Reviews of All Men of Genius

One of Amazon’s Best SF/F Books of September
A 2011 Best of the Year from Fantasy Book Critic, January MagazineSF Signal, The BooksmugglersFantasy Cafe, Slatebreakers, Sci-Fi Fan LetterThe Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book ReviewJason Heller, Tansy Rayner RobertsSkron 3.0 & Karissa’s Reading Review
Longlisted for the 2011 James Tiptree Jr. Award
Finalist for the 2013 Audie Award

“A marvelous reimagining of both Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest.”
The Folger Shakespeare Library

“Rosen’s lighthearted debut puts a steampunk spin on the Victorian comedy of manners while sneakily critiquing the gender biases of both genres…Decommissioned robots, mysterious mechanisms, strange squid creatures, blackmail, and a number of vivid characters add up to a great deal of fun.”
Publishers Weekly

“A nimble twist on Victorian romance that’s woven into Rosen’s intricate web of attractions, repulsions, and matrimonial machinations. But he never lets his mesh of relationships—or his fluid, playful views of sexuality—overwhelm a sprawl of vibrant, witty characters… Steampunk soap-opera, as elevated as it is, isn’t all Rosen has up his sleeve. Tackling the genre at its root, All Men slyly examines the psychology and the aesthetics behind the act of human invention.”
–A- from The A.V. Club

“Rosen writes with color and verve, particularly in his descriptions of mechanical marvels, and also offers moments of unexpected poignancy, such as the sad history of Cecily’s governess Miriam, whose characterization far exceeds the depth of her initial inspirations, Earnest’s ditzy Miss Prism and Twelfth Night’s comic maid Maria”

“All Men of Genius makes no attempt to hide its main sources of inspiration: an odd couple of famous comedies, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest… In itself, an ambitious task, but Rosen has more in mind. While holding true to the antic spirit of both plays, he also manages to bring in the exploratory worldview of SF…[M]ayhem in climactic scenes set in a science faire at the Crystal Palace… turn[s] a high-toned event into chaos worthy of H.G. Wells – one further inspiration for an author who mixes genres with fearless panache in his novelistic debut.”
Locus Magazine

“A charming and fast-paced debut… Fans of Shakespeare and Wilde will delight in the transformation of the source material into something wholly original.”
RT Book Reviews

“All Men of Genius is a true steampunk novel, a romance, a mystery, and a fun romp through an alternative Victorian England…a fast-moving, joyful experience that will leave the reader thoroughly satisfied.”
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“This debut literary steampunk novel fits well on the shelf with Gail Carriger’s “Parasol Protectorate” series (Heartless), with broad crossover appeal to fans of sf, historical romance, and young adult fiction.”
Library Journal

“This tale of cross dressing, science, romance, and rampaging automatons, complete with a host of quirky professors that may remind readers of those in the Harry Potter series, will delight teen readers, as will the rough and tumble descriptions of college life, with the young men’s focus on sex and drinking…The romance will appeal to recent teen fans of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series…a brilliantly fun novel.”
School Library Journal’s Adult Books 4 Teens

“With All Men of Genius, Lev Rosen has constructed a wonderously vivid and dreamlike new world, both utterly original and mysteriously familiar. He writes with great wit, verve and tenderness, and he is without doubt, one of the most exciting and talented young writers of his generation.”
Dan Chaon, bestselling author of You Remind Me of Me

“All Men of Genius is utterly charming. A large ensemble cast revolves around the central character, Violet Adams, as smoothly as gears in a precision clock. Like the best steampunk, it feels as though it were written in a much older time. Witty, dashing, and a little bit dangerous.”
Mary Robinette Kowal, Author of Nebula and Locus Award nominee Shades of Milk and Honey

“This sideways retelling Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a fun, witty tale, with characters you wish you could befriend and drink with at a dingy London pub.”
Ed Lazallari, author of Awakenings

“All Men Of Genius is filled with a contagious joyful abandon.”
Angela Zeman, author of The Witch and the Borscht Pear

“I loved [ALL MEN OF GENIUS]… It was so enjoyable to read…there are a lot more giant robots than I remember from Shakespeare, but this only served to improve the story.”
Tansy Rayner Roberts, Author of The Shattered City, on Galactic Suburbia

“If All Men of Genius has a message, it is that everyone, male and female, old and young, is entitled to meaningful work and lots and lots of fun. This mischievous exuberance is where Rosen really does take after Wilde… All Men provides plenty of energy, a colorful cast of characters and something sensational to read in the train. It’s a literary confection presented with panache.”
Strange Horizons

“All Men of Genius succeeds because it hits the right balance in both style and content… Highly, highly recommended and an utterly fun and charming book.”
Fantasy Book Critic

