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Review – The 19 Dragons May 11, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Steampunk.
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Title: The 19 Dragons

Author: S.M. Reine

Genre: Steampunk

Publisher: S.M. Reine

Publish Date: July, 7 2011

Available at: Amazon

From Amazon:

DEAD GODS. WAR. AND THE END OF THE WORLD.

There are nineteen provinces in the Land held aloft by nineteen pillars. Above the earth there is sky, and nobody knows what goes below except the Nineteen Dragons.

That is all you need to know, but that is not all there is to be known.

The Device has been stolen and the godlike Dragons have been rendered mortal. Someone is murdering them one by one, and each death brings the world closer to its end. Unless the the Device is somehow restored to its deceased owner, the Dragons are doomed to destruction– and the human world will go with them.

Review:  (There are spoilers in this review.)

This is a strangely compelling story with its unusual formatting and odd cast of characters. There isn’t any one protagonist that truly seems to have stuck out until the end when Number Two saves the day along with her cousin dragon Number Five who is also  Number 19. Yes, that point is rather confusing.

Yet somehow it all works in favor of the novella. There are odd twists and turns at every corner of this story. It keeps the pace up and kept me engaged. There were dirigibles or air balloons and air gun ships. There were other automaton that weren’t well-described and I felt like they could have been to give the story more of a Steampunk flavor.

Otherwise I was very pleased with the way the story went. It flowed around the 19 dragons and their colorful tales. Each of them were unique and flavorful with their own unique characteristics. I don’t consider that an easy task when you consider there were 19 of them. Some of them passed more quickly then others. Some were given more attention then others. All were interesting in their own way.

I enjoyed the fantastical elements Reine included with her dragons. She kept them majestic and noble. Only deigning to don human vessels out of absolute necessity.

For such a short story I thought it was well done. The romance was more then a little rushed, but it was in keeping with the odd tenor of the whole tempo of the book. I have no real complaints about that.

All in all an enjoyable read.

Review – Timeless March 18, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Paranormal, Steampunk.
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Timeless 

by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’s acting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

I was sad to learn that this is the last book of the series, but if ever was there a series to go out with a bang then this one was it! There are surprises in store in the end! I won’t go into them for fear of spoiling the story, but I had a really fun time.

Prudence, Alexia’s child, was adorable and I’m not generally a fan of little people. She was precocious without being bratty. She also had intriguing powers and idiosyncrasies.  It was quite enjoyable just to read about her. I think that Carriger is doing a series about Prudence sometime in the future and that should be fun.

Alexia was her indubitable self, strutting out her irrefutable logic in the face of each crisis at every turn. Even if it was done before I didn’t get tired of reading about it.

Biffy was further developed in this story and how I loved that he was. He was always one of my favorite characters. I won’t go into those developments. I think it’s best I leave those surprises to those who will read the book unsaid.

This was a great read. It had me wondering what on earth was going on and where the story was going. It kept me reading until the late hours of the night, anxious to know what would happen next. It had me laughing. It had my heart in my throat. All in all, a really wonderful book.

Gears of Wonderland February 1, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Fantasy, Steampunk.
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Gears of Wonderland

by Jason G. Anderson

(also available in paperback and on NOOK)

James Riggs falls in a rabbit hole and emerges into a Wonderland years after Alice’s time. Many changes have occurred, one of which is the introduction of Victorian steam machinery.

Another change is the Knave of Hearts is the ruler of Wonderland. Under his cruel regime we find Kara, the Mad Hatter’s daughter and a leading member of the rebellion.

Kara and James find themselves on a journey to find out what the significance is of a tattoo on James’ arm has and what it means to the people of Wonderland.  The adventures they find themselves in is a wild romp and the fun you’ll have with them won’t disappoint.

The interplay between Kara and James is rather predictable, but sweet nonetheless. James is a character that I related to and grew to admire. He wasn’t a swashbuckling hero, but he did show bravery in his own modern way.

The melding of Victorian Steampunk and Wonderland was novel and well done. The way Anderson fast-forwarded Wonderland several years in the future was a great way to take a new approach to an old-time classic.

This was a fast-paced, easy to read book. If you’re looking for a fun story, this is it.

4 of 5 stars.