SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):
“The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape.
Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift, granted to him by his daughter’s touch. He’s kept Claire under his control for years. As St. Cloud prepares for war, Claire plans to claim her life for herself, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne. At any cost.
When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with his governing power weakening and many political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only and best ally. But the last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse. Still, affections can change as quickly as the winds of war. And Claire has a choice to make: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?”
I love alternate-history stories, so when I read the synopsis for Muse I immediately requested it from my library. I did not expect to finish this book in less than 48 hours, but once the plot picked up I was sucked into this story.
The fact that this takes place during what would have been the Chicago Worlds’ Fair really strengthens this plot and setting. Claire is a very passive heroine. She is smart and capable but during this time period, a woman’s place was to be seen and not heard. She is just looking to escape her cruel and mad father, not change the world. Her friend Beatrix is the exact opposite, she wants to start a revolution.
I loved the mystery surrounding Claire and her “powers”. Is this just the raving madness of the geniuses surrounding Claire’s life, or does Claire actually have some kind of magic touch? It was super interesting to try and figure out. I liked the argument presented as well for equal representation. Which is more important, just a woman in power or someone who reflects your ideals?
My one flaw with this book is that I just didn’t like the friendship between Claire and Beatrix. To me, it felt like Beatrix didn’t care about Claire and just used her to her advantage. Talking about her secrets to the D.A.R., not being sympathetic to her father’s abuse, and using her to further the D.A.R’s schemes without truly asking Claire. I just didn’t understand the bond, we weren’t really shown why their friendship was so important.
This book leaves us with a great cliffhanger and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book’s release.
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