Brian's Reviews > Whitechapel Gods

Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters
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's review
Sep 26, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from January 03 to February 05, 2012

First off I love the cover, but after that there really wasn't anymore love. For my first foray into a steampunk novel I am greatly disappointed. Not so much with the setting, though it was a bit limited and at times only sketchily described, but with the character description, development and the complete lack of forth right explanation.

You are introduced to characters with little or no description of what they look like or their motivation. As most readers would do, I think, you begin to picture a somewhat generic Victorian man or woman only to find out two chapters later that they look nothing like what you pictured. Case in point--Hews, I saw as a thin elegantly dressed man with sideburns and neat hair; the reality was he was fat with mutton-chops (which I think all of the characters had) nicely dressed and always wearing a hat. I am still not sure what Oliver, who is the protagonist of the novel, even really looks like other than tall. In my head he was older and had a trim beard. Again a few chapters later this was disproved. There is also a disease infecting people of Whitechapel, though not all, called the clacks. Tom has clacks, but I am not sure what it looks like or how it really was so bad for him. A lack of detail on the clacks.

The characters knew way more than the reader and yet none of them took the time to really explain their present situation. Was there a prequel and I missed it? I felt like I was to accept the reality and not to question how it really came to be only. Eventually you learn about Hume, Mama Engine, Grandfather Clock and the "child" how all it all began around the last third of the novel. A little to late, but if I knew how they came to be or what they were before the that point I would probably have stopped reading. Each chapter begins with a quote from a book, completely out of order if you believe the numbering system attached to each quote, at first it was hard to tell if this was an actual book being quoted or not. Adding to the confusion is that actual authors are quoted at divisions within the novel. It is until later that you are made aware of Hume's book Summa Machina and realize these are quotes from it. Another thing that bothered me is that the events in the book happen over a short frame of time like three days. It is the DaVinci Code of steampunk fantasy.

Disappointed. But love the cover still.
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01/04/2012 page 25
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