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Publisher's Summary

Adventure in New Pittsburgh....

New Pittsburgh, 1898 - a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood, and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress, while in the abandoned tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging only to feed. 

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake's cousin, Veronique Le Clerque. But when their latest commission leads to Jake's father's murder, the three friends are drawn into a conspiracy where dark magic, industrial sabotage, and the monsters that prey on the night will ultimately threaten not just New Pittsburgh, but the whole world.

©2015 Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin (P)2018 Recorded Books

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Steampunk lite, very lite

I wanted this to be better than it was since I'm trying to find a good steampunk series. The narration was okay, with my only two criticisms being that his volume modulated too much, making it difficult to hear when driving, and that he read it like a Harlequin romance, with each sentence, regardless of context, filled with a lilting trailing off into longing. Aside from that, he got the accents pretty well, although his Polish and Scottish accents got confused sometimes, and you could tell who was talking by the accent or cadence used.

The story was too formulaic for me, and the characters were all stock constructions with no complexity. It felt a little like a B-movie that had to tick off so much action, this number of clues, and that number of "surprises" or magic or steampunky gadget descriptions. Several of the action sequences really served no other purpose than to exist because it was time for one. The magic sequences are described almost ad nauseum, giving the impression that that must be what the author really enjoys writing about. The zombie fight scenes are also described in a kind of ridiculous detail, I guess, because there wasn't much else to do with the story.

There are too many characters and although this is billed as a Jake Desmet adventure he doesn't get much playtime and spends most of the book wringing his hands over events at the beginning of the book. I think this is supposed to show he cares and is a good person. The good people are all Dudley Do-right types and the evil people are all monologuing villains who voice their intentions, plans, and displeasure in rather long diatribes. It reminded me of the villains in Scooby-Doo who hatch grandiose plans with incompetent henchmen and then complain about the "meddling kids" who foil their schemes.

Oh well. The search continues.