I’m pulling out an oldie but a goodie this week (and by oldie, I mean 2012). But it’s worth sharing because it mashes up several of my favorite things.
Okay, here’s the fiction math:
(Twelfth Night + The Importance of Being Ernest) x STEAMPUNK = All Men of Genius
It’s a very intricate plot, so I’m going to let the book blurb do the explaining:
Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. The school is run by his son, Ernest, who continues his father’s policy that the small, exclusive college remain male-only. Violet sees her opportunity when her father departs for America. She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry.
But keeping the secret of her sex won’t be easy, not with her friend Jack’s constant habit of pulling pranks, and especially not when the duke’s young ward, Cecily, starts to develop feelings for Violet’s alter ego, “Ashton.” Not to mention blackmail, mysterious killer automata, and the way Violet’s pulse quickens whenever the young duke, Ernest, speaks to her. She soon realizes that it’s not just keeping her secret until the end of the year faire she has to worry about: it’s surviving that long.
You have no idea how loudly I squeed when I found this book. I love Twelfth Night. I love The Importance of Being Ernest (and played Cecily in school). And I LURVE steampunk. It was like this book had been written just for me.
What Intrigued Me: All the mash-ups. I can see a steampunk retelling of Twelfth Night. I can see a steampunk retelling of The Importance of Being Ernest. But both? Together? Only a madman could have thought of that.
What Hooked Me: Jack. A charming trickster? Who is the MC’s best friend and stays in the friend area and does not wander into the trope of accidental love interest? And they have an AWESOME friend relationship? Yes, thank you.
What Made Me Fall In Love: All the little details. If you’ve read Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Ernest, you’ll appreciate all the little mentions and sly winks to the original text. You’ll like how the two stories mesh together.
And if you haven’t read the originals? Doesn’t matter. The story is so madcap, so hilarious, that you don’t need to. You’ll still be transported.
Like I said, only a madman could have thought of it.
All Men of Genius is available through Amazon and at your local purveyors of genius (a.k.a. bookstores). Pick up a copy to expand your literary horizons.