The Longest Shard — Kathleen McClure

If you like really good steampunk with really good characters navigating a really good world then The Fortune Chronicles by Kathleen McClure will be right up your alley.

Every one of the Fortune books i’ve read so far has left me really glad i bought it and always leaves me eagerly awaiting more.   Kathleen is one of those writers who, once she’s got you started in a book, just ain’t gonna let you go until the last page.   It’s just non-stop, gritty, character driven stuff with great world building that will keep you up late reading when you should be getting some sleep.

The Longest Shard is a really well written, fast paced novella giving us more of Gideon Quinn’s back story before the main books.

Seriously folks, if you like steampunk give Kathleen, Fortune and Gideon Quinn a chance, you won’t regret it.

Kathleen’s Page

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The Clockwork Alice — DeAnna Knippling

I really enjoyed All the Retros at the New Cotton Club, so i was really happy to discover that Deanna’s also wrote some “Alice and Wonderland” stuff.

Instead of the fun clockwork story about Alice and all things Wonderland that i was expecting, i found a story heavily biased towards the real life of Alice Liddell and her relationship with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll): this story is set several years after Charles’ death.

I’m not going to get into my views about Dodgson here, this is about DeAnna’s views, and she does a fairly good job of brushing over things (sweeping them under the carpet) and tidy things up in making a story out of Alice’s and Charles’ final years.   Although, to be honest, i think that DeAnna just makes things worse: i’m left with the opinion that this story could be a nice little dose of Streisand effect for a lot of its readers.

And for those of you feeling the effects of Streisand, you can begin at Wikipedia.

All that aside, it’s a fairly good read, and a must for all Alice and Wonderland fans: just expect it to be more about Alice reminiscing, through thoughts and dreams of Wonderland, than a pure Wonderland adventure.   Sadly, there’s a few typos that detract on occasion, and that are so obvious they should have been easily fixed before publishing.

Final words, other than those few annoying typos, DeAnna’s a very good writer.   The Queen of Stilled Hearts is in “The Pile” and i’m looking forward to giving that a read soon.

DeAnna’s Page

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Sidequests — Joseph R. Lallo

Sidequests, written by Joseph R Lallo.A delightful collection of short stories that Joseph was nice enough to give away to all those of us who receive his newsletter:   so sign up now!!!

Squee’s Day Out (Big Sigma)
Building the Perfect Pet (Big Sigma)
Meeting of the Mas (Big Sigma)
The New Inspector (Free-Wrench)
Lil and Coop (Free-Wrench)
The Beast of the Cave (Book of Deacon)

Joseph’s Page

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Island of Doom — Arthur Slade

And so this quite entertaining series comes to an end.   It was fun, kept on moving along at a good pace, well written and edited.

The only downside was the ending went a bit down hill.   Like Hyde has created and unleashed the fraken-creatures-from-hell-that-can’t-be-stopped-because-they’re-already-dead and then …

… well i won’t spoil it.   But it was rather silly to say the least.

So yeah, i was expecting a much more rip-roaring ending, but it all ended well in the end so i won’t labour the point.

To sum up all four books: it’s a great adventure if you’re not looking for something to take too seriously.   If you’re feeling in the need for some far fetched silly then this might be the series for you.   I certainly enjoyed reading it as i like a bit of far-fetched silly now and again.   I’d put it on the bookshelf next to Magnificent Devices, as that’s enjoyable, far-fetched silly in much the same way.

Arthur’s Page

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Empire of Ruins — Arthur Slade

This time the Verne flavour is Five Weeks in a Balloon, but instead of flying over Africa, Modo and the crew go flying over Australia in search of a strange and ancient artefact.

Of course, to keep with the main story line of this tetralogy, and also to keep things exciting, the Clockwork Guild is back and also flying in a balloon over Australia searching for the same artefact.

And, once again, the same caveat applies, don’t apply 21st century thinking and science to anything and don’t take it too seriously and you’ll find it a rather enjoyable yarn that’ll pass the time nicely.

And so i dive straight into the fourth and final chapter: Island of Doom

Arthur’s Page

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The Dark Deeps — Arthur Slade

More of Modo and the Permanent Association with a very enjoable 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea flavour to it.

This time the Clockwork Guild have created an invisible man to liven it all up for us readers.

And a French secret agent joins in the fun.

Same caveat applies as in the first book of this series, and in Jules Verne’s books also: just don’t think too hard about the science.   Put your 21st century scientific judgement aside, simply enjoy the tale being told and let Modo and the rest take you on a journey to the bottom of the Ocean.

Well written and very enjoyable.

So now i’m going to dive straight into book 3: Empire of Ruins

Arthur’s Page

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Mission Clockwork — Arthur Slade

Having previously read the first 2 books in the series many years ago — before the 3rd and 4th hadn’t been written — i looked forward to coming back and re-reading this when i finally collected all four books: it was as enjoyable as i remembered it.

It’s the kind of steampunk that isn’t going to explain the workings of everything to you.   The best way to approach this series is to just leave your curiosity on the shelf as to how everything actually works, not question the science behind it all, and simply allow yourself to be taken along for the ride.

And it’s a good ride that never lets up from beginning to end with some great characters that draw you into their story.   Arthur gives us some well-likeable, root-able goodies while conjuring up some despicable, evil-doing baddies to balance everything nicely, and even throws some double crossing in to make things fun — just coz.

Just some good old, well written, steampunk fun.

And i’m looking forward to devouring book 2 as i dive straight into that without a rest.   It really is quite unputdownable.

Arthur’s Page

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