Tricksters, snarky heroines, steampunk, and goddesses—what’s not to love?
I’ve just received a questionnaire (yes, Rosie—I really am working on it!) asking about my preferences in book reviewing. Of course, I could start a list:
- snarky heroines, tricksters, and other strong well-rounded characters (especially female) who change and grow over the events of the book
- fantasy (especially urban fantasy and/or steampunk!!!)
- trope homage and/or breakers: creative, unexpected settings and plot
- romantic theme (but not necessarily a HEA)
- and all the other stuff that I don’t know I like until I like it…
Or I could just tell you to read Amy Hyndman’s incredible first novel, Hour of Mischief. So if your book-loving list looks like mine, don’t waste time reading this review. Stop messing around, and just get your own copy of Hour of Mischief. Then let me know when you’ve read it, because I’m dying to talk to someone about how much fun it is!
Hour of Mischief by Aimee Hyundman
Born in a whorehouse in the slums of Fortuna and burdened with a prosthetic arm, seventeen-year-old JANET REDSTONE doesn’t think she owes the Clockwork Gods anything—which is why she makes a living stealing from their temples. But when she lands her team in prison, making a pact with the God of Mischief, ITAZURA, is the only way to right her wrongs and free her friends.
Janet doesn’t trust Itazura as far as she can punch him, but with her soul in his hands, she has no choice but to do what he says. The clockwork gods and the bad-tempered elder gods of the ancient past are locked in a game of cat and mouse and the human realms are caught in the middle. If Janet can’t somehow convince the gods to step in a save the world, humanity is in an abyss of trouble.
Using her unconventional wits, an impressive tolerance to alcohol, and a strong right hook, Janet has to convince the gods that humanity is worth saving. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more difficult to stop an apocalypse when you’re slowly being driven crazy by the Lord of Mischief, especially when he starts growing on you.
My Review: 5 stars out of 5 (I’d give more if I could, but instead I’ll just repeat—don’t bother with this review, just get your hands on the book. Now!)
Still reading? Seriously? Okay, here’s the review.
Who is your favorite Trickster? Loki? Puck? Anansi? Coyote? Willy Wonka? Fred and George Weasley? Or even (my personal favorite) Bugs Bunny? Whatever its form, I’m a sucker for the Trickster, those wily funny characters who just might save the hero or end the world—depending on which one they think would be most amusing, whether they can spare the time, or if it’s Tuesday. They mock authority, know rules exist to be broken (at least by them), and ignore societal conventions. But like that ancient trickster Prometheus stealing fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans, they’re just as likely to be the ones to bring new wisdom and ideas—and to do so even despite horrific punishments such as Prometheus’ eternal torture, chained to a rock where his liver is eaten by eagles every day.
In Aimee Hyndman’s Hour of Mischief, the Trickster is one part of an incredibly creative pantheon of twelve gods, one for each hour of the clock. Janet Redstone is a typical seventeen-year-old girl—if a typical teen leads a successful team of thieves who rob temples. Born to a mother who works as a prostitute to put a roof over their heads, Janet sees no particular reason to thank any of the indifferent gods, even Itazura, the God of Mischief and patron of thieves. But when a routine job goes tragically wrong and her friends are captured, Janet is forced to make a pact with Itazura. She knows that approaching even one of the gods is incredibly dangerous. Going to all of them to stop a pantheon war? Suicide.
There were so many things I loved about this book that I can’t really list all of them. There’s the world building, where gears are the tools of magic, where stopwatches are godly symbols, and where there’s a complex social hierarchy from slums to palaces, overseen by indifferent gods. Then there are the characters, from very human Janet to various gods and goddesses. Janet is particularly well-drawn. We see her love and contempt for her mother’s lifestyle and the men who “visit” her. Janet sees herself as flawed and unimportant, but we get another picture from the way her friends, her enemies, and other supernatural creatures treat her. And we get to see Janet’s own growth from the leader she thinks she is at the beginning, to the self-reliant confidence she grows into.
As a YA novel, this is a coming of age story. It’s just that most teens’ journey to adulthood doesn’t include having their first kiss with the God of Love, challenging the Goddess of Merriment (and booze) to a drinking contest, or matching wits with the God of Mischief. Along the way, Janet battles supernatural creatures, faces the Goddess of Death, beats up shapeshifters with her mechanical arm, tries to figure out why she’s occasionally rescued by the wind, and tries to stop a war between gods.
The pace is perfect, with just enough backstory leaked into the action to answer questions without interrupting the flow. The cover? Seriously fabulous! And the story itself? COME ON! Go get a copy of Hour of Mischief, and we can talk about how great that is. And how much we wish the next book in this series was out.
What are you waiting for?
***I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
Book Title: Hour of Mischief
Author: Aimee Hyndman
Genre: YA steampunk fantasy/ action-adventure
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Length: 220 pages
Release Date: 7 September 2015
Buy & Info Links:
Aimee Hyndman has been writing ever since her toddler fingers could grasp a pencil. A lover of all things speculative fiction, she spent many a night penning the beginnings of novels that would never see the light of day. Now attending college in Iowa, double majoring in Creative writing and English, she has clearly never lost her love of the craft.
When not writing and avoiding her school work, Aimee enjoys reading, singing, and acting at her school’s theater department. She is also a lover of anime and all things Disney.
Her area of specialty is fantasy of all sorts but she dabbles in many genres— whatever she feels compelled to write at the moment. The plot bunnies are never ending but, luckily, so are the words!