The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns –and the heroines who use them all
Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.
It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.
Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.
This book was such fun! I haven't read many steampunk mysteries and this one definitely set the standard for any I read in the future. I really, really enjoyed The Friday Society and wish it was getting more attention. It is definitely one of those books that slips under people's radars, but I highly recommend it! I've been looking for an adventure story with kick-ass females in the lead that wasn't supernatural like Angelfire or Firelight. The girls in this book were all ordinary teenagers who were brave, adventurous, and smart. Cora, Michiko, and Nellie couldn't be more different but they are some of my new favorite heroines.
The Friday Society is told from the points of view of all three of the girls. This took some getting used to at first, but I loved getting to know each of the girls personally and seeing things from their perspective. All of them were assistants in London to important men. Michiko was an assistant to a samurai, Cora to a weapons making politician, and Nellie to a magician. All of them were well-developed and seeing how their stories intertwined was one of the best parts of this book.
Nellie, Michiko, and Cora were such strong characters and I loved the constant message of "girl-power" throughout the book. The romance was limited and it was great how these three proved they didn't need any men to help them save the day. There were other interesting secondary characters, but the main focus was on the trio.
The mystery was very exciting and the turn-of-the-century London setting was an added bonus. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept the story moving and some parts were very creepy! The fashion, inventions, and intrigue of The Friday Society were added bonuses and I thoroughly enjoyed this YA debut novel.
I hope more people start picking this book up because it was such a unique read. While there were a few slow moments and I wished certain characters were more developed, I loved The Friday Society and it was a very memorable read. In the sea of fantasy and dystopian novels flooding the shelves today, this steampunk mystery with strong female leads and kick-ass adventure will definitely stand out. I am looking forward to reading more by this promising author!
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
December 6, 2012/Dial/440 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Publisher (ARC)