I recently read the book Encrypted by Lindsay Buroker. I read the excerpt she has posted on her blog (here) and liked it so much I went and bought the book. And then I spent all day one day reading it. It was lovely being able to take a whole day to read a book; I haven’t done that for years. I really enjoyed myself.
The book is fantasy and perhaps also steam punk. I say perhaps because (before this) I’ve never read any steam punk, so don’t feel I can say for sure if this book is part of that genre. But it does have steamships and steam operated machinery in it, so I’m assuming that qualifies it. It doesn’t take place in Victorian England, though, so I’m not sure if that disqualifies it.
The setting, as is typical of fantasy, is an imaginary world with imaginary countries. But this one’s refreshingly different. Instead of medieval Europe as seems to be the default template for fantasy worlds this one starts out on a tropical island. I liked the details like mention of bamboo and breezes blowing in from the ocean and jackfruit trees (which I’d never heard of, but sounds tropical). Later there’s the setting of a steamship and a frozen tundra like place. All these settings were different enough from standard fantasy fare that it caught my attention immediately.
The story starts out at the end of a war and is about a young woman who’s a cryptoanalyst whose job is to decode intercepted enemy transmissions. And she’s very good at her job, so good, that the enemy (who’s just lost the war, mainly due to her efforts) is on the hunt for her. And eventually they do catch up to her and capture her where she finds out that before they kill her for her role in the war they want her to translate some mysterious symbols for them. And I can’t tell you any more because then I would be revealing spoilers. But it just gets more interesting (and she gets deeper into trouble) from there.
I really liked the fact that the heroine is smart, educated, and to use the author’s own word, geeky. Since I am smart, educated, and geeky, I could identify with the heroine. I also wear glasses as she does, and have been known to be clumsy, as also she is. I think anyone who likes languages or science or math or puzzles would really identify with this heroine and would really enjoy this book. And if, like me, you’re looking for something a little different from the usual fantasy fare, then this book is one you’ll definitely want to look into. I think you’ll enjoy it. And at $2.99 (as of this writing) the price is quite reasonable and is almost risk-free.
And the hero is a hotty, of course, at least after he gets cleaned up.
And if, after that, you’re still not sure, read the excerpt. I’ll bet you’ll get hooked, like I did. This would also make a great Christmas present for that bookworm on your list. (Yes, we bookworms really do like to get books for Christmas, even ebooks — really, we do.) There’s also a short story sequal called “Enigma.” I enjoyed that one too.[Disclaimer: I’m not an affiliate, so I don’t get any money if you buy the book. Nor was I asked to review the book. I’m reviewing it because I enjoyed it.]
What books have you enjoyed recently?