Category Archives: Steampunk

Review of “Pretty Waiter Girls”

61AfgPHCeXL

Book Reviews – “Pretty Waiter Girls” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Greg Alldredge (https://www.greg-alldredge.com). Mr. Alldredge has published three novels, with this being the first in his “Helena Brandywine Adventure” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1899 San Francisco. The primary character is young Helena Brandywine.

Brandywine is a wealthy young woman who is educated and who has grown up protected somewhat from the seedier and more brutal side of life. Her step-father, the general, has been away for many years and she has been without her mother for most of her life. She has Sigmund and Lane to assist, guide, and protect her.

Brandywine fancies herself as a detective after the popular stories she has read. When a friend approaches her about the disappearance of another young woman, Brandywine dives into the investigation. That investigation takes her to Chinatown and opens her eyes to what is really going on in the strata of society beneath her station. She also finds herself drawn to a San Francisco Police detective and encountering one dangerous situation after another. She also begins to learn much more about her parents. They are not exactly who she thought they were.

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 317 page steampunk mystery. I liked the characters in this novel, and the willingness of the author to see primary characters be killed off. I was not expecting the supernatural thread, but I still enjoyed the novel. I will look forward to more novels in this series. I like the cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Advertisements

Review of “Arabella The Traitor of Mars”

51-HpWxekZL

Book Reviews – “Arabella The Traitor of Mars” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David D. Levine (https://www.daviddlevine.com). Mr. Levine has published three novels as well as numerous novellas and short stories. This is the third in his
“The Adventures of Arabella Ashby” series. Read the interview with him.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in an alternate history to our own. While the story is set in Earth’s 19th century, this one has lighter-than-air craft traveling around the Solar System since the 1600s. The main character in this fantastical tale is Mrs. Arabella (Ashby) Singh, a young woman who has grown up in the British Colony on Mars.

While she is a more or less proper English young lady, she has shown far more interest in adventure and mechanical automata than English refinement. She has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with as she helped her fiance defeat Napoleon’s space navy at Venus. While in London celebrating the defeat of Napoleon and paying last respects to Lord Nelson who died in the battle, she learns of a plan by both The Mars Company and the British Crown to force the entire planet of Mars into the British Commonwealth.

Flush with the defeat of Napoleon, there seems to be no obstacle to Britain’s domination of Mars or the Solar System. When her husband is chosen to lead the British forces, she feels betrayed and flees Earth in a desperate attempt to reach Mars ahead of the British forces and lead a resistance as she feels Mars is her home rather than England. It becomes a race to see if adequate Martian forces can be brought together to oppose the powerful British fleet.

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 336 page steampunk alternate history and fantasy. While I liked the story and there are several very well created battles between opposing vessels, I really had a hard time with the notion of there being a breathable atmosphere between planets and ‘sailing ships’ able to travel through space. Perhaps if I had started with the first book in the series things would have been explained, but I doubt it. I was able to pick up this third novel in the series and read it without really needing to have read the prior novels in the series. I do like the cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Ash & Quill”

613vCUSY8oL._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Ash & Quill” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Rachel Caine (http://www.rachelcaine.com/). Ms. Caine (aka Roxanne Longstreet and Roxanne Conrad) has published more than 45 novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in an Alternate History where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived and now hordes, and controls all knowledge. The primary character is Jess Brightwell, a young man who has grown up being able to enjoy and treasure books. He has been in that unique position as his family are smugglers, and the black market trade in books is their specialty.

Brightwell and his group of friends and allies have fled from London and find themselves in the besieged American village of Philadelphia. They are taken prisoner by the Burners, rebels who would rather see books burn than turned over to the Great Library. Still sought by the Great Library, Brightwell and friends must find a way to escape Philadelphia, elude the Great Library army that surrounds the city and take the battle back to Alexandria.

I really enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 351 page alternate history. The story incorporates technology of fantasy/science fiction, as well as having a steampunk feel. This is the third book of the series and I did have some problem with backstory. It would have read better if I had read the other two novels in the series first. I do really like the characters and the concept of the Great Library of Alexandria being the center of power. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “The Guns Above”

51hQYzDDm7L._SY346_

Book Reviews – The Guns Above” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Robyn Bennis (http://www.robynbennis.com). This is Ms. Bennis’ first novel and the first in her “Signal Airship” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in another universe where steam is the king of technology. The primary character is Lieutenant Josette Dupre, the first woman to Captain an airship.

