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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Ultimate Nyssa Glass: The Complete Series by H.L. Burke is a collection of YA steampunk/sci-fi novels centering on 16-year-old Nyssa, a reformed cat burglar. It starts with Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors, where the protagonist is happily working as an apprentice electrician and mechanic at Mr. Calloway’s shop in New Taured. Her peaceful life takes a turning point when a stranger comes to the shop and blackmails her to do one last heist.
The world building of the series is well-structured. It’s detailed and imaginative enough without being confusing, filled with retro-futuristic tech of analogue and digital computers, bio-mechanical robots, ‘horseless’ carriages and much more. The characters, even the secondary ones, are memorable and have believable traits, adding more depth to the stories. The pace is well-balanced, the narrative is flawless, and every plot is well thought out. The momentum keeps getting better, especially after Nyssa meets another protagonist, Ellis Dalhart.
The collection ends with Nyssa Glass and the Electric Heart. With the combination of action, humor, suspense, romance and even a bit of horror, the Nyssa Glass series is a page-turner that has something for everyone and not just for its YA readers. There’s no clear indication whether there will be another book for the series, but I do think there should be more stories and adventures about Nyssa and Ellis, including her cousin, Theo. All in all, H.L. Burke is definitely a great storyteller in the steampunk/sci-fi world, and I hope to see more of her work in this genre.