When Joseph Samson gets the chance to visit the amazing airship city Aeropolis, it seems that his dreams of flight will finally come true. But dreams turn to nightmares when German agents target Aeropolis— and Joseph finds himself on the wrong side. Can he correct his mistakes, save the day, and get the girl back? It's a tall order, especially when he's struggling to stay alive...
Alternative History - Science Fiction - Steampunk - Dieselpunk
Stephen West was born and raised in South Africa. Believing that a stable career is something to be actively avoided, he has worked as a waiter, TV extra, law lecturer, auditor, investment analyst, photographer, product manager, web designer, tax adviser, and freelance writer. He now lives in a small town just outside London and spends far too much time on Twitter.
Good story! This is a teen/YA full-length novel, set in London in an alternate history line where Churchill's the chairman of a bank, Hitler's rule of the Nazi Party was destroyed during the Night of the Long Knives, and Howard Hughes flies around the world on an aerial city called Aeropolis. (Ella Fitzgerald sings in one of the airship city's jazz clubs. Nice touch, that.)
The writing, editing, proofreading, and formatting are professional and crisp. My only real beef is that a few exciting scenes happen offstage, to the main character, no less, and we only find out about it when secondary characters talk amongst themselves. That left me feeling a) as if someone had yanked a chapter out from beneath me, and b) rather cheated. The rest of the story, with the floating city and airships and Spitfires (oh, my!) left me satisfied and ready for more.
Although the book clearly sets up a series, the story within stands alone. No need to buy additional books to find out what happens.
Three and a half stars, actually. Well-written, professional-grade first novel from Mr. West. Not something I would've picked out if I hadn't agreed to review it, but I ended up enjoying it. Would be a perfect pick for a YA/middle grader who is into flying, planes, history, mechanics, etc. Was my first foray into steampunk and I have to admit that (even as a grown-up) I found it surprisingly fun and educational - had to look a couple of things up in the spirit of "hey, did that really happen?" or "is that a real person?" Thank you, Mr. West. Nicely done, and I look forward to seeing the next offering in the series.
A great read! I love when I get a different view on how things might have turned out if something went differently in history! I like how you get to see the Joseph mature as the book progresses and he finds out that not everything is as he has been told it is.