Her command is challenged by a doubting crew as well as an untested airship. Her life is further complicated by the foppish aristocrat, Lord Bernat, who has been assigned as an “observer” to her vessel. Clearly he is there to spy on her for his uncle, the general.

While on their shakedown cruise, still evaluating the ship, they are drawn into battle. Led by Dupre, the crew is able to survive, just barely. Dupre finds many ways to make her little airship have a large impact in the battles being fought.

Dupre steps into her shoes as Captain, leading her crew with creative ideas and courage. Her successes reach the press which is why the King had, against tradition, appointed her an Airship Captain. Now, like it or not, she is in a leadership role that some hope will see the military integrated with women in all capacities.

I really enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 352 page Steam Punk Thriller. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. I look forward to further books in this series. The cover art is well chosen. I give this novel a 4.6 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine”

512QbzFe1jL._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Anthony Francis (http://jeremiahwillstone.com/). This is Mr. Francis’ fifth novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is set partially in a parallel universe where Steam Punk is the technology and partially in our own world, The primary character is the young woman, Commander Jeremiah Willstone.

Willstone is an officer in the Victoriana Defense League (VDL). She is sent on a mission to find and stop her uncle who has stolen highly secret technology. She soon finds herself and the airship she is on plunging through time and dimensions. She finds herself in our very different contemporary world.

She and the VDL have spent years battling invasion attempts by extraterrestrials in their universe. Her view of things changes on this mission as she learns more about her uncle as well as both her allies and enemies.

I enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 298 page Science Fiction Steam Punk novel. I liked the world created for Willstone, as well as the cross over to our own. I thought that the plot was well laid out and very engaging. While the story arrives at a conclusion, there is plenty of loose ends that beg for sequels. I liked the cover art showing Jeremiah Willstone with an airship above her. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Steam and Sensibility”

51nt5DCLdrL._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Steam and Sensibility” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Kirsten Weiss (http://www.kirstenweiss.com). Ms. Weiss has published 20 novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the mid 1800’s just as gold was discovered in California. The primary character of the story is young Miss Sensibiliy Grey.

After the death of her inventor father, Gray travels to the primitive port of San Francisco to be with her uncle. Little known to her, she has secrets of her fathers inventions that others are willing to kill to obtain. She must both avoid those obviously out to take her and her secrets, as well as sort out who amongst her newly made friends she can really trust. She also finds that she learned far more from her father than her previous ‘tinkering’ led her to believe.

This was an enjoyable, quick 3.5 hour read of this 234 page Steam Punk tale. This isn’t the best Steam Punk novel I have read, but it wasn’t bad. It really just touches the surface of what could draw into a true Alternate History based upon the ‘discoveries’ Ms Gray has found. As expected, there is a touch of romance in the story. The cover art is a good selection. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Future That Never Was”

51-dTzzuaPL

Book Reviews – “Future That Never Was” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Kin S. Law (https://voxvorago.wordpress.com). Mr. Law has published two novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the late 19th century, but in an entirely different time line. The primary character is Albion Clemens, currently the captain of a steampunk pirate sailing ship. This is one of many that sail through the skies instead of on the oceans of the world.

Clemens is trying to find his adoptive father Samuel Clemens. He gets involved with a beautiful British Scotland Yard agent on a secret mission from the Queen. Unknown forces are stealing prominent landmarks from across Europe. Samuel Clemens is somehow involved.

Albion Clemens, along with his crew, the Scotland Yard agent and an reporter trail across the skies of Europe trying to track down who is stealing the buildings. They find themselves in one tight spot after another as they close in.

