Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Emilie-and-the-Hollow-WorldWhile running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry. Instead she lands up on the wrong ship… and at the beginning on a fantastic adventure.

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that teh crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of the enigmatic Lord Engel, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.

Emilie & the Hollow World is fantastic it reminds me a bit of James Blaylock’s Balumnia trilogy that i read in my early teens but it is completely kick arse in it’s own way.

A runaway girl trying to escape the shadow of her mother’s reputation and the disapproval of her relatives, aetheric sciences and magic plus a voyage into the hollow world with warring non-human people and a cut throat race between philosopher-mages to be the first to return to the surface with samples of life on the inside of the world.

There is a very neat disconenct between the surface (human) world and the world within hte hollow earth, matriarchal societies ruled by queens and traditionally male roles being taken on by female characters as opposed to the explorers where Lady Marlende appears to be the exception and as the story develops Emilie finds herself becoming more than she hoped to be as an adventuress.

One of my favourite parts of the book included this excellent conversation:
“And I wish to retrieve Kenar as soon as possible.” She paused on the landing to confide to Emilie, “Men are no good left on their own, you know. They pine.”
Emilie had never heard that before and the thought kept her occupied all the way down the stairs.

Seriously what is there not to like? I recommend it most highly!

Emilie & the Hollow World was published on the 4th April by Strange Chemistry.

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