All Men of Genius

( 9 )

Overview

Inspired by two of the most beloved works by literary masters, All Men of Genius takes place in an alternate Steampunk Victorian London, where science makes the impossible possible.

Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. The school is run by his son, Ernest, who continues his father’s policy that the ...

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All Men of Genius

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Overview

Inspired by two of the most beloved works by literary masters, All Men of Genius takes place in an alternate Steampunk Victorian London, where science makes the impossible possible.

Violet Adams wants to attend Illyria College, a widely renowned school for the most brilliant up-and-coming scientific minds, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. The school is run by his son, Ernest, who continues his father’s policy that the small, exclusive college remain male-only. Violet sees her opportunity when her father departs for America. She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry.

But keeping the secret of her sex won’t be easy, not with her friend Jack’s constant habit of pulling pranks, and especially not when the duke’s young ward, Cecily, starts to develop feelings for Violet’s alter ego, “Ashton.” Not to mention blackmail, mysterious killer automata, and the way Violet’s pulse quickens whenever the young duke, Ernest, speaks to her. She soon realizes that it’s not just keeping her secret until the end of the year faire she has to worry about: it’s surviving that long.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
One of Amazon’s Best SF/F Books of September 2011

“Rosen’s lighthearted debut puts a steampunk spin on the Victorian comedy of manners while sneakily critiquing the gender biases of both genres… Decommissioned robots, mysterious mechanisms, strange squid creatures, blackmail, and a number of vivid characters add up to a great deal of fun.”

Publishers Weekly

“A nimble twist on Victorian romance that’s woven into Rosen’s intricate web of attractions, repulsions, and matrimonial machinations. But he never lets his mesh of relationships—or his fluid, playful views of sexuality—overwhelm a sprawl of vibrant, witty characters… Steampunk soap-opera, as elevated as it is, isn’t all Rosen has up his sleeve. Tackling the genre at its root, All Men slyly examines the psychology and the aesthetics behind the act of human invention.”

The Onion A.V. Club, A- 

“Rosen writes with color and verve, particularly in his descriptions of mechanical marvels, and also offers moments of unexpected poignancy.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“Fits well on the shelf with Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, with broad crossover appeal to fans of SF, historical romance, and young adult fiction.”  —Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Rosen’s lighthearted debut puts a steampunk spin on the Victorian comedy of manners while sneakily critiquing the gender biases of both genres. Violet Adams is an inventor and the daughter of a renowned astronomer who has just left Britain for a lecture tour of America. In his absence, she, her brother, and their friend Jack Feste scheme to get her into the all-male Illyria College, home to the finest scientists of the age. The course of true science never does run smooth, and soon Violet conceives a disconcerting passion for Ernest, the duke of Illyria, and is hotly pursued in turn by his attractive young ward, Cecily. Decommissioned robots, mysterious mechanisms, strange squid creatures, blackmail, and a number of vivid characters add up to a great deal of fun. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Scientifically brilliant yet socially awkward 17-year-old Violet Adams aspires to attend Illyria College in London, the preeminent school for scientists in Victorian England seeking to build a better automaton or improve creatures' genetic potential by splicing their parts across species. Since the school does not admit women, Violet plots with her twin brother, Ashton, to attend under his name. "Ashton" is accepted and quickly comes to the attention of the headmaster, Ernest, the son of the late Duke Illyria, and his ward, Cecily. Violet's friend Jack is aware of her ruse and her growing feelings for Ernest, while Jack's own feelings toward Cecily are thwarted by her obsession with Ashton. While Shakespeare's Twelfth Night inspired the use of Illyria as a setting and the conflicting gender identities, and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest inspired the dual identity roles and several character names, Rosen blends his own voice into a steampunk comedy of manners featuring not-so-petty jealousies, killer automatons running amok, genetic tinkering, blackmail, and a final exam involving the Queen. VERDICT This debut literary steampunk novel fits well on the shelf with Gail Carriger's "Parasol Protectorate" series (Heartless), with broad crossover appeal to fans of sf, historical romance, and young adult fiction.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Rosen's debut fantasy: a steampunk mashup ofTwelfth NightandThe Importance of Being Earnest.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Adams, a brilliant inventor of mechanical devices and automata, disguises herself as her twin brother Ashton so that she can attend London's famous (and male-only) Illyria College, which specializes in the sciences. The masquerade becomes somewhat more uncomfortable when the school's headmaster, Duke Ernest of Illyria, begins to have unsettling feelings regarding "Ashton," as does his beautiful young ward and cousin, Cecily Worthing, who is herself pursued by Violet's childhood friend and fellow student, Jack Feste. Meanwhile, the sinister second-year student Malcolm Volio plots to seize control both of the school and Cecily.Those conversant with both plays will have a fairly good idea of the role each character will assume and how the story will go. The steampunk story line, involving a secret cabal of scientists seeking world domination, climaxing in chaos at the Crystal Palace and the expected cameo by Queen Victoria, may seem equally familiar to many readers. The lack of surprises is somewhat ameliorated by a multitude of amusing allusions to the novel's sources, especially Bunburry, the constantly ailing and entirely imaginary friend inEarnest, who's transformed into a very real and incredibly accident-prone scientist. (It is unfortunate that Lady Augusta Bracknell, the imperiously witty matriarch who providesEarnest'sbest lines, is morphed into a foul-mouthed, oafish astronomy professor.) Rosen writes with color and verve, particularly in his descriptions of mechanical marvels, and also offers moments of unexpected poignancy, such as the sad history of Cecily's governess Miriam, whose characterization far exceeds the depth of her initial inspirations,Earnest'sditzy Miss Prism andTwelfth Night'scomic maid Maria.