“Don’t make my mistake of picking up All Men of Genius when you’re on your way to bed. Hours later, bleary-eyed and sleepy, I was only halfway through the book and still fighting to keep reading, unable to put it down. Violet, Ashton, Jack and the befuddled Duke captivated me from the get go, and that was before the other Illyrian students even had a chance to win me over…All Men of Genius is a blend of adult issues and fairy tale optimism. The realistic issues that the characters face by no means drag down the tone of the book, but neither does Rosen pull any punches about these prejudices and obstacles. I hope so badly that ALL MEN OF GENIUS is going to be the first of many books in this parallel universe of magical science, as there are many more happy endings that I would enjoy reading.”
All Things Urban Fantasy

“I would not be surprised to find [All Men of Genius] declared a new “classic” that my boys will be forced to read in high school along with other great books like 1984 and The Giver. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and not being moved by it.”
Dark Faerie Tales

“In the fun read category of the month All Men of Genius wins hands down. This may be my Steampunk read of the year. Mixing in Steampunk ascetics, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and devilishly Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest this is as pleasing a novel as you’re like to find. There are secret societies, mad inventors, and a crazy crossed love story that will keep you guessing at every one’s reactions more then kept me rapt. Highly recommended.”
Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review

“I loved this book with all my heart to the point I can hardly contain myself. It’s been a while since I had so much unreserved fun reading a book…It has a secure spot in my top ten this year”
–Ana, The Book Smugglers

“I loved that this hybrid version of Wilde’s and the Bard’s comedy of mistaken identities has a much deeper examination of sexism, sexuality, and status. It’s actually incredibly impressive that Mr. Rosen is able to stay so close to the source material while translating it to a context that is both engrossing speculative fiction AND a bitingly relevant societal critique.”
–Thea, The Book Smugglers

“I can’t think of one single aspect of All Men of Genius that I didn’t love. The characters were radiant, courageous and charming. The main character, Violet was fabulous…Besides being a completely delightful and thoroughly entertaining book, All Men of Genius does, in it’s own clever way, touch on serious issues. Even though the book is set in 1880s England, I found the themes regarding sexual orientation and gender roles and discrimination to still be shockingly relevant today…I adore author Lev AC Rosen’s writing. He is an outrageously talented author who I can’t wait to read more from in the future.”
The Bookish Babes

“All Men of Genius is a mad capped screwball comedy of manners flipped on its head and infused with mad science, gender politics and of course, robots, or, well… automatons. It was just so much fun, with layers upon depths upon layers yet never becoming even the tiniest bit pretentious. I enjoyed All Men of Genius so much that I don’t think my words have even done it half the justice it deserves. So, go, listen yourself. You’ll like it. Grade: A.”   This review refers to the audiobook
The Guilded Earlobe

“Witty literary references, well-drawn characters, and good writing to boot? This is my kind of author.”
A Reader of Fictions

“Filled with clockwork contraptions,ferrets that fly (and other interesting creatures),menacing automatons,wry wit and humor,and a heroine you’ll root for,All Men of Genius is a delight,and I highly recommend it for anyone that enjoys a good comedy of manners,and a Victorian romp with steampunk sensibilities.”
My Bookish Ways

“Despite the comical, lighthearted nature of All Men of Genius, Rosen also spends thought and text exploring the problems of his setting — it is Victorian Britain, juggernaut of colonialism, bastion of misogyny, homophobia and racism, et cetera. Steampunk stories have an unpleasant tendency to focus on romanticism at the cost of social commentary, but Rosen engages with both his inspirational texts and his setting to tease out a balance between the era and a modern understanding of feminism, gender and sexuality, to name a few things… Fan of steampunk or not, a reader looking for a good story with adventure, intrigue, and humor would be well-served to pick this book up.”

“Lev AC Rosen upgrades Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde’s romantic comedies with a thrilling and thoughtful steampunk twist.”

“All Men of Genius is a delightful book, and I definitely recommend it to people who enjoy the same type of comedy as Twelfth Night or the girl pretending to be a boy storyline. It sets up some humorous situations that are just all the more fun for being in on the joke. It’s also well written with well-crafted dialogue and contains some mad science – what’s not to like? I will definitely be eagerly awaiting Lev AC Rosen’s next novel.”
Fantasy Cafe

“Rosen’s novel remains sure-footed and confident enough to stand on its own as a welcome entry into the steampunk genre—one that uses the conventions of its genre to its advantage through restraint, offering a strong, character-focused narrative that does not suffocate under the weight of its own aesthetic ambitions.”

“[An] entertaining tale of dual identities, proto-feminism, the art of invention, and the complexities of love. It’s light-hearted good fun.”
Fantasy Literature

“All Men of Genius is itself an inspired work of genius. Operating within the plot parameters of Shakespeare’s comedies—even borrowing names of characters from Twelfth Night—Rosen manages to work this tried-and-true “clay” into a masterpiece of his own. Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde themselves both borrowed from previous plays, myths, and legends, and even used Biblical references. It’s what an author does with the “clay” that is important, and with All Men of Genius, Rosen sculpts a novel of genius.”
Curled Up With a Good Book

“I’m a little in love with Violet Adams… What I find notable about [the book] is that Rosen has written more than just Violet Adams. There are several women he’s written in All Men Of Genius who are wildly different, fully formed, and yet strong in their individual ways.”
Pink Raygun

