Jason Pettus's Reviews > Hearts of Smoke and Steam

Hearts of Smoke and Steam by Andrew P. Mayer
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's review
Feb 22, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, sci-fi, smart-nerdy, alt-history
Read in February, 2012

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

This is volume two of a new "steampunk meets superheroes" series from Andrew P. Mayer, a rather potboilerish adventure tale about masked vigilantes with fantastical weapons fighting crime in late-1800s New York; I reviewed the first volume last year and found it only so-so, while after finishing this latest found it…er, only so-so. And that's because Mayer never really does anything with this admittedly fascinating premise once he comes up with it; the action scenes are ho-hum, the dialogue purposely written with a kind of comic-book simplicity, and in general with plot developments that never rise above the clunky pulp serials that Mayer is obviously trying to emulate. And that's not bad if that's specifically what you're looking for, which is why it's getting at least an okay score today; but I'll warn you now that you'll be bored and disappointed if you're expecting even an ounce more than a competent genre quickie, and that this should be kept in mind if you're picking it up yourself. It comes recommended to steampunk fans who have a high degree of patience, but pretty much no one else.

Out of 10: 7.6
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