I couldn't help it, guys, I loved this book! It was a little bit strange, atmospheric and at times really beautiful. A bit like The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins?
A Thousand Perfect Things was a curious mix of genres, a little bit of new-Victorian alternative historical fiction with a dash of fantasy, maybe? Whatever it was, if you enjoyed A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan and Pantomime by Laura Lam, this has a slightly similar feel to it.
What really charmed me is this lush, exotic, full of spice and rich with history and tradition Bharata. Bharata is of course just another name for India, which sluggishly confronts a more upbeat, morally rigid and technologically advanced Anglica (England) with the help of its mysterious powerful magic and religious superstition.
Tori Harding is a young naturalist and adventurous explorer, who is dying to make a name for herself to be admitted in the elite and purely male circle of scientists of Anglica. For this she would have to find a legendary Golden Lotus, which is supposed to gift knowledge to anyone who would touch it.
The gist of this rich and wonderful book is Tori's transformation. Bharata changes her among constant political intrigues, riots, spiritual journeys, sorcery and a lot of violence. Tori starts by selfishly looking for something that belongs to Bharati, and while she is thrown into a deep end of the pond and forced to sink or swim, she frees herself from physical and mental boundaries, and this is why I truly liked this book.
There are secondary stories of Captain Muir-Smith, his sister Elizabeth and or course an ill but mysterious Bharati prince Jai, but they guide and support Tori. Even her feelings for Muir-Smith and her entanglement with Jai leads to it.
I just... *sigh* ...don't want to get into details, but let's just say, this book charmed me in a sly, eccentric and quiet way, and that's why I wholly recommend it to you.