The World of Lœmia (part 1)
Thanks for stopping by the official blog for J.S. Bishop's novels set in the world Lœmia. To date, there are two different series (and many more planned) that take place in different parts of this world, a middle grade series, "The Annals of Plantaregis," and a young adult series, "The Legends of Gearnst."
The first book in the middle grade series, "Aurelius on the Edge," is an immersive steampunk fantasy about Aurelius Strain, a poor young man living in a world stratified by class, wealth, and immigration status. When his father dies, he is left in the care of his mother, as well as of his grandfather, who has returned from the old country to grieve for his son. The family lives in poverty in a section of the city called The Edge. To make ends meet, his mother works long hours as a stevedore at the city’s docks high overhead, and grandfather has taken over his son’s job as Skymaster of Cenweth. To be the Skymaster means protecting the city from pyrate ships intent on plunder, and requires a mage who can use a certain innate power to control the ward that encircles the city. It’s an important job that only Aurelius’s father and grandfather can do well – and yet this has never improved the family’s financial situation. And Aurelius has other worries, too: school is a nightmare where every day he and his peers are made to answer roll by stating both name and station – “Aurelius?” “From the Edge.” – thus emphasizing the differences between them and reminding Aurelius that the boy there that he loves – Thomas from the Above – is out of his league. He values the friendship of Victoria, but he gets the feeling that she wants to be more than friends. Plus, he never sees his mother because her job keeps her at the docks day and night. He can’t even make his grandfather see that the breathing exercises and meditation he insists on teaching Aurelius are no antidote to the stark classism and anti-immigration rules of the city.
On the eve of the fall festival, an annual event drawing airships and commerce from far away lands – making the rich even richer – Aurelius’s grandfather is kidnapped from the control tower high above the city. When he can’t get Quillsing, a councilman and power broker in the city, to search for the missing Skymaster, Aurelius is forced into a strange alliance with an aeronaut named Crumbernathy who claims to have been friends with his parents. Together, they find a strange “talking” book among the things grandfather has left behind. The book helps Aurelius – when he will listen to it – follow clues that implicate Quillsing in grandfather’s disappearance and in the weakening of the ward.
Exploring subjects such as classicism, other-ism, misogyny, and LGBTQA+ representation in an immersive steampunk world, Aurelius on the Edge injects new, diverse blood into old tropes. This novel is part Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve and part Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.