3 out of 4 stars
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The Engine Woman's Light was a genuinely interesting read. I laughed, I cried, I flipped (tapped?) forward in the story because I was so impatient and wanted to find out what happened next and, occasionally, because some passages went on for a long time and for many, many words. This book gave me so many feels. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
I did not give this book 4 stars primarily because the beginning was difficult to get into, even after reading the book's description. I expected the characters from the beginning to have had bigger roles in the book, but they did not. I was also taken by surprise by the sexual and sometimes violent content, although it did not bother me at all, and I will address that at the end. I was pleasantly surprised by the degree of depth this book has. I also fully enjoyed the magical aspects, which were consistent throughout the book and contributed positively to Juanita's multi-faceted personality. She is clearly devoted to her family's ancestors and her life's purpose as a mystic. There are also some cool steampunk aspects to the story that I wish had been more prevalent.
As I stated earlier, there were multiple times while I was reading this book that I was itching to get a move on with the story, sometimes because I was excited for what I thought was going to happen next and sometimes because I was getting bored. I was never bored for long, but as someone who strives not to spoil things for myself as far as plot points, this was difficult. Occasionally I thought that passages were very wordy and could have been simplified.
Conversely, this book has outstanding imagery - smells, descriptions, feelings, sights. Knowing how old Juanita was in the beginning, I was expecting to be rolling my eyes frequently from young love sappiness but the moments between Juanita and her fiance were actually sweet. Hill creates such genuine and rich sensory reading!
Some things that perturbed me and I believe are worth mentioning: the cover, to me, gives off the idea that this book might possibly be a YA novel or acceptable for older teenagers and this is absolutely not true. Without giving anything away, there was content that I wished I could have been somehow warned of and was consequently disturbed by. One such disturbing event is a huge plot twist and made me put down the book for a few minutes. While this upset me, it was very well written and is successful in its role in relativity to the plot.
The Engine Woman's Light
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