Curio by Evangeline Denmark

Denmark-CurioGrey Haward’s family has a secret. They are different from the others in Mercury City. At least, her father and grandfather are different. They aren’t dependent on the potion from the Chemists like everyone else in the city. But the secret is even deeper than that. Even Grey doesn’t know, until she risks her life for her friend, Whit, and endangers her family. She finds herself inside of a curio cabinet, where a world exists full of living porcelain and mechanical creatures. Her only clue: find him.

There was something about the feel of this novel that I didn’t care for. It is the first steampunk novel I’ve read, so it may be that I just won’t be a fan of the genre, and not any fault of the author’s.

There are, however, other things I didn’t care for that were specific to this book.

First, the fact that there are two worlds in this novel that I (as the reader) know nothing about, and both are so vastly different from the real world. Just as I was beginning to feel comfortable in Mercury City, Grey is whisked away to Curio.

Second, when Grey arrives in Curio she has no idea what she is supposed to do, and neither does the reader. I had no way to judge if she was on the right track or not, and I just felt lost.

Finally, and what I believe to be most important, is the intended audience. This is meant to be a Young Adult, Christian novel. While the book offers minor mentions of a Christian theme with talk of a Designer, the YA rating fails. The book is very sexually charged. Within the first chapter Grey’s “full chest” is brought to our attention. A rule in Mercury City that forbids touching between men and women brings the sensation of physical touch to the surface. Kissing is described in such a way that it is sexualized more than romanticized. And, this may be a slight *SPOILER* but I feel it’s necessary to add, there is a scene about halfway through the book *that basically amounts to attempted rape with descriptive movements of hands and lips.*

I was surprised to find this level of sexual content in a book published by Zondervan, let alone meant to be read by teenagers. I definitely would not recommend this book as YA.

Despite its flaws, the general story did have promise. I give credit to the author for her vivid imagination, even though I couldn’t always picture what she was describing. That may have been on me, since I’m not used to steampunk.

That being said, I’m not likely to continue if this turns into a series, for the above reasons.

1) Overall Plot = 4
2) Characters = 4
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 3.5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 4
5) Overall Enjoyability = 2.5

I’m removing an additional point from the total average due to my belief that the intended audience is grossly inaccurate.

Average score: 2.6 out of 5

Where to buy the book: CBD | Amazon | B&N

I received a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes from BookLook.

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