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Whitechapel Gods

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,253 ratings  ·  177 reviews
A thrilling new Steampunk fantasy from a talented debut author


In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the machines, but a few bra...more
Kindle Edition, 374 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Roc
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Whitechapel has been cut off from the rest of London and is ruled by two mechanical alien gods, for the lack of a better description, Grandfather Clock and Mama Engine. John Scared schemes to usurp Grandfather Clock's power while Oliver Sumner and other revolutionaries look to overthrow both gods. Who will reign supreme?

First of all, there were lots of things to like about this book. The hyper-industrialized pseudo-Victorian hell Whitechapel has become under the rule of Grandfather Clock and Mam...more
I honestly picked this book up because of the cool cover. It got my attention. It didn't take me long, though, to realize that the cover was all this book had going for it. The first thirty pages felt like a commercial break--fifteen to thirty second bits of sound and flashing images that are completely unrelated to each other. The book lacks any sort of focus. In those thrity pages I hadn't encountered a single image or character to grab my attention. There was a lot of disorienting movement an...more
Like the other steampunk novels I've read, Whitechapel Gods tends to get a little abstract at times, especially towards the end. However, it was a really entertaining read, and the world that S.M. Peters created is a very well developed one. I was completely immersed in the steel-and-smog Whitechapel ruled by Industrial Age gods, and I thought the steam guns and the Chimney (where all the "parts" that "don't work" are sent) were especially creepy. I look forward to Peters' sophomore effort.
Nov 16, 2009 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: Bookcover art & blurb
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Quick review: A nice, little, self-contained novel. I haven't read much in the urban fantasy/steampunk genres but Peters' Whitechapel reminds me of Mieville's New Crobuzon in its atmosphere and in its half-human/half-machine inhabitants. Peters' work isn't as mind-twisting as Mieville's but it's reasonably inventive and fresh, and the characters are not simple, one-dimensional caricatures. In fact, the most evil and dangerous character is the human John Scared, not the putative enemies Grandfath...more
"I don't know art, but I know what I like." That's a cliche heard all too often, but sometimes it can be useful, especially if you take the inverse of that statement. I do know art ( a limited degree) and on that level I can appreciate this book a whole lot more than in the "what I like" scheme of things. Peters has created a fascinating world, but the relatively slow pace made this book a bit more "work" to get through that what I normally prefer -- but I recognize that that is a perso...more
Apr 27, 2008 Felicia rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: steampunk/cyberpunk fans
Shelves: steampunk
This book's concept was really interesting, although in practice, I wasn't hooked as much as I wanted to be. I'm not really familiar with/a fan of this genre though, so I don't want to judge it too harshly. There were some interesting characters, the violence was brutal and kind of thrilling ;). I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but if you like cyber/steam punk it's worth a pick up.
First off I love the cover, but after that there really wasn't anymore love. For my first foray into a steampunk novel I am greatly disappointed. Not so much with the setting, though it was a bit limited and at times only sketchily described, but with the character description, development and the complete lack of forth right explanation.

You are introduced to characters with little or no description of what they look like or their motivation. As most readers would do, I think, you begin to pict...more
This is a perfect example of being properly fooled by the cover art and title of a book. When I think Whitechapel I immediately think Jack the Ripper. The idea of a steampunk era Jack was very intriguing, however this has nothing to do with that. The cover art doesn't help to dissuade that association either, rather it fueled it for me.
Once I had the book in hand, and after realizing the above, the blurb on the back still intrigued me enough to read.

In Peters' version of Whitechapel two Gods, M...more
First thought: too many characters. It wasn't until I was in chapter 4 that I realized "Oh. So Oliver is the main protagonist." The plot also starts out slowly (oh so slowly)but finally picks up around the last third of the book. My second issue with the book was the female protagonist, Missy: the attempt to make her out to be the "strong female" of the story fell flat on its face as she continuously carried on an internal dialogue I can only assume was developed to garner sympathy for her chara...more
Suzanne the Mighty (Under the Covers Book blog)
2.5 Stars

Whitechapel has been cut off from the rest of England, by a seemingly impenetrable wall forged by the new gods Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Between them they have virtually enslaved most of Whitechapel, turning it into a mass of growing metal and ash and smog covered streets, and spreading their disease that cause men to start growing mechanical parts and replacing their followers hearts with furnaces. But, a rebellion is growing and a weapon forged that can kill these new gods an...more
Rebecca Tayles
Up until the last quarter of this book I was utterly in love with it. I liked the characters and their complexities, I loved the glimpses of this world it was set in, and I was SURE it would all make sense by the end.

