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The Friday Society [Hardcover]

Adrienne Kress
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 11 2012
An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns–and the heroines who use them all

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

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Review

"With odd inventions, beautifully described clothing, and skilled heroines, this alternate history offers much to enjoy." — Publishers Weekly

"...an overall sense of frothy fun prevails, bolstered by winks at genre convention (much is made of the always-foggy London crime scenes) and by three kick-ass females with complementary strengths and distinctive personalities." — The Horn Book

"The Friday Society is an explosively entertaining concoction–a mystery and an adventure folded around complex themes, draped in rich historical settings, spiced with Steampunk cool and laced with sharp contemporary wit. It's a firecracker of a read, packed with a trio of feisty, fiery, fiercely intelligent heroines worth rooting for. More please!" — Lesley Livingston, author of the internationally bestselling Wondrous Strange series

About the Author

Adrienne Kress studied at the University of Toronto, and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Her time in the UK served as inspiration for her middle-grade books, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate. Adrienne has since returned to Toronto, where she acts, directs, produces, and writes.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Flirty Read! Dec 16 2012
By Avery Greaves TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
As I have said time and time again, it is very rare for me to like female characters- especially when compared to their male counterparts. I feel like the male characters are so built up, that we, as readers, know everything about them, from the differentiating flecks of colour in their eyes, how their hair falls just perfectly over their forehead, how the one corner of their mouth quirks up, etc., whereas the female characters are often just shells that female readers can insert themselves into- that is, until I read this book and met its three main females- Michiko, Nellie, and Cora.

Each of these girls is so dynamic, multifaceted, insert adjective of that nature here (and with such BIG personalities)- but best of all, I think it darn near impossible to pick a favourite out of the three as they each bring something unique to the table- from Michiko's understated strength and elegance to Cora's intelligence and witty comebacks to Nellie's charm and just overall likeability. They are some of few characters that I know that I will never tire of revisiting.

Another element of this book that really stuck out to me was the setting- a sort of Victorian-era setting with a Steampunk vibe. While I have read many books of this nature I have only found one to be truly successful in carrying it out before- Lia Habel's "Dearly, Departed", again, that is, until I read this novel. In fact, I think that the setting of this book may be even better than that of Habel's as I find the Steampunk to be not so glaringly obvious (ie. almost as if it is just thrown in there for the sake of being there), like Michiko's understated strength and elegance the Steampunkness is, too, understated.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hoping for more April 1 2013
Format:Hardcover
Charlie's Angels meet steampunk -- at least it tries. The one thing I love about Charlie's Angels is the bond the girls share but in this book, Michiko, who didn't speak English was left out which was odd because if anyone really had a reason to go after the bad guy it was her.

The action scenes were suspenseful for a reader needing an adrenaline rush. And the chapters cleverly marked as 9 1/2 or 9 3/4. Adrienne Kress appears to be a very sophisticated writer in this picture and her magic rubs off on the trio of girls. I enjoyed reading about their gowns and fashion taste. But unfortunately the romance lacked depth with several gratuitous kisses that turned this BookCupid off.

Will there be a sequel? The ending seems to hint at it.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute for what it is. Dec 21 2012
By Nicole @ Paperback Princess - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I found that this story was really cute, but not a favorite. If you remember, we did a Waiting on Wednesday on this book back in October, and I was able to get a copy of it when I went to New York Comic Con. I was excited to check out a book about three kick ass ladies who solve crime.

The reason that I did not love this book was because a lot of the language and terms used were ones not from the early 1900s, and as a historian, well, I got irked. For starters, the Nellie and Cora kept referring to themselves as "so hot"which is not a term that was used that way in the early 1900's. The other offending term was "Wow. Deep." I felt that a lot of what they were saying were colloquialisms unique to our time.

I loved Michiko and felt that she was the only character that managed to grow within the book. She went from being this girl in a foreign land, who was bullied by her "master" into this strong samurai. I did feel that it was a little difficult to incorporate her because she had a language barrier. I loved learning a little bit more about the art of the samurai.

Cora started out as my favorite, she was strong and independent, but as the book went on, she just bothered me. Her whole dalliance with a gentleman in the book felt so rushed but not in an insta-love way, just a this feels weird way. Nellie was another one that I didn't like from the beginning just because she seemed so superficial and fake. I will admit that I love her use of glitter as self defense.

If I look past the characters and the other difficulties, I liked the plot line. At times it felt a little all over the place. I loved the titles of the chapters and how they all tied together. I also liked how the steampunk tied in with Cora's inventions. There were a lot of fun themes through this book, that make it worth checking out, I have friends that totally loved it, so maybe its the book for.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Characters: Good! Steampunkiness: Good! Mystery/Plot: Ehhhh Dec 9 2012
By BookY - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was one of those books that I bought pretty much solely because of the book cover. I mean, just look at it! It screams girl-power, steampunk and fun. And in those 3 respects at least, it definitely delivers.

Cora, Nellie and Michiko are thrown together by chance one night, at the scene of a grisly murder. Fate has their paths crossing again and again, a friendship blossoms, and they find themselves working together to solve a series of mysteries that may or may not be all connected.

The beginning of this book is fantastic - I loved the way the 3 girls are introduced to the reader. I liked learning about each girl's past and getting to know her personality. Each has her own personal struggles to overcome, as well as interesting relationships with secondary characters.

The steampunk setting is also nicely done. There are gadgets galore, cool inventions and the clothing descriptions are awesome. The language/dialogue does feel a bit off with modern phrases popping up here and there, but I got used to it after awhile and didn't think it was overly distracting.

