READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS: Sedition (Children of Erikkson, #1) by E.M. Wright
She was created for more than slavery; she was built for rebellion.
In an alternate Victorian England, clockwork cyborgs provide the primary source of labor for the upper class. Known as biomatons, they are property by law and have been manipulated and mind-controlled into subservience.
Taryn Roft, a 17-year-old girl attending classes at Grafton's School of Mechanicks in London, has a secret. What's even worse—she cannot remember anything before her twelfth birthday.
When a mysterious privateer discovers her secret, he offers her an ultimatum: accompany him to his airship, or her secret will be revealed to everyone. For Taryn, it's not much of a choice. Facing prejudice and cruelty may be nothing new to the only girl at an all-boys' school, but the further from home she gets, the darker her situation becomes.
Follow Taryn through this first installment of the Children of Erikkson, SEDITION by E. M. Wright—out next Tuesday, May eighteenth. Pre-order your copy NOW!
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Early praise for SEDITION:
In E. M. Wright’s steampunk, alternative past novel, humans become biomaton slaves when their body parts are replaced with mechanical ones, and their brains are changed to suit their new stations by dampening or removing all human emotions. In this devastating dystopia, biomaton Taryn hides who and what she is to keep herself from becoming enslaved and losing all sense of self. Fast-paced, clever, and allegorical, this novel considers what makes people human after all.
Set in Victorian England, the story begins with a house fire that destroys six-year-old Taryn’s arm, necessitating its replacement with a mechanical arm that appears as if flesh and blood. The story fast forwards to Taryn’s teenage years, where she’s in the household of a local lord and educated alongside his son, neither of whom know Taryn as anything other than human. This fact would destroy her education as a mechanic, her home, and her future. An unexpected encounter threatens to upend her entire life and reveal her identity as a biomaton—a part of a larger, darker plot that’s tied to the years prior to her twelfth birthday, years that she can’t remember.
The action explodes with careening air ships, castles filled with malice and brainwashing, and automatons crafted as weapons. Taryn’s world is rich with parallels to historical injustices, but also ingenious steampunk details that highlight a cross between the rigor of clockwork mechanics and the power of fantasy. But the conclusion resolves few of the questions that were raised by the rising action, instead suggesting a second volume to come. Still, Sedition is powerful because of its social commentary, compelling setting, and unexpected heroine.
Reviewed by Camille-Yvette Welsch
AT FIRST, SHE WAS AWARE ONLY OF THE HEAT: PLEASANT, wonderfully warm, like being cradled in the arms of her mother. But then it grew hotter, blistering her skin, searing the backs of her legs, her neck. She shrieked, but the sound was smothered by the smoke, choked by the absence of oxygen in the air. She arched her back, trying to get away from the heat, but something pressed upon her chest, keeping her tiny, heaving body pinned.
Images returned to her, flashes of memory, ugly glimpses of the events that had led up to this moment. Mother and Father screaming at one another. The oil lamp getting knocked to the floor. Fire, bright orange, crackling, devouring everything in sight. Shrieks. Darkness. And now, this. This searing pain, the pressure on her chest, the smoke filling her eyes and lungs and throat. She lifted her head enough to glimpse the charred beam that lay across her chest, weighing her down. She moved her hands, trying to make it budge, only to realize her left hand would not move at all. She could not even feel her fingers.
She glanced to her left and froze, staring. Her stomach lurched into her throat. Where her left arm should have been, 1 there was just a bloody stump. She couldn’t remember losing the limb, couldn’t feel any pain, but her stomach roiled at the sight of the blood. The little girl turned her head away from the horrible sight and wretched.
A whimper rose in her throat, despite the sting of the smoke. Where were Mother and Father? Why didn’t they come for her?
She understood a moment later, as more flashes of ugly memory returned. Mother’s skirt catching fire. Father batting at the flames, his waistcoat catching… The knowledge weighed on her young heart: Mother and Father had died in the blaze. They were not coming. She was trapped. Alone. And no one would ever come for her.
The little girl coughed weakly, her tiny body expending what little energy it had left to expel the smoke from her lungs. The air was so dense with soot that her next breath was just as noxious as the last.
“Hello?” A voice broke through the sounds of crumbling wood and crackling flames: low, unfamiliar, and wary.
Her eyes widened. There was someone out there! Mother? Father? No, the voice was more sophisticated than any she knew. She opened her mouth to cry out, to exclaim, “Yes! I am here! Help me!” But only a weak croak emerged from a throat too parched to call for help. She was beginning to see black spots dancing at the edges of her vision, their darting movements distracting her from the urgency of answering whomever had called out.
Her eyes had nearly drifted shut when the man appeared, kneeling beside her. He had auburn, curly hair and copper stubble across his chin. His kind, forest green eyes crinkled at the corners. “Hello, little one,” he said gently. Strong hands lifted the charred beam from where it lay across her chest, relieving the pressure. A rush of air surged from her lips, emerging as a half-cry, half-sob.
“Shh,” he soothed her, placing one gentle hand against her forehead. “Hush, my child. Lie still. Everything shall be all right.”
She stared at him, small eyes wide and wondering. Beneath the soot on her cheeks, her face was pale with the pain.
Gently, he lifted her into his arms, pausing whenever she whimpered to make sure he was not hurting her. Finally, he rose, cradling the tiny, damaged girl in his arms like a baby, and carried her from the burned wreckage of her home.
“IF YOU WILL