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MECHANIQUE: A TALE OF THE CIRCUS TRESAULTI

Valentine, Genevieve.

2,383 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1607012537 / ISBN 13: 9781607012535
Published by Prime Books., 2011
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About this Item

TP original in pictorial wrappers. 1st Printing. Signed by Valentine. A fine copy in wraps. Bookseller Inventory # 26057

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Bibliographic Details

Title: MECHANIQUE: A TALE OF THE CIRCUS TRESAULTI

Publisher: Prime Books.

Publication Date: 2011

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Come inside and take a seat, the show is about to begin...

Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic.

That magic is no accident: Boss builds her circus from the bones out, molding a mechanical company that will survive the unforgiving landscape. But even a careful ringmaster can make mistakes.

Two of Tresaulti's performers are entangled in a secret standoff that threatens to tear the circus apart just as the war lands on their doorstep. Now the Circus must fight a war on two fronts: one from the outside, and a more dangerous one from within.

Review:

"This steampunk-flavored circus story begins with a disturbing undertone, like an out-of-tune calliope, and develops in hints and shadows. Touring a drained postwar world, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti rarely visits a city twice in anyone's lifetime; borders are lax, and lives are short. The circus's performers have no time for training, instead undergoing terrible trials in the ringmaster's workshop to gain their skills. Enter the "government man," who dreams of bringing back the order and security of the old world and wants the ringmaster to help him. She shares many of his dreams but mistrusts his offers of alliance. The drama and climax come not from the rivalry between the two but their similarities as they decide how to use their powers and who will suffer the consequences. Fans of grim fantasy will love this menacing and fascinating debut." --Publishers Weekly

"{T]his "Tale of the Circus Tresaulti" doesn't resemble steampunk so much as Gothic in the tradition of Poe and Mary Shelley, where a lone inventor's creations mingle science with the occult... Beginning as fractured narrative, offering only hints and glimpses of the truth, Mechanique comes together as the story of a strange collective which can't remain entirely untouched by the outer world, though it seems to move in its own private sphere. While they're neither a band of demigods nor a group of superheroes in haphazard alliance, these retooled traveling players have a collective power not even they quite realize. Misfits, desperados, ordinary schmoes - whatever they were has undergone a metamorphosis. Shabby as it may seem, the Circus Tresaulti can exude the aura of timeless myth and legend . . . Beyond every revelation, setback and dramatic moment, the wonder remains." -- Locus

"Mechanique is set in a magical, post-apocalyptic future in which a circus of magical, immortal, mechanical men and women wends its way through a barren landscape between cities torn by a ceaseless war...This is a beautiful little jewel of a book, told in scintillating little flashes like light through the facets of a gem. It offers unreliable point of view, an omniscient narrator who almost dissolves into the narrative, and a series of striking, fantastic images that only slowly reveal the shape of the story behind them. It's beautifully written from the sentence level to the structural . . . " --Realms of Fantasy

"Mechanique is a brutal gem of a novel--a fierce, gilded textual circus." -- Cherie Priest, bestselling author of Boneshaker and Dreadnought

"Mechanique is something unique and elegant."-- io9 -- io9.com

"This steampunk-flavored circus story begins with a disturbing undertone, like an out-of-tune calliope, and develops in hints and shadows. Touring a drained postwar world, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti rarely visits a city twice in anyone's lifetime; borders are lax, and lives are short. The circus's performers have no time for training, instead undergoing terrible trials in the ringmaster's workshop to gain their skills. Enter the "government man," who dreams of bringing back the order and security of the old world and wants the ringmaster to help him. She shares many of his dreams but mistrusts his offers of alliance. The drama and climax come not from the rivalry between the two but their similarities as they decide how to use their powers and who will suffer the consequences. Fans of grim fantasy will love this menacing and fascinating debut." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Valentine's novel has the stylized quality of books by Angela Carter like "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman," and it displays similar pyrotechnics. Run by a woman known as Boss, the traveling Circus Tresaulti ekes out its existence against a postapocalyptic backdrop of cities rebuilding after "the bombs and the radiation." The setting is unimaginative, but the circus performers, most of them mechanically altered to enhance their acts, come to life in a series of skillful set pieces. Chief among these performers are the aerialists Alec, who has recently (and intentionally) fallen to his death, and Bird, who has replaced him. Together they give the novel its emotional force, as Valentine keeps returning to the reasons for Alec's death: "For anyone who sees it, a moment like that is never in the past; it is always happening. . . . When Bird falls, Alec is falling." In contrast to the complexity of that haunting echo, the plot is more basic, involving the threat from a dastardly "government man." Yet in a highwire act of her own, Valentine still raises the novel above the ordinary through her ability to convey the richness of the circus performers' emotional lives, coupled with impressive writing -- as in a description of Alec's surgically attached wings, every bone-and-brass feather "jigsawed and hammered and smoothed so thin that when it strikes another feather it rings out a clear note."" --The New York Times

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