In order to write this review, I had to dig out my thesaurus because the words “amazingly awesome” just did not do The Earl of Brass justice. So the words “marvelous,” “phenomenal,” “stupendous,” and “wonderful” will have to do.
What makes The Earl of Brass worthy of dragging out my old thesaurus? Simply the language, author Kara Jorgensen, uses when laying out the plot, the twists and turns, the characters, and the dialogue that fill the pages of her novel. Jorgensen is bringing back vocabulary, and if she keeps writing, I dare say the English language might yet be saved.
As I read The Earl of Brass, multiple things jumped out at me, one being the thick description that made me feel as though I was living in 18th century England. Jorgensen goes to great lengths to paint the scenes of Eilian’s home in the country side of London, and Hadley’s studio in the city; the method of travel the adventurer’s use; and the lands they visit and the people they meet. As someone who did not remember too much of junior high history class, Jorgensen’s meticulous writing style was just what the imagination ordered, especially when Eilian and Hadley venture off into new and undiscovered lands. I cannot say much more without spoiling anything. You will just have to buy a copy if I have peaked your interest.
Another aspect of Jorgensen’s novel that jumps out is the perfect blend of “the old world” mixed with twenty first century idealisms. Not only are there “new age” ideas about sexuality and equality, but Hadley’s job of prosthetic limb designer, makes leaps and bounds into the future that even we, living in a world where computers are bound to take over the world any day now, have not yet reached. And yet, once again, Jorgensen makes this blend work for her novel. It is intriguing and exciting and refreshing to read a book, where the author is not only forward thinking, but is not shy about sharing her thoughts through her characters.
And the part that really hooked me, was that if one were to squint close enough, there is a commentary about the politics of the world we live in today, that just seems to fit the characters of the book. Jorgensen raises questions about the difference between love and sex, equality between men and women, racism, prejudice towards that with which we are unfamiliar, the importance of pursuing something you love versus the importance of making money, and whether or not humans have a duty to preserve and help sustain the equilibrium of the planet we live on. And even as the points are brought up in the book, Jorgensen does not wax philosophical about them. She has the characters state the case and then they move on. And even if politics is not your typical cup of tea, all Jorgensen is really doing is raising a question that she wants you to consider. It is up to you how far you want to take that pondering. Novels should make readers think and question what they know. It is how society keeps moving forward.
The Earl of Brass wastes no time really, in jumping into the thick of the plot. The first chapter will leave you with a pounding heart. But then it slows, and builds to the crescendo of the climax. And if, at this point, you sort of find yourself wondering if you should maybe come back to this book on another day, I urge you to stick with it and remember that Jorgensen takes her time setting the scene and introducing her characters. And of course, once she really gets going, the action does not stop. I am immensely glad that I chose to read The Earl of Brass because Hadley and Eilian, along with their friends, are compelling characters. I found I was siding with Hadley and rooting for Eilian; I laughed out loud at parts and raced through others to find out if the characters were OK. Part of that might also be because Jorgensen does not write perfect characters with “perfect flaws.” She writes characters that are ugly on the inside and out, commit the seven deadly sins before they have their morning cup of tea, and who make you cringe for the things they say and the thoughts they think. Even Eilian is not perfect, and his “flaw” is something that one cannot simply hide. These characters are real and relatable, and that makes the journey all the more fun.
So if you find you are looking for something to read, or if you are looking for the perfect way to “get away” without spending more that $20, then I have the perfect solution for you: buy The Earl of Brass. You will not be disappointed. And in all seriousness, I am a reader, I come from a family of readers. I know good books and I know bad books. This is a good book. Trust me.
And I have more good news for you: Jorgensen has more planned and on the way…
Overall rating: Two thumbs up, smiley faces all around, 5 stars, 10 out of 10, 100%, A+, I’m running out of ways to say: “buy this book, it’s great!”…
The Earl of Brass is available of Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Earl-Brass-Ingenious-Mechanical-Devices-ebook/dp/B00L4CWBVE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407031765&sr=8-1&keywords=the+earl+of+brass