All but alone, wild but resourceful Mira dreams of life beyond the shores of her mystical island. Isolated by her father, a dark sorcerer bent on vengeance, she has only his servants, an air spirit and a misshapen cast-off, to share her company. When Dante conjures a terrible storm to wash ashore his mortal enemies, Mira must chose between her loyalties to her father and what she knows is right.
Sail the skies and soar the seas surrounding this Isle of Sound and Wonder as Alyson Grauer masterfully retells William Shakespeare’s classic, The Tempest, bedecked in the trappings of Steampunk.
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I will admit Steampunk intimidates me. I’m afraid of gadgetry and mechanization that is, basically, over my head. My imagination is so fanciful I need magic in my stories. So, I was slightly intimidated when I picked up On the Isle of Sound and Wonder. But I’m a sucker for covers and LOOK AT THE COVER!! I’m in AWE! My fears quickly vanished. Grauer marries both magic and mechanics into an intelligent, well-crafted, seamless retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I was immediately drawn into a vivid world of mysterious voodoo magic, flying airships, and intellectual automatons, who if I can say this, reminding me a lot of adorable Baymax. In comparing the Shakespearean work, Grauer’s love and understanding of the original text shines through with her careful crafting and storytelling. There is more intensity with both relationships, depth of characters, and heightened danger among the island that cannot be translated to the stage. As a novel, the back stories of several characters can come to light, which I really enjoyed and kept the action and story moving. She didn’t veer so far from the play that you wouldn’t recognize it, but highlighted its potential, pleasing the Shakespearean connoisseur in me. Grauer’s clever play with names, places, and features complement the original text. Mira (modern Miranda) proved a strong interpretation of a growing young woman facing the harsh island life, and is a valiant example of a sacrificial heroine any girl could aspire to. I had the delightful pleasure of meeting Alyson Grauer at Salt City Steamfest last July and she is just as colorful and lively as her book. I loved . . . LOVED this book!
The further I read, the more I liked this book. I’m not familiar with Shakespear’s The Tempest, as it happens, but the human strengths and, particularly, weaknesses and ignorances in each character compacted with layers of schemes that start to unravel in the worst way is something Sound and Wonder shares unmistakably in common with the classic playwright’s style. Aly’s spin revolves around the shipwrecked crew of an airship, a neglected young girl, a magically deformed boy, a devious air spirit, a midwife witch, and a nobleman whose magical ambition plunges all of their lives into utter chaos. The descriptions and voice Aly infuses into this story have a bright, delightful quality that really draws out the wonder of this alternate universe where automaton butlers and magical fays are not-so-quietly at work in the background of the drama. At the same time, the story possesses some dark, serious subject matter. The story becomes gut-wrenching as the connections between characters and their fates come together. Very entertaining. Read it! Also…isn’t the cover art just amazing? If for no other reason, get yourself a copy of this book so you can stare at the gorgeous cover for a while.