Thursday, October 17, 2013

All Men of Genius

All Men of GeniusAll Men of Genius by Lev A.C. Rosen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book stands on its own, but as you've no doubt read in other reviews / previews, it's also a mashup of Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest. Related to Oscar Wilde's personal issues, and the masquerade / hidden (sexual) identity in Twelfth Night, All Men... has alternate sexuality as plot points. None of it is "R" rated, I think, but perhaps a strong PG-13.

Readers with tenaciously held convictions regarding traditional sexuality may be more or less offended. Readers with less concern with those matters will not be bothered.

The story involves Violet Adams who wants to attend the premier science institution, Illyria College, where only men are accepted as students. She pretends to be her brother (the names of the character and the college are deliberate, not to say obvious allusions to 12th Night). All Men of Genius is not a pioneer after 12th Night using sexual disguise as a plot device. For example, in the first Alanna book in the series by Tamara Pierce, the plot point is exactly the same with all the complications involved for a teen girl trying to pass as a teen boy.

Along side the difficulties and confusions of Violet's progress in science academics is also the couples / mating "rituals" in an alternate Victorian England. This too, is well done. Like much of science fiction, it speaks to issues of today's culture through a lense of an alternate time.

The struggles involved in invention, discovering and fighting an elitist scientific club's plan to take over England and then the world provide page turning thrills. Many readers will finish quickly to appeaase their desire to discover "what happens next".

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