Come inside and take a seat the show is about to begin Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass and copper troupe and their impossible feats Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magicThat magic is no accident Boss builds her circus from the bones out, molding a mechanical company that will survive the unforgiving landscapeBut even a careful ringmaster can make mistakesTwo of Tresaulti s performers are entangled in a secret standoff that threatens to tear the circus apart just as the war lands on their doorstep Now the Circus must fight a war on two fronts one from the outside, and a dangerous one from within


10 thoughts on “Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti

  1. ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣ ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣ says:

    Barelythan gibberish I m not persuaded it s steampunk, even though it s all about beings with clockwork parts There s entirely too much rambling about clockwork wings I m not persuaded it s a novel I m not persuaded it s worth reading at all.We get a lot of novelettes, vignettes on things that seem to have been designed to draw the reader s attention and hold him her them a captive audience One of the parts is about constumes, one about government men and so on But it doesn t work, Barelythan gibberish I m not persuaded it s steampunk, even though it s all about beings with clockwork parts There s entirely too much rambling about clockwork wings I m not persuaded it s a novel I m not persuaded it s worth reading at all.We get a lot of novelettes, vignettes on things that seem to have been designed to draw the reader s attention and hold him her them a captive audience One of the parts is about constumes, one about government men and so on But it doesn t work, primarily because the reader s attention is constantly jerked into a new direction It s like oh, here s a Winged Man, and here he s dead and noin the circus and here s a duo that makes public uncomfortable and here s Ayar and here s you know All this, it s not a book It s a KunstKammer of random miscellanea.Q Sometimes when it rains, or in the winter, Elena feels a lonely pang along her ribs She ignores it you get all sorts of pains in this line of work There s nothing else to be done c Q This is how you silence a pair of wings You find a barren plain on a windy day, and you sink to the ground as low as you can, and you bathe in the dust.The first time is like resting your hand over guitar strings you feel the vibration deeper than before, but the sound is softer, humming instead of singing.The second time you bathe in the dust, it s like setting down a guitar when you ve finished playing there s the hint of motion, the echo of the song, but if you didn t know what to listen for, you d never know.The third time, they are downy as a sparrow s, and make as little noise, so no one can hear you passing overhead.Then you can spread the wings as wide as you like, catch the wind without singing a note, go so high that the ground has nohold on you.Then you are the bird, and the bird, and the bird c Q Better to die here than in a cell better to die fighting, no matter what comes c Q The last time she had been in a city at night, it had been the night of Queen Tresaulta, and she had stood outside the opera house with the last inch of a cigarette, watching the street lights snapping to life one by one down the line, a line of bulbs fighting the dark The wreaths of lights have always been her favorite thing about the Circus c Q The cage they ve put her in is for a soprano bell she can t fully stand, can t sit, and she knows this position will eventually break her legs, having to bear her weight in this half bent way She panics a little It s quiet, thank goodness, so they don t get satisfaction When you live in the open, you learn that your doubts have to be silent or the whole thing falls to pieces c Q Whoever doesn t die will need some music later c Q She deserves our fight Without her, who of us would still be living c Q It s easy to trap a man alone c Q He asked her, Have you felt anything She thought about growing up during the war, dying, living through the circus Not for a long time, she said c Q Could you cut out the bones of someone you loved c Q There are some things Boss knows.Boss knows that great events have a spirit of their own Government men speak of it when they hold rallies in beautiful places lined with their soldiers, but they do not think it is true Greatness seldom reveals itself to government men c Q She does not know why it is that some cities have a greatness that allows them to stand, and others crumble less than a hundred years after the circus has passed there c Q It took her three days to crawl out onto the top of the wreckage.By the time she emerged, she was dragging pounds of detritus with her springs she d picked up without meaning to, gears that fell into her outstretched hands, twists of wire that peeled away from the wreckage as she climbed She had tied a string of ten piano keys to her belt she had pulled them free of the balcony wall.The dome at the apex of the Opera House had been blasted sideways and embedded into what was left of the ceiling She climbed inside the brass lined curve and lay back, sucking in ragged breaths When her panic had faded enough for her to move, she unknotted her skirts and arranged her collection at her feet in a little honor guard of metal bits and body parts The conductor s head rested near her left hand, gazing out mournfully at their city, where war had come.From where she was curled against the cool metal, she could see burning roofs dotting the sky Occasionally the sharp report of gunfire would float up from the streets, but it was rare The fight here was over Now it was just a matter of the new government grinding the old one to death underfoot, and beginning again with the next city in line The men who would burn through the city would never even look up and think, What a beautiful building that was, with the brass dome and the music they would never look up and think, What a pity For this stone hall I lived, she sang softly Her lungs, stretching with the notes, felt like hers again after so many days of struggle She finished the aria, an octave and a half below Annika s rendition, so quietly that only the walls of the dome caught the sound They rolled the notes back to her, tinny but true.She rested the conductor s head in her lap and smoothed its hair It was beautiful music, she said My compliments She watched the sky go from black to grey slowly the fires burned themselves out, and the gunfire settled, and finally it was that long hour between night and dawn, and she was alone in the world c Q Most government men are not an accident.Every so often, there s a soldier in the ranks who happens to be standing after all the rest have fallen there s a rich young man maneuvered into place by those who have plans for him there s a bureaucrat who happens to keep out of the pit of vipers long enough to grow befuddled and white haired and become a minister of something without really trying But most true government men are hungry for it most government men make plans most government men are born, not made Those with great hunger are born, not made c Q When a particular young boy goes to the circus, and forgets to clap at the tumblers or the strongman because he is wondering if they could be of any use to him, he is a government man While he watches them, he thinks of an agile militia a way to prepare convicts before he puts them to labor a body for himself Government men are never too young to worry about dying before their work is finished c Q Boss can see that the tall buildings had fallen first their iron girders had groaned and bent and sent their towers crashing onto the low roofs, bringing the whole city to the ground.That s what happens, she thinks, if no one cares for the bones of a thing c Q But this is how memories are always true, never the truth c Q No matter how much time passes, there are some people who don t like a crowd made of metal, no matter how much they smile c Q Boss smiled thinly Her griffins were trembling c Q She s gone cold mad over the years The wind blows right through Bird c Q People have no loyalty that s what it is That s the real pity c Q EXOTIC DANCING GIRLS, the poster says, though it s only exotic because they ve had to make it all up as they went along, so it s foreign stuff even to them c Q That was his angle she wanted him to look as if he had risen from a trash heap stronger than the men who had buried him beneath it It was meant to inspire and to frighten the junk man resurrected Boss makes freaks, but she knows what she s doing c Q The dancing girls come next They are all muscle under their filmy skirts once they were soldiers or factory workers, they pack and unpack as much rig as the tumblers but the audience demands dancing girls, so they make do Over the years they have all learned the profit in the curled hand and the cocked hip.Their eyes are rimmed with kohl and their lips are painted purple they uncover as much as they can of their skin you have to cover the scars, of course c Q It was for Alec she made the wings.It was the only gift she ever gave him it was the only gift she has ever given to someone without a new name attached, the only gift she s ever given without killing someone first c Q This is what happens when you take a step you are moving closer to what you want c Q Tenderly, as only monsters are tender, he asks, Are you afraid to be like us, Ying c Q Even Ayar s back tells the right time twice a day, and it was my turn to be right c


