April's Reviews > Infernal Devices

Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 1800-s-victorian-era, read-in-2011, don-t-own, steampunk

Infernal Devices is an account told by George Dower of Clerkenwell, London in the hopes of repairing his ruined reputation as a result of the events he lays out in full description and detail. A wild adventure complete with sea creatures, people who've seen the future and now speak the lingo, secret societies for science, and a robot (automata) that takes on a life of it's own. A truely fantastical journey that requires a suspension of disbelief - but makes you all the more happy for it.

At first I had a hard time getting into the story because of the classic writing style of writing - which fits with the Victorian era setting and the narrator penning the tale, but had me rereading sentences in order to make sure I grasped their meaning. However, I'm glad I persisted because at some point I realized I wasn't having any problems stumbling over sentences and was fully immersed in the story. There are a lot of funny elements in the book and even though most of them weren't laugh out loud funny (which is rare for me anyways), I did fine myself smiling a lot while reading. However, the ending came together in a rush and some of the surprises left me going "huh?" I won't give any spoilers but it would've made a fine book without some of the surprises at the end, it was just too much. The ending did make me laugh; Dower is just such a stodgy fellow and all this stuff happens to rock his world!

Before the novel there is a forward by the author where I learned he coined the term "steampunk" to describe a genre that he and a few of his friends were writing. Little did he realize the word would take on a life of it's own (much like his robot in Infernal Devices). I found the history of steampunk's beginning very interesting - especially since I had no idea it began as a fiction genre; I usually see it expressed as jewelry since that's another hobby of mine.

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