You ever have one of those times when something gets so hyped up that you're expecting greatness only to find that you're scratching your head tryingYou ever have one of those times when something gets so hyped up that you're expecting greatness only to find that you're scratching your head trying to figure out what's actually going on? That was my experience with the omnibus of Girl Genius. It's not that I won't necessarily try out other volumes of the story. It's more that I was confused by much of the early going. The plotting feels all over the place without grounding the reader in the world right away. The color in the portions past the overlong prologue are shocking b/c the initial section has splashes of color amongst the largely brass and silver tones that tell you we're in a proper steampunk world. Girl Genius is okay, but nothing to be overly blown away by at the start....more
Well, we got there in the end. Mark Hodder's Burton and Swinburne adventures wrap up in The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats. And what a ride the sixWell, we got there in the end. Mark Hodder's Burton and Swinburne adventures wrap up in The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats. And what a ride the six books (starting with The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack) have been. Admittedly, I found the first section a bit of a jumble, like Hodder once again had all these ideas that he just needed to get out there and couldn't quite fit into a story easily. However, the philosophical musterings and character musings do have a purpose in getting our heroes where and when they need to be for the majority of the story to pan out.
We've gone all the way back to 1861 and things get dire quickly causing Burton, in particular to suffer under some rather distressing circumstances. For sake of not spoiling much, I'll just say this - more than any other B&S adventure, this one has truly difficult to read passages if you're not a fan of violence. But, much like the rambling first section, there is a purpose to it all. There's even a sense that we've come to the end of the series proper. (Not to say that off shoot stories couldn't result in, say, short story or novella format.) I say a sense. With Hodder, one never quite knows what he's going to come out with next. With plenty of the usual expected twists, unexpected turns, character call backs and steampunkery, Rise of the Automated Aristocrats lives up to its predecessors assuming you've gotten this far. Burton & Swinburne really are best enjoyed if you've read them all....more
One of the most fascinating aspects of Oisin McGann's Ancient Appetites is the consistency with which he builds a world where one is encouraged to murOne of the most fascinating aspects of Oisin McGann's Ancient Appetites is the consistency with which he builds a world where one is encouraged to murder the eldest member of the family in order to become heir to the Wildenstern fortune. Much of the story follows newly returned to Ireland Nate, but it is the surrounding characters which breathe life into the book. The first three quarters feel rather like McGann is building the world and creating the scene for a final quarter that just never lets up until the moment it has to. The writing is sure handed and interesting enough to propel one through this dangerous but fascinating environment. The extreme seems normal up to the moment when everything gets particularly crazy and then, just like Nate, we are forced to see just how wrong the Wildenstern way of life is. Ancient Appetites is truly an odd but compelling journey that's just enough alternate history to be considered steampunk, but not so much that you feel alienated by the differences in the world. It's strange and tantalizing with a few glitches here and there. Complete enough that there is closure, you'll still want to know what can possibly happen next to the Wildensterns. It's sure to be a wild ride just like this first volume.
Note: ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for review....more