“Very well written and the imagined world has considerable appeal, as do most of the characters. Obviously we have here an author to keep an eye on.”
Critical Mass

“Lev AC Rosen’s debut is smart, thoughtful and even oddly timely. An intelligent, muscular work of steampunk with a strong central female character and a full load of steam. A great balance and a perfect mix…In a year filled with great steampunk, All Men of Genius can be included with the very best.”
January Magazine

“This book made me laugh, out loud, at several points. It also made me cry. Can’t ask for more than that.”
Sci-Fi Fan Letter

“[T]he quality of the writing was incredibly strong. And the characters are fabulous. And the cleverness of the adaptation, and the ability to create a story that is at once original and familiar is utterly brilliant… [T]his retelling crafts a new story, one about disguised identities that become interwoven with true identities, paying homage to both source texts while creating a wholly original and worthwhile read.”
Slatebreakers, Finding Feminism in YA and Kidlit

“I loved how well-drawn the characters in this book were, overall, and how naturally the action unfolded. I enjoyed reading it so very much.”
Drown My Books

“While there are books I enjoy, and books that make me laugh, and books that are good because I learn something, reading All Men of Genius made me realize how few fiction books I get to read that are genuinely fun…I really, really liked this book. I think I loved this book. A welcome, awesome surprise that I think anyone who likes this genre should pick up, like, now.”
The Artolater

“Possibly one of my favorite steampunk tales to date. Rosen doesn’t just pay lip service to the genre, he goes into (sometimes horrifying) detail…I’m not sure I can recommend this book enough. There is I believe something for everyone.”
Poisoned Rationality

“All Men of Genius is a genius piece of work. It has romance, witty characters and lots of comedy…Rosen wonderfully deconstructed Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest, fitted its story into a Harry Potter-like setting, and made a great book of his own. If you happen to miss Harry Potter, or loved the humor of Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest, I highly recommend this book.”
Skron 3.0

“The book is a delight, an incredibly charming page-turner with a host of lovable characters.”

“I’d heartily recommended this book for young adults, fans of steampunk, or anyone who enjoys a humorous mystery with a dash of Regency romance mixed in. This one definitely squeezes in a lot of genres, but it does so beautifully. The world that Rosen has built for his characters is engaging and believable, and it’s one I hope to return to in the future…If the characters aren’t enough for you, the plot ought to be. There are surgically altered animals, killer automata (Terminator, anyone?), forays into a labyrinthine basement, secrets galore, and even a rudimentary mecha. I would be hard-pressed to find anything about this novel that I didn’t like.”
The Bibliofiles

“I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. It is crammed with characters and references to both Twelfth Night and Importance of Being Earnest, but it is not slavishly devoted to either story. You get themes, characters, delightful flavors, and sometimes direct quotes, but Rosen makes them his own.”

“I have sifted through piles of Steampunk to bring you the best offering. Lev AC Rosen has written the book equivalent of a mash up, seamlessly blending Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with all of the mainstays of Steampunk scattered throughout. Reads well with: Florence and the Machine and Pear Raspberry Hard Cider.”
Literary Duck Blog

“All Men of Genius is a rare find. It strikes the perfect balance between the wacky and the serious all the while speeding readers through incredible events. It’s an absorbing read, well worth checking out.”
Bookworm Blues

“A smart and engaging steampunkish mash-up of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, which sounds like it would be impossible to pull off, but Rosen made it work.”
The Book Goat

“All Men of Genius is a fun read, written in a somewhat Victorian style that fits the subject matter. It’s of a genre called steampunk, which I had to look up cuz I’m not cool like that, and which basically means it’s set in Victorian times but with sci-fi and fantastical elements—like a rabbit with a parrot’s voice box who curses like a sailor. If you enjoy classic literature with a few twists, this is a book for you.”
5 Minutes For Books

All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen is a book that will suck you in from the prologue. The attention paid to the details of the elaborate inventions will satisfy any steampunk fan, though it is not overdone to the point that newcomers will grow bored with the descriptions (which are done very well). The combination of action, mad science, humor, and romance allow for the novel to have a wide audience.”
RVC Library Teen Blog

“Cross-dressing, mistaken identities, killer automata, invisible cats. The pacing is perfect. All Men of Genius is sweet and funny and full of joy.”
Magnificent Octopus

“Normally, I’m not particularly interested in novels with romantic elements, yet somehow, this debut novel by Lev AC Rosen appealed to me from the first moment I picked it up…I envisioned a novel full of Victorian intrigue and romance, populated by a menagerie of mad scientists and rogues. I wasn’t disappointed…Trust me, it’s good.”

“Overall this was a spectacular read. The book is exquisitely written with beautiful descriptions and witty dialogue that really make the story come alive; this makes this book a slow read but a wonderful one. The characters are absolutely wonderful; I was especially drawn to Violet and her desire to make it as a technically adept woman in a male dominated field. The intertwining love stories remind of The Importance of Being Earnest or even some of Jane Austen’s works. Those who love that type of Victorian style of writing should check this out.”
Karissa’s Reading Review