Steampunk!

by

I am so behind on posting about BEA books it isn’t funny. At this rate they’ll all be published before I get to them!

So, two for today, both steampunk novels. How do you know if a book is steampunk? There’s a character wearing goggles on the cover.

First, don’t hate me for getting Scott Westerfeld’s Goliath as an ARC. I know, this is one of those books people have been waiting for forever, and it’s coming out in September. *I’ve* been waiting, too, and it was one of my BEA motivators.

Going into the final book of a series, you know a few things have to happen — like Alek MUST find out about Deryn/Dylan. The jig is up! But how? Will they get together? Will she confess? Will he find out and feel betrayed? Will someone tell him to win his trust?

I like how Westerfeld handled this particular plot point, and the Deryn/Dylan issue overall. He didn’t twist the characters to fit the expected gender roles but kept things complicated  regarding both class and gender. Yay! I wouldn’t expect anything less but was still very happy with the outcome.

Also, the back of the book teases a brilliant/maniacal inventor. I cheered at the appearance. If you are a nerd, you will cheer, too, but I won’t spoil it here. Suffice to say, the inventor is awesome.

My only real quibble with this book (and yes, I hate quibbling when overall I’m a fan and got to read this early) was the length. At moments, world elements seemed to take over the story, so the pacing wasn’t as fast and tight as usual. The book is a Goliath, weighing in at 543 pages. I could’ve done without the side trips to meet two other historically significant characters, and some of the battles also got long. But hey, the series ending satisfies, the illustrations are wonderful as ever, and Deryn/Dylan is dauntless.

The Greyfriar was an unplanned BEA pickup. I was walking down an aisle, probably on a mission for one of the books on my master list, saw a couple signing, stopped, backtracked, and checked out the cover. Airships! Castle in the mist! Man in steampunk outfit. Hmmm…

I asked, “What’s this?”

Susan Griffith said, “Vampire steampunk.”

I said, “Yes” aloud, “Do want!” in my head, and got in line.

So, yes. Vampires. They’re so over, right? Only if they sparkle.

This book was a fun, fast-paced read. I think it helped that I went in with zero expectations — like a summer superhero movie — and came out of it saying, “That was a lot better than I expected.” It’s pulpy, of course — it’s a genre fest — but it moves. No boggy middle, although there are some backstory breaks in the beginning.

It’s definitely not for everyone — you have to like pulpy, genre fest books — but it you’re into Gail Carriger or Ilona Andrews, you’ll probably get a kick out of this, too. The vampires are fighters, not lovers, there’s a Zorro-like hero, and a kidnapped princess who admittedly is a little too good to be true.

Greyfriar is already out. The crazy thing? In my 2-minute chat with authors Clay & Susan, I asked when the next would come out. They said the trilogy was on a publishing schedule of a book every 6 months.

“So did you write the trilogy up front and then sell it, or divide a longer novel into three?”

“No, we wrote and sold the first one and then wrote the others on deadline. It was fun!”

Yeah, I walked out of that conversation feeling like an underachiever. Still, they were lovely people who had fun writing their series, and from book one, you can tell.

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