Here's hoping Rosen will strike out into fresher territory in future efforts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765327956
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 959,602
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

LEV AC ROSEN grew up in Manhattan. He attended Oberlin College and received his MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence. His work has been featured in Esopus Magazine and on Tor.com. He lives in lower Manhattan, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Highly recommended for steampunk/Shakespeare/young adult genre fans

    All Men of Genius, by Lev AC Rosen, has got to be one of my favorite reads this year so far. Having delved into a few other young adult novels recently and being sorely disappointed, I found this book to be an absolute joy to read. Besides, who can resist a tale of gender-bending subterfuge with a generous dose of steampunk to boot?

    The characters were likable, the dialogue witty, and the juxtaposition of gender stereotypes between Violet and her brother Ashton was very well done. While Ashton was a self-proclaimed dandy with a bent for poetry and the arts, Violet thought very little about her appearance and cared only for science. I loved (and could relate to) her desire to figuratively thumb her nose at the people who insisted that only males be accepted through the doors of Illyria College, the school widely known as the only place to go for the scientifically inclined.

    Gender equality battles aside, the mysteries surrounding the founders of the school, the mishaps in the school's labyrinthine basement, the romances between the various characters, and Jack's surgically altered animals (my favorite being the foul-mouthed rabbit) are enough to keep any reader enthralled long past bedtime.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 21, 2011

    Clever and Captivating

    I'm in love. Yes, in love. I didn't think it would happen again so soon. But then, I am sort of easy when it comes to a fabulous book. I found All Men of Genius to be an insanely clever, delightful and captivating book, worthy of a spot on any book lover's shelf.

    My love for All Men of Genius happens to be of the "At First Sight" variety. When I eagerly opened the package from Tor, and slipped the book out, I sighed. Yes, I happen to be a cover snob. I'm not ashamed of that. I thought the cover was beautiful, with a picture of Violet as Ashton with the gears placed behind her.

    Then, I actually opened the book. When I read Lev Rosen's author notes and acknowledgements, I knew I would adore All Men of Genius. Honestly, when an author writes such witty lines there, you know the book will be brilliant.

    And it was. I can't think of one single aspect of All Men of Genius that I didn't love. The characters were radiant, courageous and charming. The main character, Violet was fabulous. She is a feminist way ahead of her time. She is fully committed to showing the world that women have a place in the scientific community. Violet is willing to do whatever is necessary to prove her worth, knowing that abuse, prison or death may await.

    Ashton, Violet's twin brother whom she impersonates, is what in late-1800s England, called a "dandy", a gay man. Rosen took a character who could have become a caricature a wrote him brilliantly. Here's why. Ashton is not exactly flamboyant, but he doesn't hide his true self, either. In fact, Ashton's orientation isn't an issue at all amongst his family and friends. Even when Violet inadvertantly catches him in compromising positions, she is embarrassed only because she caught him in general, not because she saw him with another man. Ashton is completely devoted to Violet and her cause, helping her in any way he can.

