Ticker – Lisa Mantchev



A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

My Thoughts

Ticker is my second foray into the world of steampunk – and it was quite the enjoyable adventure! I’ve always enjoyed reading books set in Victorian England, this book offers much of the fanfare – the dresses and cocktails and social graces – set in its own universe. The mechanics are graciously explained, which is beneficial to my non-mechanical mind, and yet it flows so naturally between the action and dialogue.

I enjoyed getting to know this world greatly – the language, the colloquialisms (By the Bells! is likely to become an expression I use often), the technology, etc. It’s all so familiar, and yet vastly different. It’s super exciting! When entering a whole new world, sometimes things can get lost in explanation and detail – I did not find this to be the case with Ticker. I enjoyed the imagery and explanation given to me. It allowed my imagination to run a little wild, while exploring a universe that is decidedly established. It really was great fun!

Here we have Penny who is in possession of a clockwork heart. This contraption which keeps her alive (for the most part) is the topic of a most resounding debate within her city – is Augmentation, as they call it, an abomination, or the next medical marvel, right at the cutting edge of technological advancement? There are incredible debates and opinions on both sides. As well as danger. Incredible danger.

This is not unusual in STEM fields, as I’ve come to realize. With advancement, comes discord. Some advancement can be highly dangerous, when placed in the wrong hands. STEM advancement and research is a risky, and yet, ever so necessary.

Penny is immersed head-first into a life or death game of cat and mouse – she must find her kidnapped parents at the risk of breaking her Ticker (her clockwork heart), which is no easy feat. She is aided by friends who are by her side every step of the way – not that she’d ever admit to needing help.

Violet, Nic, Sebastian and Marcus all try, in their own ways, to persuade Penny to taking it easy, letting others handle it. She’ll hear none of it. She needs to be right there, every step of the way, with everyone involved, if she’s going to find her parents, and set things right with the mad Doctor Calvin Warwick.

Penny is steadfast, stubborn, and exceedingly sassy. It’s really fantastic. She can banter continuously with the best of them – even when she’s at her worst. Though she displays a rough and tough exterior, she’s not afraid to admit to weakness, nor to her blossoming romantic feelings. She does not consider these things a hindrance. Rather, she pushes forward, head-strong, with nothing but hope for the best.

Ticker offers fantasy, action, adventure, and a hint of romance. The genres all blend together beautifully, offering a well-built universe with enigmatic and charismatic characters. I was immersed from start to finish. The universe of Ticker is a universe I will more than likely find myself revisiting on more than one occasion.


~ by Aubrey Smith on January 17, 2016.

2 Responses to “Ticker – Lisa Mantchev”

  1. I think you would enjoy the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. The first book is Phoenix Rising.

    It’s also Victorian steampunk with a dynamic duo of protagonists. Named, quite on the nose, “Books and Braun,” the first novel is a great adventure. I was very impressed with how far the series’ arc progresses over the first three books.

    • Now that I’ve found out Victorian steampunk is a genre, I am most interested in exploring it so much more.
      Thank you for the recommendation!! I’ve added it to my list, along with all your other recommendations! Thanks for always recommending more and more books to me, even though it takes forever for me to get to them!

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