Review: The White Pavilion by Ruth Fox

Review: The White Pavilion by Ruth Fox
The White Pavilion

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: The Cosmic Winds
Genres: Dystopian Romance, Post-Apocalyptic Romance, Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Curiosity Quills
Released on December 12, 2017
Pages: 521
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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Tierra mejor: a world created by a Spanish clockmaker to house refugees from a dying Earth – or so the legend goes. Five hundred years have passed, and this world is slowly failing. Imre, young and extraordinarily beautiful, is a Dancer in the White Pavilion, a palace of exotic entertainments. But when she's chosen to dance the most important dance of all, she stumbles.
In a world governed by the precision of clockwork, her accident is viewed as a bad omen. Imre has now attracted the attention of the Prince Regent, a young man fighting to escape his destiny, as well as his Chief Advisor, a talented mechanic and astronomer who knows the truth about their failing world... and the mysterious Brotherhood. Uprooted from everything she knows, Imre is drawn into a world of politics and intrigue, unwittingly finding herself torn between love and duty - and at the centre of a deadly plot against the citizens of their world.
Imre must prove herself to be more than just a dancer. For the legend of the Clockmaker is true, and the next stage in her plan is for the Children of Earth to return home.

The Delight

Talk about a little of everything fantastical… The White Pavilion brought sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, and steampunk all together in this suspenseful and complex story about a young woman at the wane of a dying utopian world.


The White Pavilion focuses on young dancer, Imre.  Imre was chosen to join the Daughters of the Pavilion from a hard life on the streets in a lower tier.  She is determined to make good and rise above her roots.  Then she does the unthinkable and falls during the annual elaborate dance festival depicting the origin of the early founding fathers/mothers escape from Old Earth and the founding of Tierra Mejor.  The dance has traditional and religious connotations and her fall seems to cause a series of catastrophic events and a great change for her future.  She is brought before the Prince Regent and into his household even as the religious sect is calling for her head and a terrorist group is pushing people to realize that Tierra Mejor is in trouble.

I leaped into this book with anticipation.  I was looking forward to a tale set against such a backdrop.  But, there was so much to turn me around and confuse me at first.  Such an intricate world and culture and situation.  I didn’t mind.  I found this choice to drop the reader into a new world was a good call.  I had that experience of what it would be like for a person to see ‘what if’.  In this case, it was what if our world was dying as a result of poor stewardship and war and a clever Spanish inventor was able to convince seven others to leave the dying planet and join her in the clockwork space station/world she had invented with the help of a divine mentor and this was the result 500 years later.

Of course, the people would have a slight connection to Earth tradition and life, but have altered and changed down through the centuries and as a result of their world on this clockwork space city/world.  There are bits of Spanish culture in names and re appearances, but also Asian- the White Pavilion and its life there is the Japanese Geisha Culture- and African and European, but in a softer mixture.  There are classes based on what tier a person lives on- or on the above wheel or pendulum (don’t ask me to describe how the circling wheel and pendulum part of Tierra Mejor works, no clue even after the descriptions).  There is a monarchy, but also a council and guilds to govern.  The religious group- all men/monks- is austere and have control of the finances, the weather, and the food in the above land areas (the wheel and pendulum).  Confused yet?

Yes, I guess that is my point.  This book had so much because it had to establish the culture of these people which plays a role in the plot and characters themselves.  It is the why behind it all.  Imre is deeply religious and trusts in the writings of the Clockmaker who built Tierra Mejor.  She has to slowly come to terms with the idea that everything is not fated- she must think and act.  Everyone must if they are to survive.

The book begins slow and stays at this gentle pace as Imre must go through experiences and times of reflection- internal change- before she is altered to a person who can be a true catalyst for change.  Bravo, Ruth Fox!  So many times a reader is ‘told’ a woman is a heroine and she does some flashy fight scenes and gets snarky so that is our proof that she’s the real deal.  But in The White Pavilion, the metamorphosis happens before the readers eyes.  Imre asks throughout the book, ‘why me?’ ‘what is so special about me?’ and then gets her answer.  Yes, it made the book longer and slowed the pacing at first, but then it sets things up for that breath-stealing amazing last quarter of the book.  It just didn’t stop and kept hitting hard with the action, suspense, and twists.

The author not only showed how the world’s cultures could mesh together for this new human race begun on Tierra Mejor, but also opened up a new world of diversity by showcasing many sexualities and orientations as normal.  Imre is used to passing f/f relations with her ‘sisters’ in the White Pavilion and inside the Prince’s harem, there are casual mentions of other f/f, m/m and m/f relationships and there is a strong gender fluid side character.  As, to romance, Imre goes from not really believing a woman of her erotic training and darker past can have or feel love to settling for lesser relationships with a few people before finding that love was waiting for her all along if she had only known what to look for.  As the reader, I spotted it right away and I was probably meant to do so, but it is low key because of all else going on in the story and because Imre, the main narrator, is not looking for it or free to pursue it even if she did figure out what was there.

The White Pavilion comes down to a dramatic finish, but it also ends on a new beginning that will lead the people into book two of The Cosmic Winds series.  There are a ton of mysteries still there and a new adventure awaiting.  It’s not a cliff hanger, but it sure does make me thirsty for what is to come.  I have no idea if the focus will stay on Imre or if another of the cast of characters will get the lead narration role.

All in all, I know I did a poor job of describing the book, but I hope my sense of wonder and thrill at the story came through for you.  There’s just so much here with a fantastic world, setting, characters, and plot that I couldn’t get a handle on the words to describe it.  Highly recommend for those who enjoy futuristic, steampunk, dystopian, suspense, and sci-fi all in one.

My thanks to Curiosity Quills for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.