cover image The Friday Society

The Friday Society

Adrienne Kress. Dial, $16.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3761-7

In this rowdy steampunk adventure, Kress (Alex and the Ironic Gentleman) introduces three dashing teenage heroines: Cora, brilliant lab assistant to inventor and politician Lord White; Nellie, beautiful stage assistant to a charismatic magician, the Great Raheem; and Michiko, talented martial artist and servant to the charlatan Sir Callum Fielding-Shaw. The three young women, meeting by accident, become fast friends; when murder is committed, and mysterious villains and monsters begin to stalk the streets of London, they team up to bring an end to the reign of terror. This mostly successful tale combines humor and menace in equal proportion, though the narrative voice flouts the language of Kress's Edwardian setting. Cora rescues her employer from a "skeevy" opium den and looks "smokin' " in a red dress; later, a surprised Michiko, who speaks little English, thinks, "Oh, for crying out loud." While these and many other linguistic anachronisms are distracting, they contribute to a lighthearted, freewheeling atmosphere. With odd inventions, beautifully described clothing, and skilled heroines, this alternate history offers much to enjoy. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. Agent: Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Dec.)