Originally posted on 08 Sep 2023

1 minute read

I’m unsure how or when I acquired this book. Probably in some online Tor Books sale? Regardless, it somehow ended up on my Kobo at some point and I finally got around to seeing what it’s all about and why I thought to buy it.

The answer seems to be that it’s a steampunk alt-history set in London and starring an eccentric academic aristocrat and his plucky woman assistant. It’s certainly not my usual fare, but the first chapter wasn’t bad so I decided to read it through to the end.

It was…fine. To be honest, it read like the novelisation of a movie I’d not be surprised to see from one of the streaming services. There’s a lot of action in the book, as well as romantic tension between the two main characters. It has dirigibles and brass and steam and all those things one has come to expect from steampunk. In 2008, when the book came out, it undoubtedly was very exciting and novel stuff but now all feels a bit cliché.

As books go, it was entertaining enough. Mann is a vivid writer, which helps a lot. This turns out to be the first of several books featuring these characters, and there have been been comics for them. Perhaps the subsequent entries in the series would grab me more, but I’m unlikely to give them the chance. It was an OK book, and I don’t regret my time spent with it, but now I can move on to other things.