  2. Stephen Stephen says:

    Poetic but grim The Circus Tresaulti travels across a dystopian future It s performers are lost souls, former soldiers turned aerialists, acrobats and a strong man, each a composite of human, copper and steel Their relationships are intricate and complicated Mechanique is about people not punk Together they form an eclectic family ultimately called to fight for their creator Highly original, and beautifully written in a unique almost documentary style Everything that the over rated Emily Poetic but grim The Circus Tresaulti travels across a dystopian future It s performers are lost souls, former soldiers turned aerialists, acrobats and a strong man, each a composite of human, copper and steel Their relationships are intricate and complicated Mechanique is about people not punk Together they form an eclectic family ultimately called to fight for their creator Highly original, and beautifully written in a unique almost documentary style Everything that the over rated Emily St John Mandel s Station Eleven could have been but wasn t Loved it Recommended


  3. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    This is a fucking phenomenal prose poem I know, it s billed as a novel, but trust me on this it s a prose poem The writing is just gorgeous As soon as I finished, I started all over again, just so I could wallow in the language and recognize the things which resonated on the second reading and hadn t on the first The last novel that impressed me this much was Nicola Griffith s Slow River, and this is frankly better than Griffth s debut, Ammonite, which is an impressive debut in its own righ This is a fucking phenomenal prose poem I know, it s billed as a novel, but trust me on this it s a prose poem The writing is just gorgeous As soon as I finished, I started all over again, just so I could wallow in the language and recognize the things which resonated on the second reading and hadn t on the first The last novel that impressed me this much was Nicola Griffith s Slow River, and this is frankly better than Griffth s debut, Ammonite, which is an impressive debut in its own right Which is to say READ THIS OMG


