I think I overestimated The Lady Astronomer when I first snagged it for free on Amazon. The synopsis sounded promising – A girl having a normal life as an astronomer by night and hat maker by day suddenly working for the king thanks to her brother? Then that girl gets held hostage by not just ANY court, but a clockwork court in which her life is in danger? DING! A winner! But when I actually got the review request and started the book, I found it... disappointing. HIGHLY disappointing.
The book follows Lucretia H, an amateur astronomer, and her brothers, Freddie and Al. The brothers are inventors. They receive a letter from the king to move near the castle – in a place called the Slough – to build a megascope, which is apparently a forty foot long telescope.
My biggest problem were the characters. The last names in particular. While I understand European English is completely different from American English, the last names being letters in the alphabet are a huge problem for the following reasons:
- There's only 26 letters. Thus, there can only be 26 families. It's very limited if you ask me, and could possibly cause problems in the long run, especially if it's a series. What if you needed MORE than 26 families? Sometimes writing drives you to other plans than the original one. You may have planned for 10 but end up with... 30. That's 4 more, although I'm sure the LOL family don't laugh a lot. Unless you laugh when a loved one dies. Or you're a clown, but some would beg to differ about clowns being funny.
- Besides, it's possible to die of laughter. That's not a good thing, to be born laughing and then you die of laughing within a few hours. Poor kid.
- I'm not afraid of clowns.
- If I were simply Sophia L, this world would be chaos in trying to figure out who's related to who. I could be mistaken as... *picks a random author* Nikolas Lee's daughter (I'm not) if he were Nikolas L. I could even be related to Pittacus Lore or Jennifer Lawrence! That might be a cool thing to some, but I'm sure the lot of us don't want to be mistaken as possible criminals because we're part of the H family. H in reference to Adolf Hitler. "Oh, you're part of the H family. You must be interested in restarting the Third Reich, but this might be the Fourth Reich. We got problems then buddy. BIG problems because World War III may be in the horizons."
- The characters won't be memorable. What's so memorable about characters with letter last names and not like Herondale or Drew? Chances are, I'll forget who the characters are if I'm asked about my thoughts on The Lady Astronomer. "Um, it's about a lady astronomer... and is interested in studying the stars and planets..? O_o"
- Isn't it weird that the O family works for the H family? It spells OH. Sort of a, "Hey, reader. The answer's right there. You just need to find the problem." Problem is.... (see second point in next section.)
- It sort of tells me O'Dowd didn't take much time on characters. And not taking time on characters worries this reader. VERY worried.
- The story switches views a lot. Generally I don't have a problem, but I do with The Lady Astronomer because...
- It doesn't have a plot to me. Where art thou?! The Catcher in the Rye didn't have a plot, but it was at least interesting, even though Holden Caulfield was a total pain in the butt (he was annoying).
- This didn't sound funny. Personally, this isn't a huge problem. While it's easier to make me laugh in verbal conversations, it's not easy to make me laugh on paper. In fact, it's difficult, so it's a good try. I did find the pets funny though... they're simply adorable. Katy, you wouldn't mind if I stole Orion, would you? ;)
- The "What, what" doesn't sound very realistic. It certainly catches my attention, but a king saying that is well... not exactly proper?
- The "dears" and "my sweets" and so on and so forth feels REALLY weird. Especially when they're among siblings. It's like they're a married couple. Ew. INCEST.
Summer Reading Challenge Giveaway!