Lumière is a delightful book. I particularly loved the start: the steam elephant. I hope he reappears in future stories.
There are only two factors making this book less brilliant than its potential. Firstly, there are far too many deadly situations from which Eyelet `only just' escapes. She ran just fast enough too often, for my liking. The second was the generally over frantic pacing of events in the story, which left me feeling that I really didn't have enough opportunity to deeply explore this strange landscape. My view is that a page turning book need not be conducted at frenetic speed from cover to cover. I was held enough by the quality of both the writing and the story to have read a much longer book. I accept that possibly even most modern readers don't share my opinion. Me though, I wanted to know so much more about Eyelet's world. More words, more words!
I liked the mix of reminders I got from authors like Mervyn Peake, L.Frank Baum and Ray Bradbury. I'm sure that every reader will find shades of other famous writers, including or excluding these three.
The author has created a beautiful mix of individuals, from the heroine with a form of epilepsy, to a hero and lover with a badly birth-marked face, to an intriguing character with a deficit of limbs but no lack of flexibility. The interplay between the principle characters is wonderful, and all set in a totally unbelievably believable dystopian world. I read the setting as being on a sort of parallel Earth, in which environmental disaster has caused society to reinvent medieval justice. In one sense steampunk is always in a parallel world, as history didn't lead us quite that way.
Continuing the steam theme, there was plenty of crafty inventions, including a sentient flying machine and other steam driven contraptions. We also read unlikely romance, of flesh eating near dead human waifs and ghouls, environmental catastrophe, cruel justice, deception, mechanical ravens with literal photographic memories, and so much more.
And yes, like most worthwhile reading entertainments, this book is making some serious points as well. In particular, it reminds that so many people with blessed looks and lucky circumstances are so absolutely ghastly. Well, they are aren't they!
I very much enjoyed reading a fantasy heroine who isn't yet another version of Angelina Jolie's character, Lara Croft, in Tomb Raider's.