  4. Lea Lea says:

    I can t write My artistic gifts are in other areas, and usually I m okay with that But every now and again I ll read a book that makes me grind my teeth in frustration why oh why oh WHY can t I write like this Mechanique A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti is exactly that kind of book If I COULD write, I could explain how elegant the writing is, how the author weaves together various stories and viewpoints to gradually build the tale of the Circus Tresaulti, never coming right out and sayin I can t write My artistic gifts are in other areas, and usually I m okay with that But every now and again I ll read a book that makes me grind my teeth in frustration why oh why oh WHY can t I write like this Mechanique A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti is exactly that kind of book If I COULD write, I could explain how elegant the writing is, how the author weaves together various stories and viewpoints to gradually build the tale of the Circus Tresaulti, never coming right out and saying this happened, then this happened, then this happened , but conveying the necessary information with just a word or a phrase It s amazing and magical and beautiful, and it makes me seethe with envy.I absolutely adore steampunk, but so far I ve found the writing to belacking It s funny how some genres are like that I ve found every Bizarro title I ve read so far to be extremely well written, intelligent and challenging I haven t had the same experience with steampunk I keep hoping, but so far I just haven t found that consistency of quality within the genre Genevieve Valentine has raised the bar I mean, raised it so far that it s almost out of sight.Please please please, someone make a movie out of this book Sure, some parts might be difficult to render on film, but not impossible and this is a story I would pay to see again and again.Absolutely wonderful, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone


  5. Meaghan Meaghan says:

    So it turns out there were two steampunky books about circuses released in 2011, Erin Morgenstern s The Night Circus and this one They begin similarly, with descriptions of how outsiders first approach the circus, and from there on the comparison is probably inevitable The world of Mechanique, however, is very different from the lushly described world of The Night Circus where The Night Circus is almost overwhelmingly rich, Mechanique seems barren and dry The story takes place in an unidenti So it turns out there were two steampunky books about circuses released in 2011, Erin Morgenstern s The Night Circus and this one They begin similarly, with descriptions of how outsiders first approach the circus, and from there on the comparison is probably inevitable The world of Mechanique, however, is very different from the lushly described world of The Night Circus where The Night Circus is almost overwhelmingly rich, Mechanique seems barren and dry The story takes place in an unidentified era it could be an alternate world, it could be the future or the past Valentine never specifies when the world has been ravaged by some sort of long term warfare again, Valentine never specifies exactly what s happened The Circus Tresaulti travels around with a cast of fairly typical circus acts such as trapeze artists and tumblers What is not typical about them is that several of the performers have metal body parts The ringmaster of the Circus Tresaulti, named Boss, is a mysterious woman who apparently has the power to raise the dead by turning them into mechanical beings The trapeze artists have bones of hollow copper pipe the strong man has a metal spine At one point, there was also a winged man named Alec, but he died sometime before the story starts, leaving his wings for the potential use of another There is a woman named Bird and a man named Stenos, both of whom seem to want the wings for themselves The Night Circus main deficiency is that it s not particularly heavy on plot This is a flaw Mechanique takes to a muchfrustrating level, and what exactly motivates all these characters remains unexplained Much of the novel is focused on Alec s miraculous wings We are told that Bird and Stenos want the wings, but we have no idea why aside from the obvious fact that having wings would probably be pretty cool and there is nothing in particular to indicate why either of them is a good candidate to receive them In fact, it is implied that Boss will never give the wings to another person, so all of this seems moot for much of the novel The subplot about a Government Man with an interest in using Boss technology to create super soldiers is what drives most of the action, but in the end, even that is mainly used as a device to push forward the who gets the wings question.The story is told from various world weary perspectives in a completely humourless style that tries a little too hard for an oblique, poetic tone Events are referred to but rarely described almost all the early chapters end with foreboding references to some tragic occurrence that has yet to be identified Characters make dramatic gestures and do strange things for unknown reasons Strangely, Bird is described as frighteningly mad several times, even though nothing she does would seem to indicate that she is significantlyinsane than any of the other characters The author also has an irritating habit of using brackets to tag tangential information onto the end of a thought This often occurs several times per page If you only read one 2011 published, circus based novel, make it The Night Circus It s the only one worth reading


