Friday, June 8, 2018

ARC #Review - Guardian by A.J. Hartley #YALit #Steampunk #Fantasy

Series: Steeplejack (#3)
Format: E-Galley, 320 pages
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Historical

Anglet Sutonga must save a city pushed to the brink in Hartley's pulse-pounding fantasy mystery series that Cory Doctorow praises for its "richly realized world"

The city of Bar-Selehm is tossed into a whirlwind of scandal when the prime minister is found dead on the floors of Parliament: and Anglet Sutonga's friend and employer, Josiah Willinghouse, is the one holding the knife.

Determined to prove his innocence, Ang investigates leads throughout the city, only to discover even more chaos wherever she goes. A mysterious but fatal illness is infecting the poor. A fanatical politician seizes power, and rolls out his plans to make Bar-Selehm great again?? 

Amidst these surrounding dangers, Anglet Sutonga must gather her friends from places high and low to form a resistance... and, hopefully, protect everything she knows and loves.

Guardian is the third and final installment in author AJ Hartley's Steeplejack trilogy. 17-year old Anglet Satonga is a Lani (non-white) who lives in a world that is similar in nature to 19th century South Africa. She's a former steeplejack who works for Brevard Party politician Josiah Willinghouse solving the most curious mysteries. Ang's work will get even harder this time out as she finds herself trying to solve problem after problem starting with Josiah's arrest and his subsequent charge of murder, conspiracy, and treason. For Ang, she knows better.

Ang's working relationship with Josiah has been kept quiet. Only three or four people know who she works for including Inspector Andrews, her friend & reporter Sureyna, and Josiah's sister Dahria who often feins disinterest on matters of a political nature. But, what exactly is Ang? A tool for someone else's political ambition? Or, the bright light in a dreary land that is being held hostage by a group of fascists and racists? Ang knows that Josiah is a pawn in a much bigger game which quickly becomes a reality. 

She also knows that the most frequent casualty in Bar-Selehm is the absolute truth. For those who know the truth are often times silenced by powerful men who make life altering decisions for the majority non-white population living in the city. Ang has to put the pieces together before everything and everyone she knows is put in harm's way and loses their way of life. She knows that not only does she have to save Josiah, but also her city of Bar-Selehm from racial identity provisions, outside interference from a hostile government, as well as those in her own parliament who have every intention of making Bar-Selehm for whites only. 

There really is a whole lot more to talk about including Ang's relationship with Dharia & Madame Nahreem & her sister Vestris. Some very curious twists sprout wings right before your very eyes. I adore Ang. She's very much human which means that she isn't perfect or at least she doesn't go down whining and blaming others for her issues. Ang has been through a whole lot since the first installment when she met Josiah as well as Sureyna, Inspector Andrews, Captain Emtezu and Mnega. Ang very much deserves praise for her actions. But, I think she would be happy just to settle down for a few days and explore her new relationship with... NO SPOILERS!!!!!!

I have one more thing to add to my review. When you think about this world, think about South Africa under apartheid. Think about Colonial South Africa. In fact, if you have the time, do your own research since you will probably not have heard of this from any of your teachers. There's one particular character in the story I likened to Nelson Mandela because of his strong message and desire for peace. Also, the synopsis is most likely the author's attempt at humor and has nothing to do with actual events.

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