Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: The Doomsday Vault

I bought myself a book for my birthday. I was in the store going back and forth trying to decide which I wanted. Then I saw this one and immediately purchased it. There was no thought to it or anything, I just bought it. I was going to like this book.

The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper takes place in an alternate steampunk timeline where a zombie plague occasionally has the opposite effect and creates mad clockwork geniuses instead of the zombies. They still die soon after, but they have plenty of time to invent a new clockwork culture.

We follow the story of two possible new recruits for a secret branch of the British government which captures the geniuses (called clockworkers) and gives them the tools to make their inventions for use by the empire.

Our female protagonist, Alice, has the more complicated position. She's traditional nobility and doesn't want to ruin her family's name any more than it already has been. Joining the organization would do that, associating with the male protagonist would do that. Technically, if she thinks, she's doing it, but none of the clockworkers have invented telepathy yet, so she's safe.

Before the end she has to make a decision of which direction to go, even though she doesn't realize that not all the decisions are in her control.

I strongly suggest you read this if you have interest in the steampunk genre. It's fast paced and fun and the internal struggles don't drag on for too long (which they could have). Also giant mecha. One's shaped like a tree.

Review: Ashes of Honor

I didn't realize Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire was coming out in early September instead of Mid-September. It was a nice surprise and caused a lost day. It was nice.

Anyway, we rejoin our heroine as she has to prevent a changeling with too much power from accidentally destroying the world by reopening the sealed portions of Faerie. Of course it isn't as simple as that, it never is, the villain is causing arbitrary trouble that could cause terrible things to happen in San Francisco.

I shouldn't say arbitrary, it's more how the villain just doesn't care. The villain wants something to happen and needs assistance, so they make a deal. That deal has ramifications, but the villain isn't considering that, just as they aren't considering the ramifications of opening a sealed portion of Faerie even temporarily.

The most enjoyment of the book though is revisiting old character's who haven't been seen since book two, discovering some of what you expected about characters from small statements they had made, and Quentin finally getting taller than Toby.

Okay, I can't say anymore without giving spoilers (and if you look closely, I already did), so I'll just leave this with a "Go read it".

That book looks old.

So I was looking at my Goodreads reading suggestions today (I'm behind on my arbitrary reading goal I set back in January and will meet my goal, just because I can) and was thinking about something I do when I look at book covers. If they have the older style of artwork and the older style of lettering, I don't give them a second look. I don't know why!
I may add, I'm skipping this series  until it's finished.
I have attempted to read some of these because I know they're popular books, but more often than not I get bored within a few hundred pages.

Do they just hit all of my nerves? I do get pissed off when I have to remember thirty names in the first two pages, worse if they're complex, or even worse, made up.
And then Peter turned to Victor, "Devereux will be made King at the equinox, unless Jun Ki can defeat him in the Challenge of Miculsuia, which is fought with nucsloia, which is just a fancy name for a sword, but I want to make it clear it's a special sword, and defeat the ilausnua."
If that paragraph appeared in a story it would be one thing, but I've run into books where they'll start off the first three chapters like that. It's just a turn off and I feel like I'm going to be working through a sea of names for the entire book.

My next guess is they are too cliché, I mean even the most traditional fantasy written today has some steampunk or magitek aspects. I get this feeling I won't see that in the older novels. They were trying to avoid the pioneers of that genre or so I assume.

It's all academic at this point anyway. I have plenty of things to read before I get to those, I just hope I'm not missing out.