I received this book via the author, Gerrard Cowan. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan
Published by Harper Voyager on 2015-09-10
Length: 400 pages
Reviewing eARC Rating:
For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.
The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.
But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…
For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.
When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…
Have you ever read a book that left you wondering what the heck and wanting more all at the same time? The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan is that book! With it’s name and even it’s description I was expecting an epic sci-fi adventure, but it didn’t take but just the first chapter to correct that assumption. The Machinery falls more into an epic fantasy with elements of sci-fi thrown in. Honestly it was excellent!!! I finished the book roughly a few weeks ago and it has taken me several days to (1) recover emotionally and (2) pull my thoughts together for a coherent review.
Cowan has created a massive list of characters, all of who share the spotlight equally and lend their POV to the story. Yet all of the characters seem to center their actions around that of one character: Katrina Paprissi. Katrina is 17 and the only living member of her family. She’s now a watcher in training (watchers are like policemen/enforcers in this society). Yet something is off about her. There are two voices battling it out in her head. She calls one of them her kid self, the other is more mature and sadistic. At a young age she watched her brother’s abduction and she will do anything to get him back. It’s why she’s a watcher, or at least this is what she tells herself.
The world-building is just as large as the characters for this debut author and I felt that he’s done a phenomenal job! In this world, there is the Overland and the land of the Operator. 10 millennia ago, the Operator gifted the Overland with the Machinery. The machinery picks the leaders and basically makes all the decisions for the populace. The people have very little to no say in the society and follow the Operator blindly. BUT a prophecy was made that in the 10,000th year the Machinery would break and guess what? It’s the 10,000th year 😀 This prophecy really adds to the suspense of the entire novel as you keep waiting for it to be fulfilled.
The plot centers around the death of the Strategist (think king, president, etc). With his death the Machinery will pick all new leaders and everyone wonders what will happen as this is the 10,000th year. Yet there is also speculation (with good reason) that the Strategist’s death was no accident. The characters, all to some degree, investigate his death and they do NOT like what they uncover.
Overall I really enjoyed this book! It’s fast-paced, intriguing and even with the large amount of characters and varying POV I didn’t get lost. As debut novels go, I would never have realized that The Machinery was one if I hadn’t been told. If you enjoy epic fantasy with a little sci-fi thrown in, I highly suggest you grab a copy and prepare for a wild ride!
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