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The Steam Magnate

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Departing from formulaic themes involving quests, magicians, and mythical animals, this fantasy novel follows a character with powers more ordinary than most uber-wizards. Having inherited the steam-power legacy and the mysterious ability to funnel the assets of others into his own coffers through the mere use of ink and paper, Eson is hated by some and feared by others. W ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Aio Publishing Company (first published 2006)
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90th out of 122 books — 18 voters
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218th out of 298 books — 232 voters

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J. Moufawad-Paul
This beautiful book is the kind of fantasy that prefigures books like *A Stranger in Olondria*: it has the same world-building fantasy feel but in a way where the richness of the world is not used as a basis for epic struggles between armies, or adventurers setting out in a violent land. Not that there aren't "epic struggles" in *The Steam Magnate* but they are of a different order––the banality of capitalist competition, perhaps, that actually means more lives lost and/or impoverished, more sta ...more
I have never read a book like this before. The experience of reading it was much like the experience of looking at a watercolor painting. That's how the characters felt, muted, undefined, but vaguely beautiful. The plot, too, had this quality, such that I don't feel like anything happened, but there was still motion.

Just for the unique quality of the prose, I would recommend that people read it. They may not like it, but it will be a new experience.
Aug 18, 2013 Josie added it
This was an interesting read. I still don't feel like I understand what happened or what the motivations of *any* of the characters were, but the language and ideas were intriguing, at least.

LOTS of "telling" and very little "showing". If you're okay with that, then go for it. Otherwise, probably steer clear.
Dec 28, 2009 Jenne marked it as didnt-finish
Not only dull, but also awkwardly written. Which is too bad, because it sounded really interesting, and there were some images that stuck with me. I gave it the Nancy Pearl 50-page try, but nope.
Nicely written, a lazy read, action unfolds slowly. I'm not sure I ever really get to know Kyra; she is never first person. Might read the sequel when it comes out if the time is right.
Unusual setting. Would have liked more details. Beautiful ideas could have been fleshed out more for me.
This is one of the strangest books I've every read. That being said, I still couldn't put it down.
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