*Image and book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
June has been studying ancient mechanics ever since her Grandfather showed her a relic he'd picked up from an "Angel of Vengeance" who'd saved him on the Russian battlefront in the war. She's spent her entire career trying to figure out the mystery of this relic. When she finds, and "revives", an old mechanical doll given to the Pope from the Tsar of Russia, the doll writes the word avtomat and June gets thrown into the middle of a war that is ages old.
This was quite the enjoyable, engaging book. A little bit of an alternate history, but mostly a "they've been here the whole time" kind of thing. I greatly appreciated the cutting back and forth between June's present perspective and Peter's past perspective. This allowed me to build up on clues from both time periods to figure out what was going on.
I do wish there had been a little more world building. I'm quite curious to know who The First Men are or were. Of course, given that each avtomat loses a big chunk of their memory every time their anima shifts or shuts down for a while, I can see why that information would be left to the reader's interpretation. The anima themselves have left me with several questions. If Wilson writes a sequel to this book, I will be looking for answers.
Probably my favorite part of this book was the character development. As I read more and learned more about the characters, I grew to appreciate them. Though June is a human in an avtomat war, she is still very resourceful, clever and strong. Though Peter is torn about how to properly serve his anima of Truth and Justice, he is willing to learn from his mistakes and admit when he's wrong, especially to protect those he cares about.
If/when Wilson writes a sequel, I will be expecting some more information about the technology used to create the avtomat and keep them held together. I appreciated what information I could get. That an avtomat can be forced to "hibernate" when they've endured too much damage and repair. That the remaining energy of one anima can be used to refuel another. It's a good start, but it's set my curiosity on edge. And that ending gave Wilson plenty of room to write a sequel.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, this was an interesting and engaging book and I need to know more about this world. 4 hoots!