All too often it seems as if steampunk authors stick to one location and one setting: a Victorian era European city. Think cobblestones and cold fog with women in full hoop skirts and men in three piece suits. It was refreshing to read a steampunk novel that took place—in both time and location—so far from the tried and true that I tip my proverbial hat to the author! “Bodacious Creed” is very much a western set in the early days of America, just after the Civil War, where California’s city of Santa Cruz could be considered very much a wild west. The feel of a railroad town that survives mainly from ranching, factories, the dying gold rush, and brothels is superbly well crafted and makes for a believable setting for this steampunk novel. But I don’t know if I’d really consider this a zombie book.
“The Outlaws of Kratzenfels” is a fun, fast paced action-adventure young-adult novel where fantasy meets science in a delightful steampunk manner. We watch as Princess Helda has her kingdom stolen from her, and witness the lengths she goes to get it back, the dark secrets of her parent’s death, the creation of the new Iron Knights, and we meet the raggedy crew she finds along the way. There are so many fun little tidbits going on in Jones’s book—and he writes wonderfully, with fun dialogue and situational humor—that I was yearning for more! Unfortunately, at parts, the lack of “more” actually hurt this entertaining book. Allow me explain.
***I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***
I’m just going to come right out and say it: I really liked this book. I just wish the cover was better / different, because it does no justice to the exciting story held within. Rhoades and Rutledge craft a fun story with a wide variety of deeply complicated characters that all feel whole and complete, like if I were to bring Vasili’s mother or the innkeeper aside to have a chat, they’d be able to without floundering for words. The authors created a well thought out steampunk-esque adventure without needlessly throwing cogs and gears everywhere. The flying airships fit the world perfectly, and I never felt like the world didn’t make sense. And while that was a lot of fun, the shining note on this book are the characters.
Ticker is about a girl with a mechanical heart, a device she did not want but needed in order to live. Now, in order to keep alive, she needs an upgrade to her "ticker" and the only one who can do that is a mass murderer. It's an interesting dilemma! What would you do if the only way to stay alive was to go with a brilliant, but delusional murder and let him operate on you knowing that he killed dozens in order to perfect the technology? Would you willingly go with him after he kidnapped your family and threatened to bring down the society around you? It's a brilliant premise, but the book could never really deliver on that grand idea.
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