Tor, Jun 2008, $25.95
Paolina Barthes has lived her entire life in Praia Nova on the Wall that separates north and south earth in the Atlantic, but is off of nowhere and inhabited by ship survivors and castaways. She is ecstatic when she has a chance to leave her home and see the world. Her vague goal is to reach England, as she has heard that the country is the most civilized nation in the world.
Paolina is unaware of how powerful a mage she is. She is unaware that some people will use her naivety for avaricious reasons while others see her as a deadly weapon. However, though unsophisticated Paolina is a genius in spite of her home having seven books in all, emotionally strong and will not be anyone’s patsy, but will she recognize in time when she is being taken advantage of.
Returning to his precision world of MAINSPRING, Jay Lake provides another unique entertaining science fiction-fantasy thriller that adds to the mythos of the heavenly clockwork yet it is so different from the first entry. The story line is character driven and not just by the young heroine although she is the prime star. Readers will enjoy following her adventures off the Wall where civilized cynics abound to use or kill the untrained but extremely talented mage.