Good: -- a sweeping vision of steampunk fantasy with a whole range of technologies and factions clashing amidst 'stiff upper lip' Victorian Englan..Show More »d -- characters are fun and well rounded for this kind of fiction -- does a surprisingly good job at both tying up the plot lines of this particular story and simultaneously establishing characters and plot lines for the the follow on books -- good narration
Bad -- didn't bother me much but it may bother some: this is steampunk fantasy. It's not just an alternate technological development line, it's the 1890s with things that couldn't be done today. In fact some of the tech is probably just impossible, or at least 50 years out from now, but Victorians are being it with wood and brass. If this bothers you, large chunks of this book, especially the last third, will really grate on you -- similarly, while the coverage of Victorian speech patterns and mannerisms is often a strength of the book, the speechifying in the action sequences (again in the last third) is just ridiculous. It's kind of like professional wrestling where you have to listen to a lot of nonsensical talking to set up a fight and then during the fight people will just stop to talk and showboat for awhile because it fits their character as opposed to making any sense at all. -- sometimes plot convenience just overtakes common sense even if you suspend disbelief for the steampunk aspects: at one point a character who has been stabbed through both thighs with a spear gets up and outruns healthy Somali warriors. Really? Not just stabbed in one thigh but in both thighs? Really? -- it's a common failing of action heros in the last twenty years or so, but if you add up the amount of damage the hero takes it's probably enough to kill 3-4 guys and put two more in the hospital
Overall the good stuff was things I like and the bad stuff was the kind of things I can gloss over so it was 4 stars for me but if the you have read any of these bad points and thought to yourself "it makes me nuts when they do that" this will probably be a 2 star or even a 1 star book for you.
Mark Hodder spins a brilliant yarn. He winds real historical characters into a complex evolving steampunk..Show More » tale of time and fantastic technology in a world where Victoria doesn’t survive an assassins bullet. This is the first book in a series of three and it’s a ride all the way to the finish. Nothing here is obvious and the twists kept me on the edge of my Galaxy S3 until the last paragraph. Get the series and shut yourself away for the weekend.
Clockwork Man picks up shortly after the end of Hodder’s first alternate-history, steampunk mystery and provides an if-not-better-then-equally-enjoyab..Show More »le adventure. I couldn’t wait to get to this after listening to the first book. Gerard Doyle once again does an incredible job jumping between multiple foreign accents as well as English dialects common to 1860s London. The main characters are more fleshed out here, and we get closer to some of the ancillary folks from the first book. There are very few slow moments throughout the book, and we really get a sense of how everything plays into the overall story arc of the trilogy (Unless there’s going to be a fourth book. Please tell me there’s a fourth book). There’s some horror, some philosophy, some mystery, some time travel, some mind-control, some clairvoyance, and oh yeah, zombies. Dandy, aristocratic zombies. Awesome.
In the words of our hero, Sir Richard Francis Burton, “Bismillah!” This book was...not as good as the first two. I hate to say it. It hurts me to say ..Show More »it. I loved the other books so much that I couldn’t imagine where the third could even go. I was giddy. But rather than stomp around England, we spend ~75% of the book traveling from England to the Arabian peninsula to eastern Africa to the mysterious Mountains of the Moon, and maybe 10% dealing with what happens when we actually get there. There’s plenty of action, but also a lot of repetition.
And when we finally get to the end, it just falls a little short. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe the author had a tough time wrapping up his myriad storylines into one discreet package. I was disappointed, because I wanted to love this one as much as the others. All that being said, I would still recommend the trilogy to everyone and anyone. Narrator Gerard Doyle, you are my hero.
This is by far my favorite series. You can listen to the book even if you didn't listen to the others. If you have read the others you will know what ..Show More »I mean when I say it takes place after and before the trilogy. This is classic steam punk and what steam punk is all about. I am going to get very deep here but don't let that scare you away from listening to this book. And listen you must because Gerard Doyle is fantastic. Anyway, steam punk imagines a world that went a different direction, it denies religion while embracing all religions. It shows the great things technology can bring and the great price we pay. It embraces Darwinism while it cannot deny creation. This series asks the question of fate vs free will but cannot answer it. Burton and Swinburne find themselves in alternate universes created by the choices people make, including their choices. Also there is a lot of great shout outs to historical figures. Sorry about getting so deep but I was just so moved and excited by the book. It is also a very fun adventure, steam punk, alternative reality romp. Also did i mention there was vampires which are very hot right now.Although the book was 15 hrs, it was not long enough. Every minute was filled with some kind of emotion, Happy sad thrilled. Although I am going back to listen to all four again, this story is contained in the book so you can listen to it right now.Although, you will want to listen to all because they are all fabulous.
The plot of the book is a little confusing at the start. at the start no clear time or event to demarcate each of Burton's changes realities, Once Th..Show More »e time traveling section of the book start the plot becomes stronger, the characters stronger and the pace quickens, The performance by Mr. Doyle is excellent and well paced , Even with its flaws, it is still a good read. if you are a fan of the Burton & Swinburne series., Then The Return of the Discontinued Man".s well worth your time.
I'll be perfectly honest, here. If Mr Hodder comes out with another dozen books in this series, I'll be buying them all.
His writing style i..Show More »s unlike any others I've read/heard. Which is neither a good, or negative judgement. It's just...different. While I'd be inclined to say it's refreshing, much of the prose is couched in a linguistic form used in Victorian England, so it comes off as a little stuffy and antiquated. It's the content, and situational awareness/reactions/thoughts of the characters that breathe life into the narrative of the story. I suppose what I'm saying is that while it may seem to be a bit dry on your first go into his detailed universe(s), there's an amazing story woven throughout, with characters that have actual depth.
It'd take no small amount of intelligence and creativity to write these novels, and Mr. Hodder has them in spades. A great effort, and I can't wait to see the next in this series.