We all make snap decisions, and whoever says otherwise is a liar. When UK novelist Adam Millard reached out to me to review his eclectic piece Wanderlust, I was a bit taken aback. Not because of his brave use of strong imagery, but because his sheer willingness to bring the world’s attention to that of steampunk. One of the first and truest forms of subversion, steampunk is the perfect blend of technology and industrial aesthetics that gives Millard’s work a sense of modernity but also a tinge of nostalgia.
Millard’s Wanderlust is energetic and refreshing in its portrayal of suspense in turn of the century London. The story finds the self-aware and agile Abigale Egars, infamous art thief, is a heroine for the ages. She’s unapologetic and intelligent, quite literally, up for anything. Egars is soon kidnapped by the faceless The Guild, an organization that wishes to extract the wisdom from Egars’ mind via an implanted device. Egars is then forced to embark on several quests by The Guild, throwing her life in danger and enabling her to question the true value of art in the new world order.
Wanderlust is really unlike anything I’ve ever really read before. Millard showcases his clear talent at skilful writing with the fleshed out presentation of Abigale Egars. In fact, many of the characters depicted, including Egars’ own mentor, Octavius, are all very well described and multi-faceted. While they indeed serve a purpose in driving the suspenseful plot forward, they also add to the gutsiness of Millard’s writing style.
Steampunk is the backbone of the book, but it’s also an exercise in the allowance of adversity within a familiar genre. Millard’s imagination leaps off the page, detailing advanced technology and modes of transportation that do not detract from the literary pursuits of the work itself. I love books where both the main character and its settings are cool and chic, and Wanderlust certainly has that, and much, much more.