Okay so I’m way behind on posting my reviews but I’ll get caught up I promise…hopefully maybe. But it’s totally happening. Anyway I actually have two steampunk novels I read recently so I thought I’d do them at the same time-ish.
So I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile because I LOVE LOVE LOVE steampunk books. They are typically rich in cool environments, the banter always makes me happy and 9 times out of 10 they are campy as Hell (see Newberry and Hobbes by George Mann).
This one isn’t campy which I wasn’t too disappointed about. I love Alan Shaw I think he’s a great character. I love his family and the way he got taken in by them. I think there are a few liberties with how connected he is to his previous life considering the age at which he was adopted but I guess we need Alan to have those rough edges and connections to explain why he is the way he is.
This book isn’t your typical novel it’s not one story it’s a bunch of short (well short for me) tales of different adventures Alan Shaw goes on. While this means the book is non-stop action and fun and entertaining. It’s well written the adventures and the settings are pretty well fleshed out and I enjoyed them. There wasn’t one that was too boring or felt too rushed or wasn’t as good as the others. They were all great and I loved seeing what new steampunk things we’d discover from one story to the next.
However, as a reader and a writer it is always the characters that draw me in. I want to know their thoughts and I want to see their interactions and I want them to have those moments of introspection. I need time with the character that lets me get to know them. As a reader I always felt at arms length from Alan Shaw, which on one hand is fitting because that’s how everyone is with Alan, but on the other as the reader I wanted to be special. I wanted greater insight into him and not just his world. I felt more like someone on the sidelines reading the story in the paper than really feeling like I was always there with Alan because I wasn’t getting that deeper connection with him.
But that shouldn’t keep you from the book. It’s fun and brilliant and all the steampunk aspects are great. There are a couple that you might roll your eyes at because it’s “cliche steampunk” if there even is such a thing, but that’s only going to happen if you avidly read steampunk like I do. (And then when it happens it’s because you’re in a cool club like the rest of us!)
You’ll be glad you picked this one up and you might as well grab the second one while you’re at it because you’ll want that one too. (I know I do!)