Rummanah Aasi
  After a stressful week at work and finishing a heavy yet thrilling book, I needed a time-out. I wanted my next read to be fun and light. The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress fit the bill exactly. Please note that this review is based on the advanced reader's copy of the book which I received through the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!).

Description (from Goodreads): Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man. It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Review: The Friday Society is a book that celebrates girl power and highlights three strong, spunky, and charismatic characters. Each heroine has her own set of problems and back stories, which are well paced and told in some anachronistic language in the narrative voice to get to the core of the character's personality. I adored each one, but if I had to choose a favorite it would be Cora. Cora is driven by her intelligence and her passion to prove others that she is just more than a pretty face. Logical and her wonderful snarky comments continuously made me smile. To balance Cora's personality, we have Michiko--a fiercely focused samurai in training, and Nellie--the blunt, cheery, and deceptively talented, glamorous magician's apprentice. Each girl brings about a wide variety of uniqueness to the group with their special skills and talents. What I loved most about these girls is their ability to continuously disprove that they are merely stereotypical caricatures of women of their time, which is a constant theme running throughout the entire book. Ultimately, Cora, Nellie, and Michiko team up to try to free London of its newest murderer as a string of events lead them to one another. Their chemistry really flows perfectly and shines in this book.
   I'm still a newbie when it comes to the steampunk genre so I'm always have a bit trepidation when it comes to the technological details, worried that I'd get lost in the details. I appreciated that Kress blended the steampunk flair with gadgets, corsets, etc., but it also maintains a modern feel as well as the historical setting of Edwarian England.
  Like the book itself, the plot is simple yet highly entertaining. Bomb threats, a mysterious society, a man obsessed with eyes, the murders of people surrounding the girls-there is always something happening and I never got a chance to get bored. I especially loved how the girls randomly teamed up once their realized that they all shared the same goal. I also really appreciated that Kress took the time for each girl to have her spotlight in figuring out the murder mystery which allowed them to use their special skills and talent. While the resolution to mysterious may be a tad predictable and the villains to be flatter than I would have liked, I enjoyed the journey. I know past readers have commented on the lack of romance in the book and yes, it is not quite developed but it really didn't bother me because I was more focused on the girl power.
  The Friday Society is not without its flaws, but if you're in the mood for an amusing, enlivening read, this is exactly the kind of book I would recommend picking up. Although all the plot threads wrap up in the end, the book leaves with a possibility for a sequel or a promise of a series. I really hope there is one as I loved these characters and I'm more than willing to spend more time with them.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, underage drinking, a visit to an opium den, and some disturbing images. Recommended for strong Grade 8 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
8 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    This sounds like a fun book Rummanah, and even with a predictable mystery and fairly flat villain, it still seems like it really entertained you. I really like too that each girl is given time to be the focus and that we get to know them pretty well, I sometimes struggle with books where there are multiple MCs because we bounce around from one to the other and I never feel like I get to spend as much time as I want with them, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Looking forward to this one!


  2. Girl power? Really need you say more? :D

    These girls sound like characters I'd really like. I think the warnings are great and although I know I'd probably enjoy it, it would be a bit too old for my little cousins. Still, I think I'm old enough. ;D


  3. danya Says:

    The reviews I've read of this one have been mostly positive so I'm glad to see it worked for you too! I haven't read much steampunk so it's good to hear that this book didn't lose you with that aspect. One of the main criticisms I've read has been about the anachronistic language. Did it bother you significantly (enough to throw you out of the story briefly)?


  4. This sound exactly like my kind of read! I've developed a taste for steampunk lately, I find myself enjoying the genre more every time I pick something up. I love that there's clockwork, but that the plot is interesting and easy enough to follow.
    I'll go grab a copy right away.
    Great review!


  5. @Danya: I actually thought the narration flowed well. It was more conversational I would say than anachronistic. No, I didn't throw me out of the story.


  6. Candace Says:

    I liked this one and totally agree that it's a light fun read. I think those going into it FOR the steampunk and history will be disappointed since it's light on the steampunk and has a more modern feel to it (at least the language). But it's such a fun read and I'm glad you really enjoyed it!


  7. I attended the launch party of this one when it came out and am looking forward to reading it soon hopefully. It's always nice to read a story where the romances are subtle and heroines aren't damsels in distress. And knowing how much Kress loves steampunk, I'm sure the worldbuilding will be great.


  8. Rubita Says:

    I'm embarrassed to say this, but I like my Girl Power liberally dosed with romance. I want the best of both worlds. They don't need to be mutually exclusive, do they?


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