  6. Nerine Dorman Nerine Dorman says:

    Sometimes stories exist that hit all of my buttons at the same time, and Mechanique is one of those rare finds for 2012 that really succeeded in keeping me glued to my ereader Where do I start Perhaps with my love for travellers I watched both seasons of Carnivale a few years ago and that really captured my imagination The concept of a group of misfits journeying together who somehow succeed in being a family Then of course, Genevieve Valentine plays with a concept that is near and dear to Sometimes stories exist that hit all of my buttons at the same time, and Mechanique is one of those rare finds for 2012 that really succeeded in keeping me glued to my ereader Where do I start Perhaps with my love for travellers I watched both seasons of Carnivale a few years ago and that really captured my imagination The concept of a group of misfits journeying together who somehow succeed in being a family Then of course, Genevieve Valentine plays with a concept that is near and dear to my heart that of a post apocalyptic society On top of that she adds magic that is never truly full explained and garnishes with a clockwork theme The result beauty and a macabre yet gorgeous mutilation of art that left me breathless I ll add a short warning here I don t think this novel is going to appeal to a broad base of readers It jumps in point of view, sometimes first person, sometimes second and sometimes third, but somehow Valentine gets it all to hang together in a rich tapestry of imagery and text That being said, once I got used to her style, I immediately plunged right into the narrative And there s a lot going on here Superficially Mechanique tells the story of the Circus Tresaulti that somehow exists outside of time as it travels from one ruined city to the next The circus s mistress, Boss, has the ability to defy death in her creations, her performers, who are modified and, in many cases accept the bones that set them apart from ordinary folk A threat arises from the outside in the form of the government man, who sees the circus as an opportunity to create soldiers to aid him in his programme of world domination But within the circus there is tension too, particularly with regard to a pair of mechanical wings that two main characters both strive to There sto this device that meets the eye, however, and I found the love hate relationship between Bird and Stenos to be one of the pivotal story arcs within the novel.Most of the story is told by Little George, Boss s assistant, and his na vet adds a freshness to the milieu He is the glue that somehow holds all the others together, from the phlegmatic Ayar to the seemingly malicious Elena I can probably end this review with a whole bunch of superlatives I m not going to All I can say is that if you re looking for a mythical, multi layered work of literary fantasy, then Mechanique is a welcome diversion from reality that will stay with you for a very long time, its characters enigmatic and unforgettable Valentine has a fan for life


  7. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    This is written like my dreams.I honestly cannot say whether this novel will resonate for others the way it did for me The story is exceedingly nonlinear, the narration bounces from first person to second to third close to third omniscent between chapters There are parts that do not quite make sense on a logical plane when examined closely, mysteries that are never explained or even justified Many of the characters are not particularly likeable people.But the writing aches I dream in deeply This is written like my dreams.I honestly cannot say whether this novel will resonate for others the way it did for me The story is exceedingly nonlinear, the narration bounces from first person to second to third close to third omniscent between chapters There are parts that do not quite make sense on a logical plane when examined closely, mysteries that are never explained or even justified Many of the characters are not particularly likeable people.But the writing aches I dream in deeply vivid imagery, often with a overwhelming narrative that has a strong internal logic that does not quite work upon waking The worlds are mysterious and deeply strange, often a little disturbing, but so heartbreakingly beautiful that I cannot quite find the words to convey them when I wake.Valentine did.What doesn t connect in regular logic works on a dream logic level And while not everything makes sense on a logistical sense it s not supposed to , it does make sense emotionally And the images of tortured Alec with his singing wings, of Panadrome the human pipe organ, of broken Bird, and haunted Stenos, and the mercenary tumblers and the Boss who holds them all together, body and soul I think they will haunt my dreams for some time to come


