Zelda is a teen genius. She's a geometrix, which means she creates arcane objects to help her in her security business. She hires herself to museums to try to steal objects to test and improve security.
The book starts out with a bang, as Zelda is in the Smithsonian trying to steal a couple of very important arcane artifacts. She's successful, and feels that her business is off to a great start, especially when she receives a letter from the British Museum wanting to hire her. She takes the British job, but things don' t turn out as she expects. She ends up racing all over Europe trying to save her reputation while also saving the world from a mad librarian who has a dastardly plan (that I won't go into because it would be a spoiler.) And yes, I did say "librarian." Gotta love it when the villain is a librarian!
Zelda Pryce has a breakneck pace that took my breath away. I really liked Zelda as a character, and felt sorry for her every time she was duped or in danger (which seemed to happen quite a bit.) She did get some help from others, and those secondary characters were well done too. And, in case it's important to you, one of those secondary characters offers a hint of romance. While there are some tense moments, for the most part the book is lighthearted and not to be taken too seriously.
Llewelyn is crazily creative. The arcane devices he comes up with are entertaining and clever. I just wish there were more explanation of them. There's a glossary at the end of the book, which explains where each of the device names comes from. You see, they are named after famous people, mostly scientists but not all of them (Jimi Hendrix!), and the devices' function relates to the person they were named after. I would have liked to be able to flip to this during my reading, but that's one of the disadvantages of an ebook.
I got most of the references, but I think many people, especially the YA audience, will not understand most of them. I was familiar with Occam's Razor as a concept. The fact that it (and a bunch of other razors) is a real tangible object really confused me at first. I needed some explanation at the beginning. I felt plopped into a world that seemed familiar, but there was much I didn't understand.
I also wish there were more explanation of the political climate. After we are about 2/3 through, we get a little taste of some political ideology:
"For centuries, governments have controlled and abused the knowledge and power of the arcana to control people, to abuse people. When I marched at university and fought the police in the riots, they fought back with Crabtree Bludgeons, torturing the students. Geometers and alchemists, graphologers and actuaries, all coordinated by State astrologers to oppress the working classes, the poor, the young, and the foreigners."
This was the first I felt the dissatisfaction of some people about the government and the arcana. I would have liked to know more, and sooner, so that I could get a feel for world.
Zelda Pryce is entertaining, even at face value, without know anything about arcane objects and the state of the world. I mean, Zelda can fly. Who cares why they are called "Hypatian Wings." She can make herself invisible to cameras. Who cares how her Faraday Cloak works, and why it's called that. But, it's also fun to figure those things out.
Zelda Pryce is a quick, entertaining read, and for most young people will offer superficial entertainment. For those interested in science and scientists, Zelda Price can offer a much richer experience. The second book, Zelda Pryce: The Clockwork Girl is available now.
Published by CreateSpace, May 16, 2012
eBook obtained from the author
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