Things I didn't like:

Although it starts out strong, the story does lose steam about midway through. The writing is snappy and fun, but sometimes (and towards the end, many times) the "fun" goes a little over the top and spills into the realm of absurdity. Although I laughed several times throughout the book, I found myself rolling my eyes just a little bit more. In particular, the part where the villain is revealed and motivations are explained is downright ridiculous. Really, the mystery as a whole was pretty lame and one aspect of it was very predictable. The ending played out like a bad cartoon episode.

Although the plot is weak, the parts that focus on the characters and their relationships are good enough to mostly make up for it. Anyway, the book cover pretty much says it all, what you see is what you get: no dark, intricate plot or deep emotion ridden story here, but rather, a light, fun and an overall entertaining read (as long as you're willing to put up with some silliness).
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A scientist, a samurai, and a stage star sizzle in this steampunk story Dec 6 2012
By Sue B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Friday Society is the story of 3 very different young women who become friends, defy conventions, battle evil, and have a darn good time, as does the reader. I really enjoyed the characters; smart, funny, ambitious and opinionated girls making there way in a steampunk universe. Each has her own area of expertise, her own cultural background, and her own obstacles to overcome. The fact that they learn that together as a group they can support each other and pool their knowledge is a major strength of the novel. This occurs without any sort of preachy atmosphere developing, this book is dedicated to fun. The plot zings along, there is murder, mayhem, and some very creepy villains, (the eye collector is a good example), romance develops with blushes and missteps along the way, and a sense of comedic adventure is maintained throughout. The trio swears and drinks, develop crushes and kiss the boys, and fight with fists, swords, and the well-placed knee to the groin. But all of this badass behavior is pretty PG, they are nice girls dealing in a practical manner with the situations they face--their instincts and moral compass are sound. They also display a gentler side as well, for example Michiko's relationship with her young pupil, making them more developed and believable, not cardboard characters. The "voice" of the narration heightens the sense of comedy and ties the story neatly together not letting the pace drag for a moment. The mix of 21st century language and Victorian mores can be a little jarring at times, but once immersed in the story you're not likely to notice it. Recommended for anyone looking for light adventure and some fine female role models. I'm looking forward to the Society's next adventure. Thanks to the publisher for letting me read this galley.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Female Characters! Dec 6 2012
By Avery Greaves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As I have said time and time again, it is very rare for me to like female characters- especially when compared to their male counterparts. I feel like the male characters are so built up, that we, as readers, know everything about them, from the differentiating flecks of colour in their eyes, how their hair falls just perfectly over their forehead, how the one corner of their mouth quirks up, etc., whereas the female characters are often just shells that female readers can insert themselves into- that is, until I read this book and met its three main females- Michiko, Nellie, and Cora.

Each of these girls is so dynamic, multifaceted, insert adjective of that nature here (and with such BIG personalities)- but best of all, I think it darn near impossible to pick a favourite out of the three as they each bring something unique to the table- from Michiko's understated strength and elegance to Cora's intelligence and witty comebacks to Nellie's charm and just overall likeability. They are some of few characters that I know that I will never tire of revisiting.

Another element of this book that really stuck out to me was the setting- a sort of Victorian-era setting with a Steampunk vibe. While I have read many books of this nature I have only found one to be truly successful in carrying it out before- Lia Habel's "Dearly, Departed", again, that is, until I read this novel. In fact, I think that the setting of this book may be even better than that of Habel's as I find the Steampunk to be not so glaringly obvious (ie. almost as if it is just thrown in there for the sake of being there), like Michiko's understated strength and elegance the Steampunkness is, too, understated.

While I know that some will have complaints that this novel isn't historically accurate, that the characters speak in too modern of a manner, etc. I personally really enjoyed that aspect- I found that it made the book much more fun and lighthearted than books of this nature typically are- much less heavy than usual. Plus, I feel like I could relate to them more as the way that we think is very similar.

All in all, I believe this to be a stunning debut from author Adrienne Kress- not only can I not wait to see what she has in store for us next, but I will be adding a finished copy of this to my shelves! I highly recommend this for those looking for memorable characters with a fun (not to mention sometimes flirty) storyline!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth your time Jan. 6 2013
By guitarchick24 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I had such high hopes for this book, but eventually had to put it down in disgust.

The Friday Society is about three unusual girls - Cora, Nellie and Michiko - who are assistants to some of England's most interesting and prominent men. The three girls form an unlikely friendship when they meet at a ball and discover a murder.

The book is slow to start. The author takes her time introducing each character and her backstory. About six chapters in we get to the good stuff - i.e., the girls meeting and the plot really beginning. The characters are fun and the story, while not amazing, is enjoyable.

So what drove me insane? The language. As other reviewers pointed out, while the story is set in London, 1900, the author's modern language is not. It's kind of jarring - Nellie is "hot" and Cora is "smokin'", not "beautiful" or some other word appropriate to the time. And while Nellie is Irish - I think - we don't really get a sense of that from her speech. Okay, that's fine, I can ignore the modern-isms. What I couldn't get past was the author's treatment of Michiko. She's one of the main characters, and is constantly referred to as "the Japanese girl." Nellie's boss is a Persian Magician, but he's always referred to by his first name or as The Magician, not as "the Persian man." Also, there were several times when Michiko is referred to as "Jap," which may have been used in 1900, but is now a derogatory term. If the author is going to use modern language throughout, she should have been sensitive to that fact and not called her main character a racial slur.

I really wanted to like this book, but the language really turned me off.
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