Book Review: On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer

Book:  On the Isle of Sound and Wonder
Author:  Alyson Grauer
Pages:   309
Format:  Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Kindle Unlimited
Publisher:  Xchyler Publishing
Book Source:  company project
Category:  Steampunk
Style:  Literary prose with complex characters, strong plot, and vivid world-building


All but alone, wild but resourceful Mira dreams of life beyond the shores of her mystical island. Isolated by her father, a dark sorcerer bent on vengeance, she has only his servants, an air spirit and a misshapen cast-off, to share her company. When Dante conjures a terrible storm to wash ashore his mortal enemies, Mira must chose between her loyalties to her father and what she knows is right.

Sail the skies and soar the seas surrounding this Isle of Sound and Wonder as Alyson Grauer masterfully retells William Shakespeare’s classic, The Tempest, bedecked in the trappings of Steampunk.

About the Author:  

Alyson Grauer is a storyteller in multiple mediums, her two primary canvases being the stage and the page. On stage she is often seen in the Chicago area, primarily at Piccolo Theatre, Plan 9 Burlesque, and the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Her nonfiction work has been published in the Journal for Perinatal Education for Lamaze International. Her short fiction can be found in Tales from the Archives (Volume 2) for The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and in two anthologies from Xchyler Publishing, "Lavenza, or The Modern Galatea" in Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology (MMSA) and "The Brother-Sister Fable" in Legends and Lore: an Anthology of Mythic Proportions. Alyson is a proud graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and hails originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is her first novel.

Author and Thespian Alyson Grauer

The Process:

I first "met" Alyson (by the interweb definition) when she won one of Xchyler Publishing's first short story competitions. Her "Lavenza, or The Modern Galatea" anchored MMSA. Besides being a brilliant writer, I found her witty, intelligent, and a delight to work with. I wanted to see more of her work.

Book Tour: On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer (Character Interview)

Neapolis, 1854

I am not a courtier, by any means, and so you can well imagine my desire to serve my king well when he gave me such a critical commission. He came to me in the nursery late one evening, when all the children were abed. I never retire early; Mira betimes stirs in the night, tormented with strange and curious dreams. Not until she is well and truly settled do I myself seek my humble repose.

Often times, when King Alanno Civitelli has come to the nursery to check the children before he himself retires, we have shared a quiet word, a cup of tea, a bit of consultation. I know he loves his children dearly, especially his son and heir, Ferran. It warms the heart to see a father so devoted, especially one so powerful as he, especially as he is so beset with the troubles of rule.

Perhaps this explains his choice of ambassador. Secrets never stay long at court, and I fear His Majesty knows not whom to trust in this affair, the matter of utmost delicacy. Who would suspect a lowly governess conducting important matters of state?

Thus, it breaks my heart to have failed him. I had hoped to find the answers he sought, but instead, I return empty-handed, my quest a failure. I could not find Psychoraxx. She has simply vanished, probably drowned with the rest of the ship upon which she was last seen.

Probably, but I cannot be certain, for my own dream continues to plague me. I have told no one lest they think me mad. Indeed, I cannot, for once or twice I have attempted to tell the king, but the words will not come. As if by some enchantment, I find myself back in the nursery without knowing why, having never uttered a word to His Majesty. Perhaps if I commit it to paper, it may purge my torment.