The air pirate Andan Cly is going straight. Well, straighter. Although he’s happy to run alcohol guns wherever the money’s good, he doesn’t think the world needs more sap, or its increasingly ugly side-effects. But becoming legit is easier said than done, and Cly’s first legal gig - a supply run for the Seattle Underground - will be paid for by sap money.
New Orleans is not Cly’s first pick for a shopping run. He loved the Big Easy once, back when he also loved a beautiful mixed-race prostitute named Josephine Early - but that was a decade ago, and he hasn’t looked back since. Jo’s still thinking about him, though, or so he learns when he gets a telegram about a peculiar piloting job. It’s a chance to complete two lucrative jobs at once, one he can’t refuse. He sends his old paramour a note and heads for New Orleans, with no idea of what he’s in for - or what she wants him to fly.
But he won’t be flying. Not exactly. Hidden at the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain lurks an astonishing war machine, an immense submersible called the Ganymede. This prototype could end the war, if only anyone had the faintest idea of how to operate it….
If only they could sneak it past the Southern forces at the mouth of the Mississippi River…. If only it hadn’t killed most of the men who’d ever set foot inside it. But it’s those “if onlys” that will decide whether Cly and his crew will end up in the history books, or at the bottom of the ocean.
Listen to another Clockwork Century novel.
©2011 Cherie Priest (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
The Clockwork Century series had really had me as a serious follower. Boneshaker was the first "Steampunk" book and actually the first audiobook that I ever listened to. It was this book that really got me into listening to audiobooks, I'm always trying to find one better and there have been a few, but in different genres, none in Steampunk. The following two were decent as well. Unfortunately, Ganymede disappointed me too many times in just the first two chapters and I was unable to get over this.
The first disappointment was the reader. It seems as though Eduardo Ballerini didn't pre read this book or even read the previous books. There were many times throughout the whole book where character voices lead into narration, this was tough to discern what was going on. I had to basically just forget the female voices, which wasn't hard since they all sounded the same anyway, and listen for myself to find the narration. Pre reading the book would have helped this. If Eduardo had read the previous books, or even better, listen to them. He would have found that princess Angeline did not sound like a princess, due to a throat injury, that Lucy was a gruff and tough older woman, not a bartender that is trying to get sweet on all her customers, and that Jeremiah Swackhammer was not an old elderly guy, just because he has a daughter in her twenties. Even though the story is no where near as great, I believe I would love this audiobook still if it was reread by Kate Reading. I didn't appreciate her during the readings, but her characters were top notch and can't be beat.
Second disappoint was the inconsistencies in the story. I have only gotten through half the story at this point but it is enough to piss you off that the writer, of all people, didn't even keep care to keep points consistent. Cly met Mercy at the end of Dreadnought... This one overlook almost ruined the book for me. As well, it never mentioned before Josphine and Ruthie went out to the pirate town that she had received Cly's response, however, two days later Ruthie magically got back to the boarding house, even though it was touch as nails to get to the pirate town, and mentioned that Josephine received the tap. This seems to me like it was something that should have been celebrated, or maybe offer up some instructions to the other ladies on what to do when he gets there, but instead the ladies just knew exactly what to do with Cly when he showed up...
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this audiobook on any other grounds but to follow up with the Clockwork Century. Hopefully any future CC books are paid more attention to previous details and read by Kate Reading ONLY.
I would however, recommend the first three, Boneshaker at the least.
ANY other narrator.
The story was another great steam punk tale of the Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest.
I'm a theatre teacher. Edoardo Ballerini would receive a D tops for his performance with this book. It's PAINFUL to listen to him mutter on and on and on in a near-monotone without the SLIGHTEST emotion, while somehow at the same time managing to be over-dramatic. It's quite a feat, actually.
I almost quit listening several times, as it was nearly impossible to maintain any interest or focus, his narration was so bad.
Perfect book for reading. FIRST book I've ever listened to that I KNEW I would have been better off with a real book, rather than the audio version . . .
In short, everything about this book was great, except the narrator, who all but killed it for me. I read the first two books in the serious, and decided to go with the audiobook for the third one because of a very busy schedule. I REALLY wish I had stuck with the actual books for this one, because I just CANNOT recommend this experience to ANYONE.
A great new entry in the clockwork universe, is somewhat marred (and loses one star) by having a lengthy continuity error early in the book, but it is worth getting past that and getting into Ms.Priests New Orleans which is rich with that city's flavor and a solid story.
It is also the first instance of the word "zombie" appearing and the term coming from the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau no less, is a brilliant touch.