    I want to include all of the many characters I loved in my review, but I simply cannot because the list is long. There are so many characters in All Men of Genius. In another author's hands, the amount of characters would be too much. But Rosen managed to subtly weave a new characters into the story, bit by bit. There's Jack, Ashton and Violet's best friend and confidante, who plays an integral part in the story. Ernest, the head of Illyria, and his cousin Cecily, Toby and Drew, Mrs. Wilkes, the many professors, Marion (perhaps my favorite character) and Fiona. See what I mean? All of those characters deserve a place in this review, but I'm sure you don't want to read a book about a book!

    I read that All Men of Genius was inspired in part by The Importance of Being Earnest. The book is full of mistaken identities, gender confusion, comedic situations and misunderstandings, so I definitely picked up on that. I happen to love that movie (check out the version with Rupert Everett and Colin Firth, my favorite).

    Besides being a completely delightful and thoroughly entertaining book, All Men of Genius does, in it's own clever way, touch on serious issues. Even though the book is set in 1880s England, I found the themes regarding sexual orientation and gender roles and discrimination to still be shockingly relevant today.

    And though All Men of Genius is considered and steam punk novel, it's a must-read if you love witty, funny and thought-provoking books. And really, who doesn't?

    On a side note, I adore author Lev AC Rosen's writing. He is an outrageously talented

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    Clever and engaging

    I truly had a hard time putting this book down! Im generally interested in more action/adventure novels so the fact that i found this book so captivating is high praise! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Has hilarious moments; able to relate

    Has hilarious moments; able to relate

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    All Men of Genius by Lev A.C. Rosen is a wonderful steampunk rea

    All Men of Genius by Lev A.C. Rosen is a wonderful steampunk read with a Shakespearean twist.   A story of a young girl’s aspirations for equality for woman.

    Violet Adams’ dream since she was a young girl was to go to Illyria College to study alongside other genius’ in the field of science.  Unfortunately for her, this elite college accepts only male students, and Violet has decided to take it upon herself to find a way to gain access into this school and prove to all that she too is a genius and belongs within the walls of this prestigious school.

    So how does Violet go about accomplishing her dream?  By posing as her twin brother, Ashton, and fooling her friends, the professors, and the duke of Illyria that she is a man.  With the help of her brother Ashton, and their good friend, Jack, who coincidently also will be attending Illyria AND becomes Violet’s roommate, the plan goes off without a hitch.  After successfully gaining access into the school as Ashton, Violet must keep up her hoax.  She also develops an idea in which she will show her true self at the end of the year Science Fair when she presents her project for all to see.

    With Violet’s need for secrecy and being surrounded by an all-male environment, it is without a doubt that hilarity will ensue and that there would be many opportunities in which her guise could be discovered.  Especially with the dukes cousin, Cecily, developing strong feelings towards Violet/Ashton and with Violet developing some sort of feelings towards the duke, Ernest, himself.

    All Men of Genius by A.C. Rosen was such an enjoyable read.  The characters were easily likeable, and though the storyline may not be that original, the story itself was fun to read.  Not only was it about Violet’s need to keep her secret, but also revolved around the mystery surrounding Illyria was a fun element in the story.  With the different encounters that Violet and her group of friends come across in the school’s basement, it was that aspect of the story that kept me hooked.

    There was so much blackmailing going on it was making my head spin, but it was also what kept the story interesting.  I was constantly kept wondering how Violet would be able to keep up her ruse, especially when feelings were starting to surface all over the place.

    I really enjoyed the way in which the author introduced the backgrounds of the main characters in the story.  Stories within the main storyline.  I alsoreally enjoyed the action and pacing near the end of the book.  It was so exciting and I loved how the author jumped from one character to the other, letting the reader know what each character was going through at the particular time.

    Of all the characters in the book, my favorite had to be Violet’s twin brother Ashton.  Although he’s not found when the stories revolve around the escapades in the school, the parts where Violet and her friends spent their time with Ashton were my favorite.  His attitude and personality was so fun and I couldn’t get enough of him.

    Fans of steampunk, Shakespeare’s  Twelfth Night, and the movie Who’s The Man (which I personally think is such a fun movie!) will really enjoy All Men of Genius.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    NO Just NO

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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