the Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) movement, is that it put me in contact (though minimal and virtual) with other writers in the Indianapolis area. I really only personally know one other writer in the Indianapolis chapter of NanoIndy. She encouraged me to join the Facebook group. As a result, I see the postings (often inspirational cartoons about writing) and read posts from writers in the group. This is how I first encountered Nooce Miller.
You have to admit, the author's name is unique and stands out in your mind. Several months back, she posted something about a book she was self-publishing. This cover art is amazing and instantly sucked me in. Then, when DailyE-Books posted a link for the very same book, The Rooftop Inventor, I snatched it up (despite a growing worry that my love of free e-books is the cause of my current laptop woes).
Sometimes self-published fare lacks polish and finesse. Often these books could do with a decent spin with an experienced editor. Thankfully, this book does not reflect that tendency. No, indeed. Nooce Miller has written a delightful book for kids between the ages of 12 and 18. With a strong, feisty heroine and a well-paced plot, this story will entertain young and old readers alike. I delighted in the Victorian setting. As the author mentions at the end of the book, there are many books set in the Victorian era which are focused on London, but it was pleasant to transport to a Victorian era in our own local environs (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio). She weaves in historical elements gracefully and captures the nineteenth century feel.
Theodocia (Theo for short) Hews is a spirited young lady. Her father is an inventor and she takes after him in many ways. Even though she dreams of inventing something grand, she is held back by her age and her gender. But that is not going to stop Theo. She is determined to succeed. When her father is knocked unconscious and his current invention stolen, Theo feels compelled to board her latest invention (a flying machine) and chase after the culprits. Her plan is further complicated by the presence of a thief aboard her vessel. What follows is an adventure with twists and turns (and a little bit of romance).
I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I enjoyed the pacing and the resolution. This is a delightful little book and I am glad I risked further memory problems for my failing laptop by uploading it to my Kindle for PC. The only thing I would have liked better would have been more illustrations to support the text. The cover art is so beautiful and inviting. It captures the essence of the main character and draws the reader into the story. Given its YA label, further illustrations really would not have made sense, though. Still, if it were me, I would have lowered Theo's age from 17 to 13, making it a MG book, which would have left room for further supportive illustrations. All moot points, really, since I thoroughly enjoyed the book as it is.
I read on the author's website that she originally planned to title this book, The Airship or The Magenta Airship. I'm glad she changed the title to its current one and also thrilled to see her book fared so well on the Amazon lists. If you enjoy period fiction from the Victorian era or are looking for a good steampunk genre book, this one is well worth the price even though it is no longer free. Kudos to Nooce Miller for a well-written debut book and to Melanie Berg for the lovely enticing cover art!