Richard Wright's Reviews > El Sombra
El Sombra (Pax Britannia: El Sombra, #1; Pax Britanna, #2.5)
by Al Ewing
by Al Ewing
Set within the Pax Brittania steampunk universe, El Sombra is a tricky book to review. Pure pulp nonsense, with a by the numbers plot (lone crusader battles the oppressive regime, saves the girl, and comes out on top) and almost no character development whatsoever, this is nevertheless a thrilling read. As a Zorro fan, I particularly enjoyed the channelling of that character into the titular freedom fighter's archetype, though in truth there's a healthy dose of Rambo thrown in to balance things out. Ewing's writing hurtles from one unlikely but thrilling set piece to the next, and while the prose is superficially straightforward, it's dotted with neat turns of phrase and effective literary tricks. Particularly diverting is the tactic of briefly visiting the lives of the men El Sombra slaughters, just before the deed is done, which gives the impression of a much larger world than is presented in the main story. I couldn't help being entertained.
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