I spent 9 hours with this Steam Punk Science Fiction Alternate History novel of 312 pages. I really liked the concept of the flying ships and the overall plot. The writing was difficult to read though and not just from the 19th century language. There were also gaps in the plot where as one chapter ended the crew were being pursued and the next chapter started with them having (somehow) escaped their pursuers. I liked the idea of the novel, but was not impressed with the execution. I was glad when I finally finished this novel. The cover art is appropriate for the story. I give this novel a 2.8 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “A Tale of Two Airships”

51uh2wsa8nl

“A Tale of Two Airships” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Katherine McIntyre (https://katherine-mcintyre.com). Ms. McIntyre has published a dozen novels. This is the second in her “Take to the Skies” series.

I purchased this novel after receiving the first in the series as an ARC for review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is set in the near future on Earth, but that Earth is a world powered by steam. The primary character is Captain Beatrice Weston of the airship Desire.

More than two years have passed since the escapades described in the first bool “An Airship Named Desire”. The Desire and her crew are just making ends meet. Longtime crew member Isabella is contacted by her estranged gypsy clan, recruiting the Desire for a job. But while Weston and a small group of her crew meet with the gypsies, the Desire is taken along with the rest of the crew.

Weston must find a way to get her ship back and rescue the crew. Much more happened but more detail would give up spoilers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 277 page Steampunk Fantasy. There is near non-stop action as Weston and her band find themselves in one tight situation after another. There is not a happy ending for all as the Desire looses some of its crew. I thought that this was a fun read. There has still been no explanation as to what happed. Yet this is an Earth evolved from ours as Weston mentions radar once, the automatic rifles used are AK 551’s which evolved from the AK-47 and aether, the substance that powers the steam engines, only begun to be harvested a few years earlier. The cover art certainly gives the feel for the story. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “An Airship Named Desire”

51kunz-fifl-_sy346_

Book Review – “An Airship Named Desire” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Katherine McIntyre (https://katherine-mcintyre.com). Ms. McIntyre has published a dozen novels, this being the first in her “Take to the Skies” steampunk series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the near future of an Alternate History Earth. Machines are driven by steam and airships fly the skies, not airplanes. The primary character is young Beatrice, the First Mate of the Airship Desire.

The Desire and her crew mostly deal in smuggling and other similar jobs. Bea and fellow crew mate, Jensen, sneak aboard a British merchant vessel to steal a specific piece of cargo. That soon has the British chasing after the Desire. The British want to get back their stolen merchandise, a small locked box. Before long, a traitor among the Desire’s crew makes off with the box. Bea and the crew of the Desire give chase, but find both the British and the Morlock pirates in their way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 294 page Steampunk Alternate History. The story is set in our world, but it has changed in several ways. California has slid into the Pacific, the British are in control of most of Europe, and most importantly steam power rules. The date is a little in our future, around 2040. There is a mix of technologies – super computers are mentioned and the balloon holding up the Desire is protected by a Plasma Shield. On the other hand, the Desire crew and their enemies carry various kids of swords and hand guns.

The story is never dull, with Bea and her crew getting into one perilous scrape after another. The cover art is a good idea of what the story will bring. The only thing I can say is missing is a little better explanation of why the story is set in a steam powered world. I give this novel a 4.7 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Tour: Wayfarer Returns”

51vaxt26zpl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Book Review – “Toru: Wayfarer Returns” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Stephanie R. Sorensen. This is Ms. Sorensen’s first publication.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1852 Japan. The primary character is the young man Toru.

At first the story is that Toru was shipwrecked and saved by an American ship. Taken to America, he spends two years learning much about the technology, society and military. He returns to Japan with a wealth of information and books.

You soon find that his ‘shipwreck’ was planned as was his stay in America to learn about the country. Japan is facing a forced opening of its ports from America led by Admiral Perry. Toru is able to convince some of his countrymen that Japan is at risk from America. They begin to build airships, rifles, telegraphs, etc. – all technology that Toru has brought back from America – to defend Japan.

The Shogun is not in favor of this and Toru and his friends face forceful opposition. After several months of preparation, Admiral Perry and his fleet arrive. A confrontation ensues to keep Japan independent.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent with this 274 page Alternate History novel. Because of the main character’s experiences in America and the information he returns with, Japan is able to build a SteamPunk inspired force to meet Perry. I liked the cover art as it merges the feudal Japan with the SteamPunk inventions of the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).