It’s been a productive week chez Tara, as reading is infinitely easier to do outdoors than any computer-based work. A recent conquest was Rise of the Iron Moon by Stephen Hunt.
I’ll admit, I grabbed this one because I liked the cover. There were three books by Hunt at the library, but this was the only paperback, so of course expediency won. Since becoming a “grown up” I have wholeheartedly embraced the library paperback rental, although I’m always left with a lingering thrill when I stock up on softcovers. When I was a kid my mom didn’t really allow me to check out paperbacks. She claimed it was because they were easier to damage, and she would end up having to pay for my library usage when I accidentally bent a page or (horrors) a cover. Really though, it was because the sheer volume I was able to consume, combined with my natural inclination towards clutter, meant that there would always be stragglers that missed drop-off day, meaning an extra trip and fees (largest fine ever? $230.). As a big girl, I now stride through the library, stripping shelves of paperbacks with the efficiency of an Old Testament locust… and paying the inevitable fines, when I invariably miss a due date or three.
Rise is a decent fantasy with a solid helping of steampunk attitude. The book is a sequel, which I normally would have skipped, however the first five pages were really good. Orphan in a Dickensian-inspired universe where a London-esque city is facing grave peril? Count me in. Unfortunately, there are two protagonists and the second, while likeable, definitely requires knowledge of a previous story to fully appreciate. The characterisation was otherwise good, with a speedy plot and a well-described world that avoids the info dump problem and left me wanting to spend more time in it. The iron men were a bit Ozma of Oz for me, but otherwise it was a book that worked in airships, time travel, some fun fantasy cliches, moon men and more. Definitely a winner.