Category Archives: Steampunk Challenge

Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist

Another month, another book in the Steampunk Challenge.

And this puts me in a strange place. I just mentioned a few days ago that I don’t like giving reviews that are less than positive because any book that I dislike, others will love, and I kind of hate to dissuade anyone from reading a book that they might have been interested in otherwise. And yet I’m in this challenge which involves at the very least, writing a few words about the books I read.

And in this case, I can’t rave about it.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist has received its share of raves, mind you. A lot of people LOVE this book.  I listened to it as an audiobook and I never wanted to bail on it, it was intriguing, interesting, the world-building was strong, and I can see why it was well-received.

However.

Dahlquist needed a bit of assistance in plotting. He’s a playwright and this was his first novel. I got a bit tired of the lather/rinse/repeat nature of the story with his three main characters constantly getting captured, witnessing horrifying things, and then escaping.  Again.  And again.  And again.  His three main characters are an odd and intriguing trio–a heroine who wants to find out why her fiance has written her a strange and unexpected “Dear Jane” letter and thus begins an investigation into dark, dangerous places.  An assassin who dwells in such places.  And a very proper gentleman whose sense of duty draws him into dark, dangerous places.  Sounds like a good start, doesn’t it?

So please don’t listen to me. Go read it for yourself. This immense chunk of Victorian steampunk has a lot to sink your teeth into and the odds are great that you’ll be one of the ones who love it.

Earlier steampunk challenge reviews.

Sidebar: This is the second book I’ve read that was inspired by a dream where I thought the author could have done a much better job finding a way to incorporate that dream into fiction.  And a gazillion people didn’t agree with me on the first one, either.

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Filed under Audible, Audiobooks, Fiction & Literary, Novels, Steampunk, Steampunk Challenge

Leviathan and Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld

Okay, about that steampunk challenge.

One steampunk book a month for a year.  Twelve steampunk reads.

I’m on my third in October.  I could space them out and list/review one a month, but that makes me itch.  I am just going to mention them as I read them, and don’t expect any real reviews from me because that’s too much like work.

Also, the first three have all been audiobooks that I downloaded from audible (if you sign up, tell them dallaspooks sent ya) and so what I will actually be discussing is a different experience than reading.

First, Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, and its sequel, Behemoth. These are YA (Young Adult) novels that have been getting fabulous word of mouth and I finally broke down and decided to read them listen to them. And I’m so glad I did. Set on the brink of World War I, Leviathan begins the night that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo, with their 15-year-old son being rousted out of bed and hustled away from the palace by a sinister pair of men–and straight into action-packed adventure which continues into its sequel. I don’t know how long the series is projected to be, but there are clearly more coming.

In the meantime in England a 15-year-old Scottish girl is pretending to be a boy so she can be an airman with the British Air Service, as her brother is and her father was before her. Again–straight into action-packed adventure.

In this revisioning of World War I the nations are the same and on the same teams, but many of the details are different.  The world building is superb. The German side are “Clankers” whose war machines are fantastical and mechanical. The English side are “Darwinists” who have created strange new creatures (or “beasties,” as Deryn calls them) to go to war.

Scott Westerfeld’s world is amazing. The action is almost nonstop but always inventive and fresh. The characterizations are rich. At the end of each book are author notes that describe what aspects of the books are true history and where Westerfeld got creative, and I was as fascinated by the real history as I was the books themselves. It was gratifying to see that some of the more interesting twists were historic facts that he’d woven sp deftly into his stories it was impossible for me to know what was real and what was new.

Alan Cumming as narrator is phenomenal. He reads with breathless energy, gives the characters appropriate and wonderful accents that enhance their personalities and backgrounds, and made me want to listen nonstop.  At a time when I was highly distracted by a lot of real life issues, these books were always compelling and easy to fall into.

I highly recommend them as audiobooks or to read. I may actually end up buying these books because the art looks pretty darned cool.

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Filed under Audible, Audiobooks, Books, Fiction & Literary, History, Novels, Steampunk, Steampunk Challenge, Young Adult

A steampunk challenge!

October 2010 – October 2011, one steampunk book a month, read and discuss! Sound like fun?  Let’s do it!

Click the “steampunk challenge” button in my sidebar for more info, or go here.

As for the Typically British Reading Challenge (also in the sidebar)–I knocked that one out of the park but need to update it with details.

So… next up to bat?

Steampunk!

Source of image here.

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Filed under Books, Reading, Steampunk, Steampunk Challenge, Typically British Reading Challenge 2010