"Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson starts like a period piece fantasy but it is a searing look at personal freedom at the time of the American Revolution with no fantasy involved. I read the ARC and I can't tell you when the book is due to be published but it is the first of two so I have to wait doubly long for the sequel- DRAT!
Okay here's the set-up. In the 1760's or thereabouts Mr. Gitney who prefers to be known as 03-01 has set up a College of Lucidity for the purpose of studying Science and the Arts. Octavian and his mother, Queen Casseiopeia (not her real name) are two of the College's "specimens" or subjects. The entire College is known by numerical designations except for Octavian and his mother. Octavian is taught to Observe. He learns Greek and Latin. He is tutored in the violin which he plays like an angel. His food is weighed and so is his excrement. His life, until he is 11, is a mixture of luxury and peculiarity. And then, he learns the truth about his status in 18th century America and his situation and that of his mother change drastically.
The writing is a credible imitation of the florid style of the time period so if you like short pithy sentences avoid this book. However, the story of Octavian and his "scientist" masters is fascinatingly bizarre.
Good book! Read it when it comes out.