Eric's Reviews > Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon by Mark Hodder
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's review
Aug 09, 2013

did not like it
bookshelves: steam-punk, science-fiction
Recommended for: Readers of the first two books that needed a sense of closure
Read from March 02 to May 28, 2012 , read count: Once

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack was a fun steam-punk romp with a sci-fi time-travel twist. The pace was break-neck, even if the plot was a bit incoherent at times. The interplay between the colorful cast of characters, most of which were stolen from real-life historical figures, made the book. This same winning recipe continued in The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, which left me excited to read this third and final volume of the Burton & Swinburne trilogy.

Sadly, that excitement died the moment I opened Expeditions to the Mountains of the Moon. The lightness in tone was gone, replaced by a bleak fatalism. The banter between the cast also disappeared, as each of the supporting casts' moment was relegated to their swan song. The Burton & Swinburne moniker doesn't even really apply to this book, as it is mostly Burton, and Swinburne's final appearance is an absurd scene (view spoiler). This book also abandoned its steam-punk origins; it is a full-fledged time-travel book, with rules more convoluted than quantum mechanics, and multiple alternate versions of history.

The book actually jumps back and forth between two time-lines so often that every time I even became mildly interested in where the plot was going, I became stymied by the other time-line being forced back upon me. The latter of the two time-lines was mostly to blame, as it featured Burton alone in a alternate future that the reader has no vested interest in, and the explanation for his purpose there is not given until the story's climax.

I almost lemmed this book more times than I can count. The only thing that kept me going was that I'd already read the two books that preceded it, and wanted to know how the trilogy ended. The conclusion wound up being the final nail in the coffin. I could have forgiven a lot of this book's many faults if the ending were a satisfying one. But instead, the ending is unsatisfying on every level, and also more opaque than the ending of Twelve Monkeys, thanks to the book's convoluted time-travel elements.

I'm so disappointed with this concluding volume that I'd seriously reconsider recommending even the first two books in the trilogy to others.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Drat! I was looking forward to Spring-Heeled Jack, but if it all fizzles in the end, why bother? That so annoys me, when writers take a hard turn away from what made a series good and fun in the first place.

message 2: by Eric (new) - rated it 1 star

Eric Yeah, your mileage may vary, but I couldn't stand this book, especially as a conclusion, in the least. That being said, if my memory serves, you could read the first as a stand-alone novel.

message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus I'm one of those weirdos who wants to read all of a limited series. If there are three books, I need to read all three. I can abandon ongoing series along the way, eg Ed McBain's 87th Precinct, but not closed loops unless I hit something like you just did.


message 4: by Eric (new) - rated it 1 star

Eric I understand. I abandoned The Dresden Files and The Sword of Truth books, but can't seem to abandon the Eragon trilogy -- even though I hated the third book, I bought the fourth book, and have been willing myself to start reading it and get it over with already.

Andrea Totally agree with your summary. So sad.

Laura Hoppo Thank you do much for writing this review!
I was scrolling past all the 5* reviews thinking that I was alone. So so disappointed. This book pushed my endurance and the ending let me down.
Definitely not a series I would recommend.

message 7: by Eric (new) - rated it 1 star

Eric I agree. It was especially disappointing considering how good the first two books were.

message 8: by Jokoloyo (new)

Jokoloyo 4*, 4*, then 1*. After two good books, and the serial ended badly? Thank you for the warning, Eric. I really reconsider to read this serial.

Just curious, do you have any plan to read the fourth book?

message 9: by Eric (new) - rated it 1 star

Eric It's funny you mention that, as I recently saw that a fourth was made. As much as the completist in me wants to continue on, no, I don't see myself reading it.

Reanne Looks like there's a 6th one coming out soon. I'm curious if that one will really be the end or not.

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