Publisher: City Owl Press
Publishing Date: December 2016
Publishers Description: Pillage and plunder is what air pirates do, but for Albion Clemens, that will have to wait. The Manchu Marauder needs to find his American stepfather, Captain Samuel, lost to the wayward winds of a Steam Age Europe. Unfortunately, Captain Samuel has stolen the Laputian Leviathan, a powerful pirate artifact that’s got agents of Queen and calamity sniffing at his coattails.
Review: Initially this was a whole lotta fun to read. A world of dirigibles set in the steampunk genre, air pirates and some mild sexual tension. Plying the air with good and ill intent and a grand mystery plus the search for a missing person whom may not be missing at all.
About 2/3 of the way through, the story line started to get jumbled and lacked cohesion in terms of the story line. It is hard to fill in the gaps when there is no informational content that can lead to an absent conclusion. Just a weird mishmash of high paced movement coupled with good scene descriptions and lacking in logical progression. You just kind of find yourself spit out, and damn it, you just have to accept it.
This really was a lot longer than it needed to be and gets a bit tiring with the hot pirate chick flashing her creamy boobs with jangles in her hair and beribboned corseted attire fitted with hidden recesses for knives. There is also a somewhat annoying shifting point of view, chapter to chapter and you sometimes have no idea who’s POV you currently reside in. Still, there is fun to be had. A mild three stars.
Publisher: Palantir Press
Publishing Date: February 2016
Publishers Description: While Sorensen’s heroes and their steampunk dirigibles are fictional, she builds her rollicking adventure and culturally rich tale against the backdrop of the “real” historical Japan of that period, weaving historical figures into her story, staying true to their motivations and agendas even while warping their actions, history and a few laws of physics. Underpinning the adventure plot is a young man’s yearning for his father’s approval and an honorable place in the world. A tender love story, a rowdy collection of allies and emerging steampunk technology complete the mix as Tōru fights to transform Japan’s conservative society at the end of the Tokugawa sakoku isolation period.
Review: Amazeballs cover art!
This garnered quite a few high reviews from the private sector as well as the paid kind (Kirkus etc.). While billed as epic in scope I found this a bit contrived in terms of believability and read more like an alternative history novel rather than Steampunk.
The main character, Toru, is just too good to be true and never really develops into a character that you can either loathe or root for. He just…is. I liked the idea of the female character, Masuyo, as being strong coupled with intellectual prowess. Yet she read as one-dimensional and always carried around her mien like a paragon of virtue. Of course they are drawn to each other but can never be as she is highborn (Princess) and he is a fisherman with a secret, which usually translates to him being a Prince or some shjt.
The idea that feudal Japan can become industrialized within the span of a year to meet the Western threat is just fooking ridiculous. Dirigibles, submarines and trains are created with a herculean effort yet the details were lacking in this sudden creation of a new Japan. While Masuyo and Toru grind on your nerves for their extra speshulness, you are forced to swallow an alternative history that derives its existence from implausible and impossible acts.
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publishing Date: January 2016
Genre: SciFi Steampunk
Publishers Description: Detan Honding, a wanted conman of noble birth and ignoble tongue, has found himself in the oasis city of Aransa. He and his trusted companion Tibs may have pulled off one too many cons against the city’s elite and need to make a quick escape. They set their sight’s on their biggest heist yet – the gorgeous airship of the exiled commodore Thratia.
Review: Holy shjtballz this was good. The storyline and world building were impeccable as were the depth of the characters that inhabited it. I am really looking forward to more from this author.