Buuuuuut no. No explanations were ultimately given for why a dead person could end up in the body of a mechanical rat, or how a creepy old man could have a steam goddess for a lover, or even how these gods of Whitechapel came to exist in the first place. A few token lines were added...more
Sort of at the low edge of 2.5 stars, I think.

The publishing imprint labels this "fantasy," and marketing trends would call it "steampunk," but I think it would be more accurate than either to call it body horror. The novel's clearest and most vivid descriptions are saved for the (many) instances when flesh and machine are violently, gruesomely melded, which means this is a novel that takes a strong stomach.

The industrial cancer that affects people in the story's Whitechapel, turning their bodi...more
Corielle Riddell
First, let me say that I wanted to love this book. From its awesome cover art and the summary on Amazon, it looked interesting enough. Authored by S.M. Peters, this debut is a Steampunk-themed story where two mechanical gods, Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock, rule London. You follow the rebels of an uprising who live in this dirty, dystopian city and who only want to free themselves from these mechanical monsters and their murderous henchmen.

It took two months for me to read Whitechapel Gods,...more
Whitechapel Gods marks my first foray into the steampunk genre during my steampunk extravaganza this month. It is perhaps a bit of an odd book for a first choice since it is entirely lacking in airships and heavier on horror then adventure but it is rife with clockwork automatons and steam powered weaponry. In truth Whitechapel Gods is something like steampunk as envisioned by H. P. Lovecraft or Stephen King.

In a post-industrial London, Whitecapel has been walled off by the strange deific figure...more
I am not an expert in Steampunk fiction, but I rather enjoyed this book. While it may not have had a resolution that seemed complete, I found myself engaged in the character and feeling the sense of the atmosphere of the work. Given the actual Whitechapel's history, I felt Peters did well to engage the concept and make it his world. The struggle the protagonist has determining if he should even try to rebel seems genuine enough from the start and his history is fleshed out significantly to demon...more
In the interest of full disclosure, I have not actually finished this book. I do think I have read enough however. 150 pages into a 350 page book would seem like enough time to establish at least on interesting character, especially considering that each chapter is from the perspective of about 4 different characters.

It would also be enough time to establish at least a bit of world history or a bit of idea about the setting. This was the biggest problem. The world this takes place in is a radic...more
Whitechapel,London - The citizens of Whitechapel are under the rule of two gods - Grandfather Clock and Mama Engine. The focus of these two gods/machines is to continue to function, at all cost.

There are cloaks - humans who have chosen to become part of the machines, Boilermen - a frightful creation solely from the machines themselves, and a cancerous disease, called clacks, that transforms innocent humans into a sort of half-human, half-machine entity.

The scenes of machine and flesh merging a...more
Cool cover, but can't get past page 50. And I've tried reading this three times.
Cécile C.
This was a cool read. I liked how the gods were used as a metaphor for the industrialisation of Whitechapel, as well as the imagery of human/machine/zombies/something. It was enjoyable, even though it's not the most breath-taking conception of steampunk gods you might imagine( it got heavy-handed in parts, in particular when it came to describing Mama Engine's madness and her frantic search for a lover).

I'm not sure I was entirely convinced by the characters, however. There are many of them, an...more
Grimy, harsh, and not at all the exciting romp I was expecting.
It was hard to get into at the beginning -- mostly because of too much frontloading of information -- but that evened out fairly quickly. The writing was overwrought at times, and the author actually used the word 'irregardless' (and not as a joke), but for the most part the book was a compelling read. I'll be interested to see what else Peters writes.
To be honest I really like steampunk.

Unfortunately this book didn't work for me. There have been passages I liked and others which totally confused me. I couldn't find the rhythm of the book. I also had problems with the style of the author.

