I bought this for a carpool of teenagers and also as a way for me to dip into steampunk. From the beginning, it was so ludicrously awful that we would replay the beginning to show others. From the larger-than-life hero, to the fawning women who yearned for the adventurer who could never be truly domesticated, few stereotypes were spared. Before starting the story the carpool would make guesses as to what hopeless situations our hero would suavely handle next and what feats of derring-do he would effortlessly toss off -- only to find the actual story line to be more trite than we dared guess.
The narrator did his best. I think it is a mark of his professionalism that he didn't giggle once. The author, however, has a lot to answer for. I'm amazed it's a series; I will never pick up another book by Hodder. Had I realized at the time that Audible accepted returns, I'd have sent it back.
Devourer of all books fantasy
This is the first book in the Burton and Swinbrune series by Hodder. There are two more books released in this series after this one: The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man and Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon. The fourth book in this series is scheduled to release in August of 2013.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was well done. The narrator did an excellent job of distinguishing between different character voices. The narrator’s voice was very English and did an excellent job of blending with the story setting.
Sir Richard Francis Burton is an explorer extraordinaire. His most recent expedition has left his reputation in tatters and his partner from the expedition is in grave condition. When he is given a chance to serve as the King’s agent in the case of Spring Heeled Jack, he is eager to prove his worth. At his side is Algernon Charles Swinburne, a failed poet who finds pain a most delightful pastime.
I enjoyed all the steampunk elements and the interesting world, but had a lot of trouble engaging with the characters. I also thought the plot was a bit scattered and wrapped up too conveniently.
Burton is a bit too perfect of a character, he pretty much excels at everything. He is portrayed as a noble and misunderstood hero of discovery. He excels at languages, fighting, scholarly pursuits, mesmerism, and pretty much everything he does. He is so perfect that I honestly had trouble liking him at all.
Swinburne is an odd character. He has no sense of fear and follows de Sade, meaning he finds pleasure in pain. He does a good job of balancing out Burton’s melodrama with his plucky personality. But I also found him kind of irritating and naive.
One of the most fascinating characters is Spring Heeled Jack. He has a very interesting back story and what starts out as a trip to change history a tiny bit ends up forcing Spring Heeled Jack into a descent into madness.
The plot is a bit scattered. There are a number of factions and groups of people that are seemingly involved in separate events. By the end of the book it all ties together but in a fairly convoluted way. It all worked out and made sense, but the process of getting there was scattered and at times a bit hard to follow. I got a bit weary of the time travel aspects to the plotline....time travel gets too complicated and convoluted.
The first part of the book is told primarily from Burton’s POV. The last third is told mainly from Spring Heeled Jack’s POV. This worked fairly well for the story.
It was an interesting read and very creative. It is well enough written. Things wrap up fairly well. The epilogue starts the next storyline.
Overall this was a decent steampunk read. I enjoyed the world, thought the plot was a bit scattered, and had some trouble engaging with the characters. Some of the story was intriguing but by the end I just wanted to be done with the book. I am unsure right now as to whether or not I will read the next book in this series.
I would tentatively recommend this book to steampunk fans who don’t mind quirky (and slightly annoying) characters. I would more strongly recommend A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz, Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series or Meljean Brooke’s Iron Seas series (which has more romance than the others but also an incredibly well done steampunk world).
Steampunk Sherlock Holmes
The ending nicely wrapped up the story while leaving room for a possible sequel or even an ongoing series.
There were several, but the introduction of Charles Darwin was my favorite.
Definately not Elementary.
This book was fast paced with numerous twists and unexpected reversals. The setting is imaginative and well thought out. The characters have depth, something that I find lacking in many mystery novels. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery, is interested in the "steampunk" genre or someone who is interested in the real character of Sping Heeled Jack from Victorian England.
I am a audio book lover turned Audio Book Reviewer since Nov '14. Love it and now started my own review blog featuring all the reviews here!
It was a strange way the book was laid out, but as it progresses through the sequence of the events and writing. It made sense and loved the approach of the author. The narrator certainly brought life to this book and incredible ways he approached each character and their voice personalities.
Actually Swineburne was an exquisite as the "I want to prove how useful I can be" for Sir Richard Burton
The way he brought each character to life with their personality and never missed a switchup in voice reconizing each of them.
When Spring-heeled jack knew that his one decision to correct what he thought was correcting his family out come really started with him - or did it? Have to listen to see if you agree
MUST LISTEN TOO!
The author writes in a steampunk genre. His machines and coal fueled inventions create an interesting and amusing story. The dialog, sets and character development were very good.
The story involves time travel. Edward's mental state as he jumps back and forth through time to try and repair the damage he has done was engaging and believable.
Nice choice of voice for the genre. Very believable.
Hi, I am a voracious reader with a wide range of tastes.
The writing, the plot and characters. The author took real people from history and made them into bigger then life characters in a world twisted by one mans folly.
I usually can tell the ending of a story and it's plot twists early, but not here. I was kept interested with the story having to know what happened next.
The beginning is slow because it is like a history lesson on Victory England so you are familiar with the world the story is set in, but after the first 30 minutes it really kicks in to high gear.
This book is unique among others I've listened to or read. I've never listened or read anything "steampunk", but it was interesting. This book was written so that you had a good mental picture of the machines, characters and environments.
The characters, the descriptions of events, machines, etc. was great. It was complicated to get into, but it was easy to follow after about the first 15 minutes.
There were moments in this book that caused me to gasp with surprise. I listen driving home from work or in to town for errands. I have surprised myself with my reaction to some of the twists and turns in this book.
give it a listen - you'll be surprised.
When I first started listening I wan't quite sure where the book was going, but further into it my attention became fixated. Wonderful story that grabs the imagination.