Title: 27 Days to Midnight
Author: Kristine Kruppa
Publisher: Giant Squid Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Genres: Steampunk, Adventure, Young Adult
From the publisher—
Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die. Except her.
Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.
Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.
In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren’s life, or her own. And time is running out.
I was not an early convert to today’s steampunk world, probably caving in finally about two years after its resurgence began. I don’t really know why I resisted it—I guess I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind—but I’m glad I finally started reading it. I’ve found a lot to enjoy in this subgenre including the Victorianesque settings, the flight-of-fancy technology and steam power, and the frequent blending of multiple genres such as science fiction and mystery. Most of all, I’ve enjoyed the adventures that are such an integral part of steampunk.
27 Days to Midnight struck me as having all those delightful attributes except that its tone is more serious than the usual steampunk, meaning it isn’t as lighthearted. That’s not a bad thing, just a difference, and I kind of felt as though this could be labeled as somewhat dystopian because of the thing with the watches. The watches, and the rules that go with them, also took me back to my earlier days when I was a Girl Scout troop leader, back before time was invented ;-). We took a week-long trip every June and we leaders made the girls turn over all timepieces to us. They weren’t allowed to ask when we were going to do something, reason being, we wanted them to have a true vacation away from the pressures we normally let time put on us (and it relieved us from the endless nagging about when we were going to dinner or the beach or the lighthouse, etc., etc., etc.)
Ms. Kruppa not only came up with a new and different idea; she also created a number of lively characters that I came to care for a lot along with a plot that jumps off the page from the very beginning and rarely lets you catch your breath. Dahlia is a young lady who has lived a life of some privilege and is understandably in a state of shock when the first awful things happen but she’s resilient and soon begins to learn how to look after herself and pursue her goals. Farren is equally appealing but largely because he really shouldn’t be and I truly appreciated the way the author allows their relationship to very slowly develop, warts and all.
When all is said and done, Ms. Kruppa has given us a story well worth the investment of reading time and, while it’s self-contained, I do hope the author will bring us more adventures with these wonderful characters.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2016.
About the Author
Kristine Kruppa is a mechanical engineer, writer, and world traveler. Her days are spent designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.
(Author photo credit: Sunny Wong)
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