I had a little experience reading steampunk novels before reading this one (I read Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles, which are worth your time in case you're wondering) and must say I am a fan of steampunk fiction. This book was very unique, yet rather abstract at times (i.e. John Scared's mind and dream state when he takes the mei kuan), as other readers have mentioned in their reviews. I read in others' reviews that they wish a backstory on Grandfather Clock and Mama Engine would have been ni...more
Jyllian Martini
This book needed a good editor. The ideas were intriguing but half the time you actually couldn't tell who was speaking to whom. The characters lacked definition and some of the action was muddy. It was a slog to finish.
c2008: FWFTB: London, mechanical, Uprising, Boiler-Men, steam-driven. There are a lot of good ideas in this book and some of the characters are truly horrendous in a one dimensional way. It all got terribly abstract for me - I just couldn't get my head around some of the concepts and so some of the plot points made no sense to me at all. It is a predictable plot despite the obfuscatory prose. This book may very well appeal to the hard core steam punk fans but I am unable to recommend to the norm...more
Cynthia Fry
I admit I started this book when I was having a hard time concentrating on it, so please keep this in mind with this review. This novel was confusing and superficially philosophical. I kept thinking this was a novelization of a video game. There were far too many characters and not enough distinction between them to keep them straight until near the end. The Gods of the title were not so much worshipped but opressors turning the people of Whitechapel to lifeless beings bent to their will. You co...more
This book was ODD. But I think it's because I'm so used to a not-so-nitty-gritty-type of steampunk narration. So the proper word to describe what I feel about Whitechapel Gods is odd.

I get why there were so many character viewpoints, though I wish some of them could have just upped and disappeared. And I felt slightly dumb when I had to reread a number of pages over again and then go back to something chapters before because I didn't quite catch a lot of the details. I'm pretty sure I've read an...more
Whitechapel - Walled off from the rest of London, it is a city where iron beams grow like trees, a strange disease turns flesh and blood to iron and oil, and the price of immortality is your literal heart. No one goes in or out of Whitechapel now, as the walls are guarded by an unassailable force:

The Boilermen - Soulless iron automations that kill without feeling and obey without question. They are loyal to only one man:

The Baron - A man made of copper and brass, who long ago bartered away his h...more
Whitechapel Gods isn't a flawless read, but it's fun and, going into it with no expectations, that was enough for me. Some of the character dynamics bothered me (mostly Oliver's constant forgiveness of Missy, which I was admittedly biased against because I didn't particularly like Missy), and I don't think the pacing matched up to its intended time -- the story is supposed to take place in the span of about two days, but there's just too much going on. The first part of the story is a lot of bou...more
Jan 03, 2013 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves specfic
Recommended to Michael by: Randomly picked
Whitechapel Gods
by S.M. Peters

I have to be honest: I judged this book by its cover. Let me give my less-than-1000-words to attempt to paint this awesome picture: Bottom 1/3 is black, with Title and Author overlayed. Black fades upward into a photo-quallity illustration of a man in a top-hat and trenchcoat. His eyes glow fiery orange, and fire bleeds up through his blackened ribcage. His guts are gears, and a clockwork spider sits on his shoulder.

What's great about this cover is that IT'...more
3 1/2 stars.

This was a really interesting book. It's even more interesting to me when I consider the fact that I actually had a some major problems with it, but in the end, I really enjoyed it.

Ironically, the things I liked and that things that bugged me were kind of the same thing. The setting was really cool and creative, but I actually had a hard time visualizing things. I could have used some better description.

The same is true with the characters. They were very interesting and likable, but...more
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Read by Theme: Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters 3 24 Aug 30, 2012 04:33AM  
Goodreads Librari...: How do you delete a series? 3 54 Nov 10, 2011 08:39AM  
  • Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology
  • The Horns of Ruin
  • Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Heart, #1)
  • Mainspring (Clockwork Earth #1)
  • The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam, #1)
  • Unnatural History (Pax Britannia, #1)
  • The Clockwork Man
  • Ghosts of Manhattan (The Ghost, #1)
  • The Bookman (The Bookman Histories, #1)
  • Infernal Devices
  • Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (Steampunk, #2)
  • The Steampunk Trilogy
  • The Buntline Special (Weird West Tales, #1)
  • Steampunk (Steampunk, #1)
  • The Alchemy of Stone
  • Dead Iron (Age of Steam, #1)
  • New Amsterdam (New Amsterdam, #1)
  • Steampunk Prime: A Vintage Steampunk Reader
S. M. Peters is not an ex-spy, ex-lawyer, ex-physicist, ex-Navy SEAL, or ex-Wall Street executive. He lives in Middle-of-Nowhere on Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, from where he commutes into the city to spend all day telling adolescents to fix their comma splices and spell “a lot” as two words. He is happily married and owns more animals than the Calgary Zoo.
More about S.M. Peters...
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