Sarah Stanton is the only daughter of a steampunk superhero called the Industrialist. While her father goes out and fights crime with his arsenal of steam-powered gadgets, she stays home wrapped up in her bustle. It’s 1880 and girls are not allowed to be the adventuring type.
But the Captain of Capital is facing his biggest crisis yet. Two members of his superhero club have been murdered, and the Children of Eschaton are nipping at his heels. There’s a snake in the grass and the end of the world is coming—the Industrialist needs help fast.
While the Stanton patriarch is perusing superhero resumes (!), Sarah decides it’s time to make her debut as the Industri-lass, or the Adventuress, or whatever. Along with her pal the Automaton, a freethinking robot with a Mona Lisa-like countenance, she hits the streets of New York on the sly.
It’s a pretty solid setup for a first act. All of the characters have been introduced, and the dramatic situation has been established—so far, so good. The second act (Hearts of Smoke and Steam) will be staged in November. And the third book will undoubtedly conclude the series sometime next year.
There are two fiercely compelling characters amid all the steam and smoke and clatter. Sarah Stanton is one of them. She’s a spunky young lady who is determined to fight crime and (hopefully) prove to her father that girls can be more than delicate flowers. She’s a secondary member of the cast in this volume, but we’re guessing she’ll play a major role in the next two books.
The other interesting character is the robot. The Automaton (Tom to his friends) is a man-made creature that has somehow “bridged the gap between thought and machine.” In the same way that Sarah is fighting against gender stereotypes, the Automaton is trying his best to validate his unique existence. Sarah and the metalman make a dynamic duo. When they’re on the same page together, The Falling Machine bubbles with fortified steam. More than anything else, it’s their relationship that excites us about the second and third acts of this series.
[The Society of Steam, Book One: The Falling Machine / By Andrew P. Mayer / First Printing: May 2011 / ISBN: 9781616143756]