Author: Fran Wilde
Released: June 4th, 2019
I received a copy of The Fire Opal Mechanism through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Fire Opal Mechanism is the second novel in the Gemworld series. I was a little conflicted about this novella. On the one hand – I desperately wanted to see more of this world. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite over the heartbreak caused by The Jewel and Her Lapidary (a brilliant novella, but one that hit me on an emotional level).
The world has changed since the time of The Jewel and Her Lapidary. Gems and lapidaries have all but faded out of existence. And in their place, a war has been waged. One against books and academies. Shudder the thought, I know.
Ania was the librarian at one of the last standing academies. And she’s determined to save as many books as possible from the Pressmen. The Pressmen are the big bad in this novella – they’re the ones going after what they consider ‘private knowledge’ and trying to force into the public. By taking books and destroying schools. There’s more to it than that, of course.
Meanwhile, Jorit is just doing what it takes to survive. She’s always done what it takes. That is, until she met Ania, where everything changed for her.
The Fire Opal Mechanism took the story told in The Jewel and Her Lapidary and brought it to whole new heights. It had a different material focus – books and words over gems and lapidaries, but it was still extremely powerful.
Books, determination, passion, and time travel are all major elements in this novella. And I couldn’t have been happier with their inclusions. This was a fast-paced novella, one whose heart I couldn’t sympathize with more if I tried.
I was surprised that the focus changed slightly. From gems to books. Granted, gems still play a part in this new (and arguably darker) world. Just a different role than I had expected. Despite that, I greatly enjoyed the portrayal.
Ania and Jorit’s adventure and attempts to save the written word were powerful and fascinating. I loved so much about this. Starting from their emotional ties to their pasts, to their determination to keep going forward. And admittedly I also appreciated just how different these two are, and how they came together despite it all.
While I loved everything about The Jewel and Her Lapidary (and found myself moved by it) I feel like I was more emotionally compelled by this tale. Perhaps it was the subject of books that really brought it home for me. No matter the reason, I’m happy for it.
I don’t know if there will be more to tell from Gemworld, but I certainly hope to see more of this unique and magical world.