Reviewed in Australia on 16 July 2015
I have to say, when I saw this book listed, I forget where, I thought it might not be all that much, but it was at hand, so I picked it up. Oh. My. God. I could not have been more wrong, or more happy to be so.
“Tinker”, and the follow-up, “Wolf Who Rules” are extraordinary. The concept of science as the foundation of magic is one I have always wished someone would write about – and Spencer does it in a believable, extremely well developed, and well written manner. I picked up the book for an ‘easy’ read, and within a few pages was totally hooked.
Admittedly, I am a sucker for BOTH fantasy and science books. The “multiverse” and “bubble universe” studies, as well as the whole concept of quantum physics, fascinates me. No, I am not a scientist, never got to learn, but I can still read about it, right? Many authors use alternate universes to base their stories. Spencer takes it further, placing her stories in a possible future, where layers of universes flow-through to a possible future Earth we all recognize. And set in Pittsburgh, no less? Ok, you write about the city you know, and even though I laughed when I read where it was set (who would think Pittsburgh for a land of fairie?) Spencer really makes you feel like you are there, walking the streets of Pittsburgh, that you know the people she writes about. And she makes you really care about them.
Tinker is fascinating. In a way genetically engineered to become the creature of her grandfather’s dreams, she is a genius at mathematics and mechanics in a Pittsburgh moved to a land of magic. Good hearted, down-to-earth, intelligent, and smart as a whip, she is a perfectly realized character, with enough confidence in herself to be strong, and yet not a total screaming bitch as some authors like their heroines to be. She knows that she is not always right, is often unsure of herself, but still takes care of business, taking care of the people who depend on her for their safety and their own. She takes physical change, pain, and uncertainty and becomes the stronger for it. She never gives up who she is – amazing given the situations she finds herself thrown into with no preparation, no training, and socialization to the laws and goals of the group she suddenly finds herself a part of. Kudos, Ms. Spencer, for a beautifully developed group of characters, firmly based in both fantasy, and reality!
Tinker’s grasp of technology, as well as her grasp of magic theory and the integration between the two makes this a fascinating new meld of my two favorite fields. Thank you, Ms. Spencer, for writing wonderful characters!!!!!