A woman with the strength to rebel.
A shapeshifter who wears the souls of the dead.
Together, they face a lethal enemy.
Em helped create it. Now she must craft its defeat.
In a city owned by industrialists, Em sells her magic to make ends meet. The extraction procedure is brutal and potentially deadly. Desperate for change, she joins an underground resistance movement to weaponize her magic and stop the abuse of workers.
Meanwhile, a mysterious voice wakes Ruk from a decades long slumber and compels him to become human. He wants to break free but is torn between his shapeshifter instincts and the needs of the soul that sustains him.
On streets haunted by outcasts and predatory automatons, a new danger emerges – an ever-growing corruption of magic and science. Em and Ruk must put aside their differences and pursue it – each for their own reasons.
What they discover will forever change their lives…
Or end them.
The Eternal Machine is set in a 19th Century alternative reality Australian city, where magic and science are equally valid disciplines.
"..nicely sensory, gritty, darkly colourful… an apparently real world from the first sentences, and I very soon got caught up in it… the novel’s tone, characters, and themes make it apparent that Ryles takes the genre as seriously as the best steampunk writers take it…
JAMES P BLAYLOCK
Average rating from 15 members
Book takes place in a 19th century environment. Some people are born with magic and some without. The super magical, the mages, steal magic from all others. And so starts the conflict...I enjoyed Ryles book.
An interesting premise and one that has roots in many science fiction novels. The idea of humans being used as batteries is nothing new, as some major film franchises will testify. Using magic, in this case, is a new spin though and a clever deviation from the norm. It is still chilling and spine-tinglingly terrifying. There are some fascinating characters in the novel. Em, though slightly naive, is a gutsy individual who is immediately likeable. Ruk is a complex character but one that grows on you. The author has given The Eternal Machine an atmospheric gothic style twist to the tale. I suppose it is because of the period in which it was set and the Steampunk overtones. It feels very Victorian with all the trappings it entails, albeit it is set in an alternative Australian city. The writing is stylish and the dialogue fits the period nicely. Whatever you do, don't neglect to read the authors 'an afterword'. Very enlightening and educational as to how the ideas for the book came about. I gave myself a pat on the back that the author mentioned a movie that had crossed my mind early on within the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed The Eternal Machine, and it is a welcome addition to the genre. Thank you, NetGalley and BooksGoSocial, for the ARC.
Steampunk with heart. I guess from my initial thoughts it's easy to tell I loved this although at times it wasn't perfect but then again what is ? We have three main protagonists Em, Ruk and Ambrus although the myriad of supporting characters added greatly to bring emotion to this story. The hideous idea of humanity being used as a kind of fuel or battery even has been touted by authors and indeed movie makers but this particular tale took a very different approach by adding Shifters of pure magic into the mix. I've no wish to give spoilers but will say at times it's worth pushing through the explanations and brushes with the metaphysical because the story has much more than merit it has heart and I truly didn't want to put it down as I just needed answers. This ends not exactly with triumph although there is a resolution but what I take away from it is a sense of hope and possibility which leaves me satisfied and eager to read more from this new to me author. This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair!
Very difficult to write a review of this excellent story as there is so much to tell and that is what the book is here for! There are some lovely and believable people and some that I suspect that you too would willingly strangle given half a chance. Whilst the book is Steampunk in style and set in the 19th Century I can so easily see parallels in the 21st Century, even down to the number of exploiters that I might willingly do away with. In some ways, much as I enjoy Steampunk, this tale might have worked even better set in today's days of exploitation where so many things are offered "as a way to improve one's lot" when, in reality, they are designed to demean and degrade and devalue. Thoroughly enjoyed the story, even though it made me incredibly angry at several of the characters.
It's been a while since I've read a truly original fantasy, or even a truly original steampunk, for that matter. The fact is that "The eternal Machine" is both a fantasy and a steampunk, and it carries its two natures to the end, perfectly balancing the ingredients in a way that makes you think that, rather than an experiment (which also brings in a lot of scientific elements and a good dose of metaphysical theories that have gone all the way from an idea of a wacky mind, to stuff for gullible people, to an attempt to explain an intuition that is probably correct by someone who didn't yet have the language to do it), it's a precise and mature genre. In addition to these surprising aspects, the novel offers well-delineated characters and a compelling plot. What more could you want?
