“And then there was an explosion.” Talk about starting off a novel with a bang! Luckily the rest of the story that followed was just as exciting and fast paced as its opening sentence! Set in Victorian London, The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress follows the lives of three girls who act as assistants to powerful men. What readers soon realize, however, is that these aren’t your typical Victorian women parading around with parasols and hunting for eligible bachelors. Rather, Cora (a lab assistant), Michiko (a Japanese fight assistant) and Nellie (a magician’s assistant), are all intelligent and yearn for something more beyond the roles expected of them by society. After a chance meeting at a ball one night, the destinies of these three girls become intertwined when they stumble upon the body of a murdered man. As a team, Cora, Michiko, and Nellie attempt to solve the murder together, and set out on an adventure full of mystery, intrigue and romance!
Being a Steampunk enthusiast, I pretty much gobbled up every reference to tinkering, gears, and goggles that the novel threw my way. Even with all this Steampunk goodness, however, the thing that I enjoyed most about The Friday Society was its depiction of female empowerment. While the heroines of most Steampunk fiction tend to throw Victorian ideals aside, Adrienne Kress digs a bit deeper into these issues of feminism. I really enjoyed getting to see how Cora, Michiko, and Nellie come into their own despite societal expectations, and transform into strong, independent women.
I also really appreciated the fact that Adrienne Kress decided to tell her story from the view of all three girls. This multiple perspective allows readers to really understand Cora, Michiko, and Nellie, and better grasp their individual characters and motivations. Michiko’s point of view was especially fascinating, as her language barrier tends to make her more of a spectator whenever she appears in Cora and Nellie’s respective chapters. Without chapters dedicated to Michiko’s narration, her character would have failed to make such an impact in the story.
Overall, The Friday Society is a kickass novel that teens and Steampunk lovers will thoroughly enjoy! The end of the novel hints at a potential sequel, and I am definitely curious to see what Cora, Michiko and Nellie get up to next! The Friday Society hits bookshelves this Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled for its gorgeous cover at a bookstore near you!