“Friends don’t keep score.”
Well-developed steampunk with engaging characters. It’s as much parallel universe as alternate timeline, but it mostly works. Good weaving of historic and imagined elements. Good storytelling.
“Don’t tell me I’m better off for being an orphan.” “No more so that I’m better off for having been a slave.”
Most of the primary characters are social outcast for no reason of their own. Their bonding works, if a bit idyllic.
“These feelings ain’t nohow sensible. They just is.”
The narrator and main character has twisted syntax in order to contrast her native wit with her lack of formal education. It rings false.
“Is there nothing so awful that men won’t use it to try to show off to girls?”
Quibble: Since the United States only bought Alaska in 1867, why would Russia want it back ten years later? (Other than moving the Klondike gold rush forward two decades, all other historical markers point to the late 1870s.)
“Everybody’s worthy of respect.”