  8. Paul Paul says:

    Shortish and weird version I love this book If I were a tattoo person by which I mean a person who gets tattoos, not a literal tattoo person, imprisoned in someone else s skin , I d want this book tattooed on my body, but a 3D style tattoo, which would look weird and would probably look like a growth or a goiter , I know, but I can t help how I feel Longer version This book is another lesson in there being no absolutes in things I don t like statements, at least when it comes to art A le Shortish and weird version I love this book If I were a tattoo person by which I mean a person who gets tattoos, not a literal tattoo person, imprisoned in someone else s skin , I d want this book tattooed on my body, but a 3D style tattoo, which would look weird and would probably look like a growth or a goiter , I know, but I can t help how I feel Longer version This book is another lesson in there being no absolutes in things I don t like statements, at least when it comes to art A lesson I m happy to continually learn as I learned with The Last Werewolf So, I usually don t like circus stories, a trope used in many a bad horror story novel I have also uttered the phrase I can t stand steampunk multiple times, out loud, even saying it once in front of Genevieve only hours after having met her Foot in mouth and personal tastes notwithstanding, Mechanique is a brilliant novel.The circus troup Tresulti complete with strong man, aerialists, and , including them once having a winged man travels a war ravaged landscape, their shows equal parts beauty, wonder, menace, and unease Most of the performers have been brutally rebuilt with copper bones and other metal parts all of which become integral extensions of the characters and the story by the mysterious circus ringleader Boss she of the large griffin tattoos on her arms The latest greatest attempt at government wants to use Boss s talents to create super soldiers, to help bring back the old world, a world that Boss was once a part of and secretly longs for But that s really only one of the many threads of the story The interplay of all the characters, their motivations and desires, is brilliantly done The short chapters from various points of view, tenses, and styles acts as an extension of the circus itself and all its myriad bits Part of the magic of this gothic, dark, wildly imaginative book is that Genevieve has somehow managed to create an incredibly complex story that is still, I think, quite accessible Certainly unforgettable Go read it right now


  9. Melki Melki says:

    There s some lovely writing here, but the story is told in such an episodic fashion changing narrators, jumping around in time it makes for a frustrating, rather than fascinating read The descriptions provided were sparse, making visualization difficult, and the characters do not have distinct personalities One of them is apparently a bitch, though this is alluded to, rather than demonstrated Just because something is made of spare parts, does it have to be soulless How can someone nam There s some lovely writing here, but the story is told in such an episodic fashion changing narrators, jumping around in time it makes for a frustrating, rather than fascinating read The descriptions provided were sparse, making visualization difficult, and the characters do not have distinct personalities One of them is apparently a bitch, though this is alluded to, rather than demonstrated Just because something is made of spare parts, does it have to be soulless How can someone named Valentine be so cold and cruel


  10. Craig Craig says:

    Though it has steampunk flavoring, Mechanique is a hybrid novel, much like the half human half mechanical characters creatures it describes It s a New Weird dark fantasy tale set in a dystopian war torn landscape The structure of the story and its narrative cogs are very postmodern The text vacillates between first person narrative in the voice of Little George, the Circus gofer and third person points of view that range from brief character sketches to omniscient mis en scenes The nove Though it has steampunk flavoring, Mechanique is a hybrid novel, much like the half human half mechanical characters creatures it describes It s a New Weird dark fantasy tale set in a dystopian war torn landscape The structure of the story and its narrative cogs are very postmodern The text vacillates between first person narrative in the voice of Little George, the Circus gofer and third person points of view that range from brief character sketches to omniscient mis en scenes The novel tells the story of how the circus came to be It was created by a former opera singer who discovers she has the power bind living flesh to skeletons made of copper The process is magic, rather than scientific She becomes just Boss, a ringmaster and owner of the Circus Tresaulti, which features mechanical aerialists, strongmen and a walking one man orchestra The circus travels over a bleak landscape of crumbling cities One story line tells how each of the damaged folk managed to join, and describes the personal politics of the various members, who have all seen horrible things or come from bad backgrounds Little George s story has a bildungsroman arc other characters, such as the prickly aerialist Elena have their own arcs while other circus folk, like the cipher like Bird, emerge as characters through indirect observation The other story line is about a Government Man who like Boss has no name save his job title and his desire to learn Boss powers for creating remade people for his own nefarious means.Valentine employs a variety of techniques, from poetic quasi fables, to brief anecdotes to full fledged action sequences Her world building is suggestive rather than exhaustive the Balkanized citystates the circus travels through have a vagueness that isallegorical than precise The story is ultimately about finding loyalty and beauty in dark times Lovers of the work of the Brother Quay or Terry Gilliam, the painter Mark Ryder or the novel Geek Love by Katherine Dunn will find much to admire here