I really enjoyed this book. The two kinds of magic a person might have are intriguing, and a bit confusing. Skin magic, which everyone can use to share "well wishing" or create a little light, and heart magic which can create fire and electric bolts, or be used to heal by reversing time in a localized area. Also, another kind of magic altogether which can manifest as humanoid or anything else, but which also engages with skin and heart magic. The magic is stored in a person like a battery, and can be transferred to another person, or an inanimate magic storage system. The mechanical assistance of magic draining, transfer, and storage are big factors in the story. The characters are interesting and well developed, especially Ruk. The book is well written, ends in a very satisfactory manner, and has some pretty original ideas.
Thanks Netgalley and Publisher for the opportunity to read and review. Very original mix between Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I think it's daring challenge to mix both genres and to create something successful, but the author handles this challenge very, very well. The book has a lot of things that every fantasy and sci-fi loves - steampunk setting in a fictional dystopian 19th century ; main cast and side characters that are well developed, complex in nature and morally grey; a conflict between those born with magic and those born without it that isn't unfamiliar in its core, even if transformed to fit the setting; a bittersweet ending that offers more hope for the future than an actual resolution not without a sacrifice and good dose of drama and suffering. It's definitely a must-read and I recommend it to everyone!
Ah, this is a fresh and extremely engrossing read! Steampunk, magic and use of Leibnitz ideas woven in a great story! Lots of unexecpected twists and turns, which had a hold of me more than I thought it would. Finished it in an eyeblink. Great book to start a year with! Will most definitely look up the other author's work, as well.
*** I received an ARC version in exchange for an honest review *** Thank you #NetGalley and the Publisher for providing an ARC of #TheEternalMachine The Eternal Machine is a fascinating alternate history exploring the industrialisation era and social class suppression. I particularly enjoyed the combination of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy, the use of magic and technology in an alternative history setting was very well done. Perhaps the only downside to the book was it felt unnecessarily long, and some character development was rushed when introducing motivations which the extra length of the book could have focused on better. Overall, the world-building was supreme and the concept unique and refreshing. Conclusion A new steampunk read from a debut author in the genre. Highly sophisticated world-building with combination of alternate history, steampunk and gaslamp fantasy makes this suitable for audiences of all three genres. A well-recommended read! Review: The Eternal Machine follows the protagonist Emma as she ekes out an existence in the lower classes of society, selling her magic alongside many others for the money to support themselves. Their magic is used to as energy for the powerhouses that support the industrialisation movement in this steampunk version of Victorian society. But as Emma begins to realise the extent of her true magical strength when left undrained by the powerhouses, she rivals the mages who run the powerhouses and society. Together with her partner Lucien, she begins to investigate the Groundists, a movement of radicalised lower classes determined to topple the powerhouses and the mages who rule them. But Emma’s magic awakens an ancient shape-shifter, Ruk, who begins searching for her. The shape-shifters are few but powerful beings and Ruk kills Lucien, assuming his form and identity. But as Emma and Ruk enter the Groundist movement, Emma begins to learn more about her past as demons awaken and like the shape-shifters, are drawn to her power. In a company of other powerful Groundists, Ruk and his fellow shape-shifters, Emma and others battle the mages and the demons until the truth of Emma’s birth right is known and her entire world changes forever.
Steampunk, magic, and wonderfully drawn characters who I began to care about from the book's beginning. Prime protagonists are clearly created with their intentions consistent throughout the entire story. Easy to tell the 'good guys' from the 'bad', which is a refreshing change from similar fantasy/ magic books I've read lately. Mostly I mostly read 'hard' science-fiction, so comprehending the magic rules was confusing for me. Over time it makes sense and with the unique world-building; I became to love its twists and turns. Although I received the book at no cost in exchange for an honest review, I'm going to purchase the book anyway- to support an author whose work I sincerely want to see more of.
Good read! Nice mix of steampunk and magic. We all heard about atoms, but how many of us heard or read about monads? Here we have factories, automatons, mages and magic... People who wants to live in peace, follow their dreams... And others who wants power... Who Em really is? What will happen to Ruk? Read it to find out 😁