(But Cly met Mercy at the end of Dreadnought so having him meet her again at the beginning of Ganymede is somewhat jarring /continuity rant)
I've truly enjoyed the previous clockwork century novels, and this one didn't dissapoint me. The story wasn't quite as good as the other, but still definately one worth reading/listening. I really like that all of the books work well as stand alone. You can easily enjoy this book even if you haven't read the previous ones. There is a little repetition of the known facts for those acquinted with the clockwork century world, but it doesn't bother too much.
For those, who love steampunk, independent heroines, and adventure, this is a very good choice.
I listen to books when I'm at work or doing chores. I prefer history and fantasy. My favorite audio book is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.
Or at least her editor, I presume she has one, should have re-read the previous three books before letting this one go out. This book is plagued by the sort of continuity errors and confusions that I so admired the previous books for avoiding. A good example takes place right at the beginning when Cly meets Mercy for the "first time" even though he's the one who flew her into the city and if he's been visiting as often as he supposedly has it doesn't make sense for him to be meeting her just now. Especially since later in the books he talks about things she's told him, which doesn't make sense if he's only met her once at the beginning of this book.... Ganymede can't even remain consistent with itself let alone the other Clockwork Century novels.
Furthermore the story isn't even good. It's starts out all right but gets steadily worse as the climax of the book approaches. I don't expect anything approaching historical or scientific accuracy in this book but a little common sense would be welcome. Why wouldn't you want sailors on a submarine, at least one person experienced with water and the river and bay you're sailing through? Answer: because that would have meant Priest doing research before writing this book and that's no fun. How come zombies can suddenly be halted by an old woman banging her cane on a lamp post? Answer: Because this is New Orleans and that's how they do it there? I really can't say. Why would you randomly decide to take a detour in a dangerous machine that's drowned all it's previous crews just when it looks like you might make it to safety? Answer: Because you can't have a climax for a book without shoehorning in a battle! And it is shoehorned in, so blatantly I had to quit reading with about 2 hours left to go. The situation as described in the book makes no sense and the characters have absolutely no motivation to behave the way they do. Priest tries to make up some on the spot and so we end up with dialogue that sounds like it comes from a particularly corny movie from the 1950's. Not only does Cly suddenly have to get tossed the idiot ball to make the climax work but an entire invasion of pirates has to be improbably sped up to make it happen on time. I have a suspicion the only reason they weren't refueling at the point when I quit reading (something it had earlier been stated they would do) was to make low fuel an issue at some critical moment in the most ridiculous way possible.
What I admired about Boneshaker was how well the world seemed to work. Nothing seemed forced in just for the sake of novelty or plot convenience. In Ganymede everything happens for the sake of novelty or plot convenience, everything from the super cars the residents of New Orleans drive to the flashlights that are now apparently available in every drug store for a dime. The rogue force of anti-Confederates hiding in the swamp drive what are essentially Hummers simply because Priest thinks it would be cool. Having these kind of vehicles widely available not only doesn't fit with the setting but is impractical since they'd be even more likely to become bogged down in a swamp than a horse. The description of the Texan "crawlers" is even worse, making the book read like an alien invasion novel instead of steam punk.
Ganymede could have been a decent book if any effort at all had been put into either the writing of it or the editing. Since neither Priest or her publisher could be bothered what we have instead is a disappointing mess that the few tidbits we receive about Briar Wilkes's current circumstances do not justify.
Yes, I said romance, in a Cherie Priest steampunk novel! I haven't really missed it in the other three books since I've been so enthralled with the resourceful, dogged, don't-mess-with-me main characters in the other books in the series. In fact, I've found it refreshing to see strong women and men going after their objects of desire--a son, a father, a war object that could doom a country, a stolen treasure--with such focussed passion, resourcefulness, and intolerance for anyone that got in their way. I've been relieved that they didn't get side-tracked by any silly romance. There were a few hints of interest, particularly in Clementine, but in Ganymede romance smolders for both familiar characters and new ones. It's great to see Briar apparently feeling fulfilled in her roles as sherriff, mother, friend, and...lover. After all she's lost in cursed Seattle, I'm glad it's working out for her. It's poignant to see the exchanges between her love interest, the pirate Andan Cly, and his old lover from ten years ago, a prostitute named Josephine. Although they know each other so well, and are both a bit wistful for what might of been, they know it's over and there is a job to be done, so they do it and move on, going their separate ways to people who suit them better now.
The Zombie scourge still plays a part in this story, and there are still a couple of murder scenes involving zombies eating people and being shot to pieces, but the gore has been scaled back quite a bit from what it has been like in some of the other Clockwork Century books, particularly in Boneshaker and Dreadnaught. It's becoming a more of a widespread public health issue now, so it will be interesting to see how that is managed in future books in this series. Will it become more of an issue than the Civil War? Will other people, like Andon Cly, realize the part they have played in this scourge and be compelled to rectify their actions?
I look forward to catching up with the characters in future books and finding out.
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