RRS Roundup: Serial Steam

This week on Read it! Review it! Share it! I’m taking us back into the world of steampunk. But this ain’t your daughter’s steamy McSteampunk. This is genuine anachronistic steampunk.

Spring-heeled Jack and the President’s Ring (The Magnetron Chronicles)

Spring-Heeled Jack on Amazon

First I have to clarify. This is a steampunk serial adventure, but it is not the The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder. This one is by D.L. Mackenzie. Part of a planned 5 novelette serial, this second installment picks up with the solving of the mysterious death of Dr. Hogalum by Phineas Magnetron and the rest of the Hogalum Society (Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with the emphasis on gentlemen).

Truly anachronistic, witty and fun these stories embrace a vocabulary-stretching voice that reflects the Victorian era while sneaking in a bit of the post-modern sense of humor. With a Sherlock Holmes sort of intellect Magnetron endeavors to unwrap the mystery of his deceased mentor all the while coming up against Compost, his arch-enemy.

The supporting cast of gentleman are noteworthy as well. Despite the number of characters, Mackenzie manages to keep them set apart with unique names and backgrounds. There is not a tremendous amount of character development to slow down the story, but each of the gentlemen stands in a position to be called upon to carry a storyline when needed. (A nifty feat for a serial).

While there is a smaller story arc that comes to resolution within this serial, it feels like a minor note in the overall arc. This frustrated me somewhat, but I suppose that is the point of a serial. (Think TV mini-series in print.) At around 100 pages I recommend you Read it! Review it! Share it!

RRS Roundup: Diesel & Steam Vs. Magic

This week on Read it! Review it! Share it! it’s a rumble for the West. Who will win? The forces of industrialization or nature? First off…

Eve of Destruction (The Chronicles of Eve)

Eve of Destruction coverIn this version of the wild west it is the Industrialists versus the Magi. The Magi are losing. Eve is a young Magi in training. But in response to personal tragedy she grits her teeth and pulls herself up by the bootstraps the magi way… magical fireballs of destruction.

Along the way Eve has her childhood friend, Zach, to stabilize her during her periods of wavering doubt. The result is a sweet and believable sort of relationship. Eve of Destruction goes a bit further with its world building than many of the books in its growing genre of the magical, wild west. (Including some nice lingual touches like, “What in the void…”)

While the book might feel a little preachy to some (Goddess good, industry bad), I felt it fit within the developement of the plot and characters and made for a fun escape from our crusty reality. Read it! Review it! Share it!

The Native Star

Native Star coverI always enjoy a novel that starts with the bad guy. I take it as a good sign that evil will be taken seriously. In the case of Native Star, this is exactly what you get. Albeit brief, the prologue introduces you to a post Civil War America rife with spells and warlocks. And the bad guys are sufficiently bad.

Next the story introduces you to Emilly Edwards, a loyal and hardworking woman of the Sierra Nevadas who accidentally takes up magic. While looking for a man to provide for her aging adopted father, she finds much more than she bargained for… and the rest sort of writes itself! More about the magical society than the alternate history, the backdrop of the Native Star is fantastical and complex. Magic wins in this one, hands down. Read it! Review it! Share it! (*the ebook stands at $8! Sort of a tweener. Not cheap, but not too bad. If you like the free sample, dig in.)