First, let me start off by saying I had to write the authors name 4 times. That’s because I don’t know her by that name but rather by Bliss.
Inner Workings is a great introduction for those that are aware of, but not familiar with steampunk. The only drawback (if you can call it that) is that the scenery might be a tad too descriptive. Not so much one gets distracted by it but enough that a first-timer might have a tough time keeping track of everything.
That said, the underlying story itself was fantastic. A military contractor, overburdened with work, designs and builds an mechanical, steam powered, assistant.
The process by which Freddy (the main character) teaches the assistant to do things is very well done. You can easily imagine the same process for teaching someone with a brain injury or amnesia.
What happens however is that the assistant learns a little too well, and the story begins to take the shape of a developing romance between (wo)man and machine.
Except it doesn’t happen the way you expect. The ending caught me completely off guard. Primarily because there is a device used in the book that I latched onto and had decided I knew what it meant and therefore knew how it was going to end. You won’t guess it either.
And I was wrong. Oh so very wrong.
And I couldn’t be happier for it because I love twists at the end. Especially ones in which the author so plainly set the reader up for the twist and they (the reader) still falls for it.
If I had a rating I’d say 4/5 stars and a pint of beer.
Now that the review is out of the way…
I really liked this story. I like how Bliss (accidentally or on purpose) sets things up in one direction and then takes a left turn where you expected a right (not literally)
And it’s not an ending that doesn’t fit. It’s surprise but when you stop and think about it, all the signs are there that it would happen this way. They are just hidden in plain sight.
It’s not all sunshine and unicorns however. I did have a couple issues.
First, the time between Freddy wanting an assistant and her having and assistant was far to short for me. I wanted to see more of her process. Not part for part, but it just felt a tad rushed to me. Especially the part about designing and building the heart or the ‘pump’ as Freddy called it.
Secondly… well this is a huge spoiler so if you haven’t read it go away. If you have, just highlight the page to see the text :)
The ending, while awesome in the fact I didn’t see it coming and was a great way to close it out, is physically impossible!
There is no way Tin would have been able to open up and surgically remove Freddy’s heart (no training), then REMOVE HIS OWN. He would, should have stopped functioning at the point. Even if there was some residual ‘life’ left he would never have been able to put the pump into Freddy and bring her back.
It was jarring enough that I had to go back and read it three times to make sure I got it right. It doesn’t completely take away the happy of the twisted ending, but it did soften it a bit.