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December 7, 2014

Steampunk Sundays: Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Series: Stand-alone (?)
Format: eGalley
Release Date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA Steampunk
A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings...or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.


The cover, the blurb, and the fact that it's Steampunk are the reasons why TICKER by Lisa Mantchev was an insta-click for me. A clockwork heart and mad scientists?! I must read it even if it's YA. TICKER is a quick and fast-paced read, the chase non-stop and the conflict is more of a moral one than a deep rooted or consequential altercation. I love gray area skirmishes, Warwick is Penelope Farthing's surgeon if you must, a family friend and her older sister's, Dimitria, fiance who promised he'll do anything to save Penny before she died. I mean how can you possibly condemn a man completely when he's the reason why you're breathing? Does the end justify the means? Even if Warwick did some despicable things, I found myself sympathizing with his mad and desperate behavior. 

But for all those great points I didn't love TICKER for two reasons: (1) the pace was too fast and (2) its lack of character development. 

Let me address the first one, the pace. LMantchev, you might be scratching your head upon reading this wondering WTH is wrong and how readers are so hard to please! Allow me to share my humble opinion on this matter.

From the get-go there's so much going on, an explosion and Penny discovering her parents have been abducted and Warwick escaped not to mention the reactive events stemming from this. Then it was a mad dash to rescue her parents and apprehend Warwick. I want my fantasy reads to be fast but not too quick where it's all a blur. There wasn't much time to really breathe and acclimate to the world because the world and it's overflowing gadgets and backstory were interspersed with the mission. It's almost like texting while driving, it's hard to give your full attention to the road when your phone is chirping like a maniac. 

Which brings me to point #2. Because of the super fast turn of events the character development was static. Penny and the rest of the characters were thrown into the situation, there was no calm before the storm, no point to compare and see what these events did to Penny and her friends. Has she always been this daring and curious or has she been frail and vulnerable before this catastrophe happened? And what about her relationship with her circle, is Violet her BFF or an acquaintance? Has there been underlying tension between her and her twin brother, Nic before this? And what was her relationship with her parents like growing up? These were brushed up on and not solidly established so we can only take the situation for granted with zero investment on the characters.

Now I'm not sure if TICKER is part of a series, it does look feel like it from the story, Goodreads don't indicate it and LManchev's book tab on her website doesn't say anything either. I sure hope that this won't be the last, the world is fantastic and LManchev's imagination is very creative and I wouldn't mind reading more of it. Not just that, TICKER is getting lukewarm reviews so far so a next book would be a good move to "redeem" some of it's shortcomings and a chance to hopefully win readers over. 











35 comments:

  1. Nice review. I saw this, and wasn't sure if this was a book for me SW. Looks like you found it okay. I do like the cover. I hope she does write a second book.

    Grace @ Books of Love

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    1. I wanted to compare it with Carriger's Finishing School but it's not quite there yet.

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  2. I'm not sure if this was the case in this book - but sometime when things are so fast paced all I think about is that they need a nap. lol It totally pulls me out of the story when things keep piling on and moving at the speed of light.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Hahaha! That's a great way of putting it, Karen! Yes, this one needed a nap or at least tea time in between! Goodness!

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  3. I read Lisa Mantchev's Eyes Like Stars a while back and really liked it, and I've been eying this since I saw that I could borrow it for free on Kindle from Amazon. I'm so happy you reviewed it because I think I'd like to give it a shot, even if it does pack a lot into its pages.

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    1. You're a better YA lover than I am, read it soon, I'd sure like to read your take on it.

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  4. When a story is actually too fast paced, I feel like I'm out of breath while reading, and that's not comfortable at all! If I wanted to be out of breath, I'd go for a run, you know?
    I'm glad there is a lot of imagination, and that the brass ticker still managed to intrigue you, though, Braine!
    Have a great week :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. You and I are a lot a like! If it wasn't too cold I would've ran too! I went Christmas gift shopping instead LOL

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  5. I got this book about a week or so ago. I absolutely adore the cover and it just sounded like a really great story. I've been waiting for review and here it is. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I look forward to reading it.

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    1. I hope you have a good time with it, maybe a better time than I did. I/m glad my review helped :)

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  6. Great review! I grabbed this one for all the reasons you mentioned and I'm really looking forward to reading it. The fast pace and lack if character development do concern me, but it looks like you enjoyed it enough to hope for a second book, so I'm going to hope I like it at least that much.

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    1. I'm just one person, you might end up loving this and appreciating the story differently than I did. Read on!

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  7. Oh now I know where I know the author from

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  8. I haven't read this one but I totally get you on how second books can redeem a first books faults. Hopefully you will get your second book.

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  9. Sounds like a good start to the series, even though there is so much going on throughout the book. I hope there is further character development in the next book (if there infact is one!!)

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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    1. I hope so! I do love the imaginative world and all its gadgets, so interesting!

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  10. The book looks amazing - what an incredible cover!

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  11. Oh but hey, a fast-pace book makes for a non-boring read, yeah? :D

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    1. True, I flew thru the pages that's for sure.

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  12. THis one sounds interesting and like you I'm a sucker for good steampunk book, they're so fun! But when it's too fast it's always difficult, I had a book like that not long ago. Too bad as well for the development of the characters. But in a whole it sounds interesting.

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    1. The world is it's most redeeming quality. It's ingenious from the kind down to the names!

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  13. Oh well I think I will not be reading it then :) 3 stars is not what I would want to settle for :)

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    1. Oh shucks, give it a shot! Read an excerpt, don't take my word for it!!

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  14. I was curious about Ticker even though I still haven't read any steampunk. It was advertised on my kindle and the synopsis really intrigued me. I'm glad you liked it for the most part although I do agree with you that a pace set as fast as this one seems, would make character development difficult. I hope it will be a series!

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    1. Yup, the cover and blurb is set up for it to be an insta-click.

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  15. Glad there were things you liked even if not enough character development

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  16. This has been showing up on my advertising bit on my kindle and I've been wondering about it. I love the cover! And it sounds fairly good but I think you described the things that weren't so great pretty well so I think I'd want to at least wait until we know if there will be another before I decide.

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    1. I know you're curious about this book, get a sample at least and try it. It might be more to your liking

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  17. Hmmm ticker sounds interesting. I'll put it on my someday list. There are more awesome steampunk recommendations from you that I'll probably read first :) Great review!!

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

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  18. I love the cover, but too fast...not character developement...no bueno!

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  19. I don't mind fast paced (The Chicagoland vampires series always leaves me breathless) but I do mind poorly developed characters. Too bad, this looked really good ! Thanks for sharing :)

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