is. I consider The Music Box Girl to be just that – it’s a book you’ll want to read when you really need to just put the world on pause.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well Stewart described so many aspects of the book, from the scenery, to the clothes, and all sorts of tiny details that helped this book come to life for me. Her dialogue was mostly very well done, and the emotional impact of this book was surprising. It’s a story of ambition and desire, and Stewart really made me feel those emotions, and I felt a very real empathy for some of the characters and their plights.
This is a steampunk book, and Stewart did a great job at creating a steampunk world complete with gadgets and gizmos, robots, automatons and the like, so if steampunk scratches your itch, then this might be a book you want to look at.
The Music Box Girl does have some obvious literary influences, like private music lessons from a mysterious individual (Phantom of the Opera, anyone?) and some other moments like that which will directly remind readers of other books they’ve probably come across before. While I realize that this is Stewart paying homage to others, some of these plot points and aspects of the book felt a little too redundant, maybe a little too borrowed for my taste.
The plot is fast moving, and there’s a lot of action and adventure to keep you going. The ending was a huge frustration for me, and the predictability of the plot was another (minor) annoyance. I do need to point out some editing issues I ran across, as well. Some of the dialogue was awkward, and some of the book was almost confusing because of how it was written. I think a heavier hand editing, finding those little pesky parts that are so easy to overlook, would have helped this book stand apart a bit more.
So, The Music Box Girl was an enjoyable read. It was a light, fluffy book that I didn’t really have to think too much about. While I do feel like it might have borrowed ideas from other books a little too heavily at times, and the editing left me wanting, the book itself was a great mental vacation, and an enjoyable one. This is a fun story, with some fantastically unique ideas, and STEAMPUNK.
Yes, I did have issues with this book, but I also really loved it. I love reading a book where I can just feel the author’s passion for the story he/she is telling, and I felt that here. Plus, Stewart obviously has a knack for weaving a good yarn, and delighting readers with it. A book doesn’t need to be perfect to be enjoyable, and I did enjoy this one, and I delighted in the author’s obvious love of the craft.