Sunday, June 7, 2015

"The Brass Giant"

Brooke Johnson is a stay-at-home mom, amateur seamstress, RPG enthusiast, and art hobbyist, in addition to all that book writing. As the jack-of-all-trades bard of the family, she adventures through life with her fiercely-bearded paladin of a husband, their daughter the sticky-fingered rogue, and their cowardly wizard of a dog, with only a sleep spell in his spellbook.

They currently reside in Northwest Arkansas, but once they earn enough loot and experience, they'll build a proper castle somewhere and defend against all manner of dragons and goblins, and whatever else dares take them on.

Johnson applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Brass Giant: A Chroniker City Story, and reported the following:
I don’t yet have the bound paperback of the novel from the publisher yet (that comes out June 23!), but estimating where page 69 might be in the print version…
She entered the lift and turned in a circle as she examined all the exposed gears and belts, pulleys, linkages, and electric wires, forgetting her disappointment, forgetting her worries and her doubts. Emmerich followed her in, the curved glass door of the lift closing behind him.

Buttons decorated a freestanding podium at the back of the lift, each one seeming to correspond with a floor in the east tower. There was a large lever on one side of the podium; Emmerich produced a key and slid it into a locking mechanism on the other side. Petra heard a distinct click within, and then, above the lift chamber, the drive motor whirred. Emmerich pressed a button labeled with an ornate O at the top right of the panel and pulled a knob at the bottom. The gearbox within the drive motor shifted, and a white bulb above the podium ignited.

“Ready?” He placed both hands on the large lever.

Petra nodded, and he put all of his weight into pulling the lever back. The whirring of the drive motor slowed for a moment, and with a loud click, the driveshaft locked. She held her breath. The spring-loaded lever snapped back to its original position, and the lift slowly rose above the lobby floor.

Petra’s heartbeat quickened, the steady hum of machinery whirring beneath her feet, vibrating through her bones. She could not help but smile, the gears spinning in perfect, deliberate harmony—a sound fashioned by the hands of a skilled engineer. This was why she wanted to be a part of the Guild, why she tried so hard to prove herself; she wanted to build things that sang, machines so expertly designed that they never faltered, so innovative that she changed the very motions of the world.

She wanted to build the future.
Is it representative of the rest of the book? Absolutely yes. The Brass Giant is full of descriptions like this, detailing the machines of Chroniker City through an engineer’s eyes. Petra lives and breathes machines, and Chroniker City is an integral part of who she is. Would a reader skimming this page be inclined to read on? If a wide variety of mechanical contraptions intrigue them, yes. I would hope so anyway. The Brass Giant is very much a love letter to Victorian science. If that interests you, then this is the book for you.
Learn more about the book and author at Brooke Johnson's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Brass Giant.

--Marshal Zeringue