That Inevitable Victorian Thing
By: EK Johnston
Genre: Science Fiction
Expected Publication: October 2017
Bang Bang Rating:
In this alternate world, the coming out season is soon underway. Yes, the coming out season where girls and boys of age and class attend parties during a season. Helene is a plain jane who comes from humble means, Elizabeth is a celebrity socialite, and Margret is the princess of England and they all end up at the same party. In this world, people are matched by a Computer. You upload your DNA and it finds your perfect match. Some people live by the Computer and marry their match while some believe in free will. I can’t say much more because it’s full of spoilers but if you want to read the spoilers, click here.
I wanted to like this book because I liked Exit, Pursued by a Bear and this has a similar formula. It begins as a simple story but it slowly reveals a serious subject. Victorian Thing began quite well-it’s a new world and it was organized very strategically. Midway through however, it began to fall apart for me.
This book is set in Canada, Johnston’s homeland, and although I live mere hours from Canada I know literally nothing about our neighbors to the north. Here’s what I know about Canada: their bacon is round ham; they make a lot of maple syrup; they dip potato chips in ketchup; it’s cold; and their prime minister is cool as hell. I didn’t realize how little I knew about Canada until I read this book and I know this sounds bad and I apologize but I’m not interested in Canadian history. I applaud Johnston for including Canadian historical fiction and I think teens will benefit but I didn’t know what was historical fiction and what was Johnston fiction and I usually research but I didn’t because I didn’t care.
Although all the characters were likable, none of the characters were memorable.
The world had potential because it’s the 21st century and everyone is still wearing corsets and the monarchy is head of state and everyone uses Match.com and the American Revolution didn’t happen. I have, however, read several books where computers are a cautionary tale but Victorian Thing didn’t really do anything special with this overused plot device-bummer!
Overall, this is one of those books where at the midpoint it was pretty good but it slowly started to decline and the last 10 pages tanked it for me.