What would happen if Pride and Prejudice met a steampunk universe? We’ll you would get Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine. I came across this book by going to a panel at the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Washington. David was part of this really cool panel called Kicking Ass in a Corset: An Homage to Fearless Ladies in Fantasy! And three out of the four panelists were dressed in Victorian-esc clothing which instantly won me over because if it’s themed and you dress up I will instantly be a fan.
Anyways, I’m allowing myself to get off topic. David of course spoke about his book and I loved the concept so I went and purchased it right after the panel so I could also have him sign it-because again I’m a sucker for anything that I can get signed by the author/artist. Sometimes this is a really successful move and I’m really happy with the purchase other times not so much. Luckily for me it was the former instead of the later.
Arabella exists in a world where space travel on ships that sail in the Victorian era is possible. She has lived her whole life on a colony on the planet Mars. She was able to learn English Victorian customs but also have the unique situation to be raised by a Martian and learn all the customs and freedoms that come with living on Mars. As what happens in all good stories this life promptly come to an end when her mother decides that she would behave in a more lady like manor if she was back in traditional London, England on Earth. Will a lady or an adventurer triumph in the end?
The book is filled with all kinds of space adventures while fitting in with the societal requirements of the era the story is based in. I thought the concept was really interesting and it covers a lot of topics including immigration, race and gender bias while keeping the book light hearted and fun. It took me about a hundred pages to really get into the book but once I did it just zipped by. David had all kinds of unexpected plot twists that allowed for a lot of character development for not just the main character but the side ones too. If you like imaginative stories with strong heroines then this is a book for you 🙂