Tuesday 11 June 2013

The bookman trilogy - the bookman, camera obscura & the great game By Lavie Tidhar


I read these one after the other and will therefore review as one, looks like they’ve been brought out as all 3 in one book now too. It’s an uneven series that starts with a fun first book, improves in the second book but the third is a little lacklustre. Though on the whole a very enjoyable series. In an alternative history, one where Amerigo Vespucci (whose name gave rise to Vespuccia in the alt.reality of the book) finds an island of humanoid lizards who he brings back from Caliban’s island who take over the British monarchy and forge the British Empire. Throw into the mix many many nods to Victorian (and earlier) fiction with characters drawn from diverse sources – Stoker, Kipling, Conan Doyle etc. with a variety of mechanical beings from various sources. An assassin that kills people with books and more than a whiff of steampunk. It’s eclectic which sometimes works in its favour and sometimes works against the story. Set mainly in the alternative Victorian London, a Paris where there has been a Quiet Revolution and Vespuccia where the native Americans still “rule” the adventurous story just zips along. The main character in the first book is a bit of a cipher and a little too passive for my tastes and the third book follows a few characters some of whom work well, others not so well but the stand out book is the second mainly because of the great main character.

Overall – Adventurous steampunk tales, a lot of fun

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