Sigrid Ellis's Reviews > New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear
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Mar 22, 11

bookshelves: fiction-paranormal, fiction-steampunk
Read in March, 2011

I try to write reviews that will be meaningful, and helpful to others, without giving too much away. Yet giving away the plot doesn't give away the skill with which that plot is carried out. It doesn't give away the author's voice, or mastery of language. To tell you what happens doesn't convey how the characters feel about what happened, nor does it explain how that reaction manifests.

New Amsterdam is about a vampire and his court. It is about a DCI in a corrupt political system. It is a police procedural. It is a series of sexual encounters. New Amsterdam is about grown-ups, on their second or third or twentieth chance to make a life for themselves. New Amsterdam is about colonization. It's about science, faith, and magic. It's about a strong, flawed woman whose honor is the thing she most values. It's about a strong, flawed man who likes to pretend he's outside the system. And none of that touches on the bisexual rent boys, the Aztecs, werewolves, licensed investigatory magic, or the logistics of airship travel for the walking dead.

The opening murder mystery recreates the best of Agatha Christie. One of the murder mysteries in the middle of the book reminded me strongly of John M. Ford's The Dragon Waiting, and a death in an inn. And the murder mystery at the end involves Nikola Tesla.

If that sounds good to you, by all means go forth and read Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam.
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Michael Fierce nice review


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