Posts Tagged ‘Steampunk’

The Bastard Wonderland by Lee Harrison

January 6, 2017 - 10:51 pm No Comments

The Bastard Wonderland by Lee Harrison

Published by Wrecking Ball Press on 27th October 2016

376 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Warboys spent most of his young life working on the ships, getting a chartership, is too much like hard work so he gets by without one until the night their king abdicated and the country was under Martial law. Wanting to unite the whole continent, General Malvy takes over the running of the country and brings in conscription.  Not wanting to fight, Warboys tries to go on the run and with his dad Bill find a flying machine. Unfortunately, they did not get very far and end up getting caught, however this just the start of an epic adventure, an adventure that finds Warboys up against an ancient cult, slave masters and living flying machines.

Warboys was a loveable rogue who at the beginning was only looking out for number one, but as his adventure continues his caring nature starts to come out especially towards Nouzi Aaranya. Spending the time with his dad had a good effect on him and he starts to mature, the father/son relationship at times was comical and they did have a Steptoe and son feel about them. One scene in particular was when they were discussing take-aways and invented fish, chips and mushy peas.

From the 1st word you are transported into a perilous journey, be it marching through a desolate countryside or drinking and fighting at Junkers the scrapyard. This book had it all, action, comedy and adventure, with a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and sci-fi this should please a lot of readers. I was surprised to find out that this was the author’s first novel and this was so well written. The ending was gripping and does give scope for further adventures for Warboys. I for one hope that there will more books for me to read.

Ecta: The Divide by Kyle Perkins and Samantha Harrington

November 6, 2016 - 12:26 pm No Comments

Ecta: The Divide by Kyle Perkins and Samantha Harrington

Published 17th February 2016

150 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

28936857Skywaard is in crisis, a civilisation living in the sky, they rely on technology to survive, but with a growing population and a lack of food, they realise that they need to start negotiating with Ariviil. Ariviil is the complete opposite to Skywaard. Living off the land, with no technology insight. The residents of Ariviil have worked hard to survive.

Leading the negotiations for Skywaard is Sebastian, sent to Ariviil for his charm and good looks, Sebastian likes nothing more than a good time and excels in his life of booze and a different woman on his arm.

Landing on Ariviil, not knowing the customs, Sebastian comes across Loriella who is an outcast to her people due to her magical ability. She has a gift of willing people to see what they desire and it has a stronger effect through sex. When she meets Sebastian, there is an instant attraction and against her better judgement she helps him.

Sebastian is very sure of himself and is a man who likes his sex, but when things don’t go his way, he reminds me of a lost little boy. Loriella is a self-confident, no nonsense woman, happy to live her life, but when she meets Sebastian she starts having doubts and although she tries to hide it her magic gives her away.

A great mash-up of genres, steampunk, erotica, fantasy, this story is a good introduction to what is to come. Although this book is written by 2 different authors, you could not tell, as the story flows evenly. Written from the protagonists POV, it never once got confusing as straightaway you could tell who’s story it was. With the story ending with the threat of war, I am so looking forward to the next book.

Jani and The Great Pursuit

February 24, 2016 - 11:41 am No Comments

Jani and the Great Pursuit
Eric Brown
Publisher: Solaris
Page Count: 384pp
Release date: 23rd Feb 2016
Reviewed by Chris Amies

“Jani and the Great Pursuit” is the sequel to “Jani and the Greater Game,” an adventurous tale set in an alternative India in the 1920s where the British Raj is underpinned by alien technology. Jani Chatterjee is a young woman of mixed race who when this novel opens is being pursued by the villanous Durga Das, who is possessed by a lifeform he believes to be the goddess Kali. Jani is accompanied by her companions the houseboy Anand and British Lieutenant Alfie Littlebody. Durga Das is pursuing her because he believes her to be in possession of an artefact, the ventha-di, that when properly configured will allow travel between worlds. There is danger in the stars however: a predatory (could we say imperialist) race called the Zhell who have their sights on Earth, where the British, the Russians and the Chinese are contenders for world domination (this was the “Great Game” of the first book).

The novel starts, as steampunk often does, in the air. ‘Jani was aboard the “Pride of Edinburgh, somewhere over northern Greece, when she made the acquaintance of the mechanical dog.’ That made me want to read on (as well as putting me in mind of the first line of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”).

Could you describe this series as ‘steampunk’? That genre is usually associated with a late Victorian / Edwardian setting. But here we have Soviet Russia (post-1917), and De Havilland aircraft (a company established in 1920). The feel of the novel is definitely inter-war thriller (Wheatley, Charteris, Bernede …), which would make this Valvepunk. On the other hand you have the airships – definitely steampunk, but in a world where the existence of alien technology may have slowed the development of Earth’s own tech (because we didn’t have to bother), there might still be airships instead of aeroplanes.

The world Eric Brown describes is engaging. I could well imagine Londoners being enthused by rocket launches from Ealing. The secondary characters such as Sebastian and Lady Eddington are also memorable.

How to set a story within a world that is unjust and imperialist? Unlikely as it might sound, Dennis Wheatley (a kind of clubland Tory not read much nowadays) overcame this conundrum in the 1930s by making his protagonists foreign or outsiders (his ‘good companions’ are Dutch-American, French, Russian, and Anglo-Jewish). Here, Jani is an outsiders’ outsider: neither quite Indian nor quite British and not accepted by the British in India – she is once described as a ‘Chutney Mary’ (an Indian woman who adopts European ways). Nor is she some kind of unlikely superheroine but a courageous and intelligent young woman albeit one who feels out of place in Delhi and London and “was a product of both places … but … belonged to neither.” Which paradoxically makes her suited to the London she finds, a city where the wonders on show are “developed by alien minds … not the brainchild of the British but driven by otherworldly technology.”

“Various astounding and life-threatening escapades,” says the blurb. There are indeed.

Along Came a Wolf

January 6, 2016 - 1:03 pm No Comments

The Yellow Hoods #1 (Steampunk meets Fairytales)
Author: Adam Dreece
Release date: 24th April 2014
Publisher: ADZO publishing inc.
Page count: 221 pp

Meet Tee, Elly and Richy, best friends and members of the Yellow Hoods. The name comes from the yellow cloaks they wear that hide a few surprises. Thanks to Tee’s grandad Nikolas, a famous eccentric inventor, the three have fun trying out his inventions including spark sticks, sail carts and an amazing treehouse. Nikolas reminds me of Caracticus Potts from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Enter the baddie LeLoup (French for wolf) who is tasked to steal the steam engine plans from Nikolas. Although at the start you don’t realise this as he gets held up by three brothers Squeals, Bore and Bakon the Cochon brothers (French for pig) you think that the three brothers are the bad ones. Tee steps in and rescues LeLoup from their clutches. He quickly forgets this whilst he tries and completes the mission.
Throughout this book you really feel the love that Tee has for her family and friends and the love they felt for her.
Whilst reading it, I found myself guessing the fairy tales and with the splash of Steampunk kept it interesting. This book is written for young and old alike and the fun titled chapters helps keep you amused. The book kept my interest from start to finish and although not a long book, it was jam packed with action and fun.
WARNING. You may find yourself laughing out loud as there are some funny lines. One instant was when Bakon, and Eg the Captain’s daughter started dating.
A good start to the series, now I just have to buy part 2, see what happens now the Hound is after the Yellow Hoods