Monday, July 1, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A Brand New Steampunk Full of Heart!

The Book Dragon has just finished reading Heart of the Curiosity, H. L. Burke's brand new YA fantasy steampunk, and gives it five claws!
My review: Having read several of Ms. Burke's novels and especially liked her steampunk series, I was excited to read her latest, which is set in the world of theatre using an interesting concept of magical "knacks." The MC is Leodora, or Leo, who has had a rough upbringing in a traveling circus where unspeakable things happened to her. This causes her to run away with her younger sister Muse, not only to protect her but to help her reach her dream of being a dancer. At The Curiosity, an old family theatre with dark secrets of its own, they meet a fellow teen named Paxton who has a mechanical arm and a kind heart. Leo and Muse find a home and a family, and all is well for four years. But conflict is the heart of fiction, so of course, things don't stay safe. Someone else wants to uncover the secrets at the Heart of the Curiosity, and destruction and death ensue.

This wonderful story is part magic, part mystery, and part coming-of-age while dealing with serious subjects in a very effective way. The details are so much fun to read, from the smells and tastes of the local "coffee shop" to the adorable snail circus and the chilling, sometimes dangerous secret passages in the old theatre. Recommended for older teens and up, since there is a murder, two self-defense killings, mild swearing, and the effects of rape, but all are dealt with in a sensitive way.

More about Heart of the Curiosity (and a better pic of the intriguing cover):

The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora's only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd's mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity's sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater's stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

Where to find the book:

About the author (if you haven't read any of her books, you NEED to!)
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Social Media Links:


  1. Thanks so much for the review!

  2. You're very welcome! Thanks for writing such compelling stories!