I picked up this book after reading Wood Sprites, which was wonderful. This book, um. It ticks a lot of my favorite tropes (dragons, spaceships, space-time continuum) it also had some of my least favorite tropes (consent is what?, woman is kept ignorant by her men; rape&pregnancy as punishment) which creeped me out
Tinker is a genius orphan (hello, trope) who is only 5 feet tall and hates being short. Her only relative is her slightly older cousin Oilcan. They are actually named after inventors, and hate their names. Tinker is beyond clueless about politics, and when she saves Viceroy Wind-Wolf, she has no idea how much her life is about to change.
* Spaceships! and Dragons in the same book! what fun.
* Can’t communicate with your local dragon? Draw maps in gooey food coloring!
* Tinker is kidnapped by the bad guys to do science things, and CHANGES THE RULES.
* Tinker’s scientist friend Laine, who lives in Elf-Pittsburgh, has a garden of Earth flowers. When Tinker brings the wounded elf to Laine for healing, they damage the flowers. Later, the elves replace the entire damaged garden with Elf flowers. Expensive, mind you, Laine could never afford them – but they just assumed this is what she wanted and didn’t ask. Thank you, Wen Spencer, for using this minor incident to let us know that consent issues are going to pop up all over the place.
* Tinker invented the hovercraft, and Team Tinker races them, but we never see her in a race.
* Kitsune and Tengu are Japanese supernatural creatures, not Chinese, but there are only Chinese and no Japanese people in this book. *is puzzled*
* BOTH of her boyfriends AND the one wanna-be have no concept of consent. Yuck.
* The BadGuys(tm) are completely awful. No redeeming features, like loyalty to their own. Yeah, no. I like a teeny tiny bit of realism in my fantasy, thanks.
* Tinker is kidnapped by bad guys, and things are seriously awful.
The Double Take
* All the things I saw in “Wood Sprite” which pop up here are like Easter Eggs – so much fun
* Family Friend (and cop) Nathan tells just-turned-18 Tinker that he’s been in love with her she she was fifteen. He was 25. She’s all, oh boy, I’ve never been on a date before! I don’t even own a dress! So she buys a dress and Nathan assumes that’s an invitation to pull her into the shadows and grope under the dress. And then – say what? – assumes they can just continue the date as if nothing happened. And Tinker should just continue trusting him as if nothing happened.
If I had read this book first, I don’t know that I would have continued the series, even though I loved Wen Spencer’s other book 8 Milion Gods, which showcased Japanese culture.