In a postapocalyptic world of endless snow, Captain Romulus Buckle and the stalwart crew of the Pneumatic Zeppelin must embark on a perilous mission to rescue their kidnapped leader, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the impenetrable City of the Founders. Steaming over a territory once known as Southern California — before it was devastated in the alien war — Buckle navigates his massive airship through skies infested with enemy war zeppelins and ravenous alien beasties in this swashbuckling and high-octane steampunk adventure. Life is desperate in the Snow World, and death is quick. Buckle and his ship’s company must brave poisoned wastelands of Noxious Mustard and do battle with forgewalkers, steampipers, and armored locomotives as they plunge from the skies into the underground prison warrens of the fortress city.
Captain Romulus Buckle must lead the Pneumatic Zeppelin and its crew of ne’er-do-wells on a desperate mission where he must risk everything to save Balthazar and attempt to prevent a catastrophic war that could wipe out all that is left of civilization and the entire human race.
©2013 Richard Ellis Preston Jr. (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The Romulus Buckle series is an exuberant, swashbuckling tale of a dystopian future set in Los Angeles and populated with a great cast of over the top characters. The story is packed with non-stop action and adventure and really sets a great bar for inventive steampunk romance.
Romulus Buckle is the young captain of the Pneumatic Zeppelin - part of the fleet of his father's clan, the Crankshafts. When the leader of the clan (and Romulus' adoptive father) is kidnapped, the Buckle and his Zeppelin will travel across the Los Angeles landscape, fight prehistoric monsters, clan armies, and more - all the while assisted by his capable crew.
I really enjoyed this book - it's a book that has a strong enough plot, great world building, and all the adventure you'd expect from a pirate type adventure. There are even moments of amusement and humor thrown in at some of the situations in which Buckle finds himself. Add in Martians, Los Angeles ruined and under snow, and some inventive steampunking (where steampunk IS intrinsic to the plot and not set dressing) and you have a great read. Los Angeles natives will especially appreciate this book and its ruined Southern California locations.
I listened to the Audible version of this book and it was just a bit too over the top, though I appreciated all the characterization the narrator put into the reading.
In all, this is a gem in the steampunk or dystopian genre.
Sometimes, no matter how you try, you can't get into an audiobook.
It can be the premise. In this case, I LOVE the premise.
Sometimes, it can be the delivery. In this case, Daniels is passable.
So, why did I have so much trouble with this audiobook, starting it over numerous times to make sure I was hearing it correctly, re-evaluating the plots and the "believability" of the work?
Let's figure this out by looking at what good writing does for the reader or listener.
Good writing takes us on a journey that must, by the very genre's nature, suspend disbelief. It's a requirement. This is done by more than interesting action sequences, which this work DOES have. It requires solid world-building combined with a believable lead character.
There are other important factors to successful writing, but on these two key factors, the work falls short. Romulus Buckle is too perfect, with no flaws that accompany a great story. As to the good sequences, they just don't come together as a WHOLE work of exceptional world-building. Tolerable, but not worthy of an Audible credit.
I keep these negative reviews short when I deliver them, because they should be short and to the point. It's my hope that Preston will step up his game in the future.
There are SO many other works that deserve your attention here at Audible, both fiction and non. Explore those instead.
a dedicated dilettante
Romulus Buckle's life would be any adrenaline junky's dream except his adventures aren't about getting his kicks (that's a by-product). He is moved by loyalty, family and yes, a serious sense of adventure. Richard Ellis Preston Jr.'s second book in the Pneumatic Zeppelin Chronicles, Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War, continues the saga of Romulus through the challenges of facing off against the Founders, this time, with a little help from some new friends.
If you're looking for subtly, don't go hanging out with Romulus Buckle. He's a bit larger than life, his adventures are action-packed and his loyalties are (fairly) straight-forward. Mr. Preston continues his fine, swashbuckling tradition from the first in the series, Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders, about which more here. However, the relationships become more complicated and new revelations and hints of revelations put a new twist on things
Luke Daniels did an admirable job narrating the audio-book (I went back and forth between my Kindle and the Audible versions). Mr. Daniel's characterizations are terrific; he's, in turns, big and booming, snooty or a weazened old-timer when he called upon. I hope he continues narrating the series.
For full review: wp.me/p2XCwQ-SV
The main character is abit of a swashbuckler
The narration was good ,no complaints
I found it to be a good book but somewhat boring. It did have action and some interesting parts. I bought the second at the same time. Im hoping it picks up
Run, fight, run. Fight, run, fight. Run, fight, run (plot). See how the plot sneaks in? Just enough to kick off a new set of run, fight, run, fight. Duels and swords and guns and explosions and daring do. And shouting; lots of commands to shout by commanding types.
Lots of colorful characters, lots of costumes, lots of hats, lots of personalities, all held together by the thinest plot glue the author can be tied down to explain.
Don't miss the mandatory dirigible. Run this thru your imagination: a steam powered, hydrogen filled dirigible that flies faster than a bullet!!! Called a "pneumatic zeppelin". (Insert lewd joke here.)
The narrator, most likely employed in the cartoon industry, is skilled in many distinct and colorful voices. Unfortunately if you are listening thru headphones some of the voices are shrill enough to pierce your brain.
All in all, mostly useful for background noise.
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