The Falling Machine by Andrew P Mayer
In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime… But twenty-year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a hero. Her opportunity arrives in tragedy when the leader of the Society of Paragons, New York’s greatest team of gentlemen adventurers, is murdered right before her eyes. To uncover the truth behind the assassination, Sarah joins forces with the amazing mechanical man known as The Automaton. Together they unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the Paragons that reveals the world of heroes and high-society is built on a crumbling foundation of greed and lies. When Sarah comes face to face with the megalomaniacal villain behind the murder, she must discover if she has the courage to sacrifice her life of privilege and save her clockwork friend.
The Falling Machine is the debut book written by Andrew P. Mayer and the first book in the Society of Steam series. I have always found steampunk a very interesting genre and when I found out that The Falling Machine combines two of my favourite elements; steampunk AND superheroes, I just had to read this book.
The Falling Machine takes place in a Victorian-era New York. The rules in The Falling Machine are pretty strict regarding women - they should only be accessories to men and are hardly allowed to do the other cool stuff like fighting villains, to stop their diabolical plans. In the story you meet up with the main protagonist, Sarah Stanton, who is the daughter of a wealthy businessmen Alexander Stanton. Alexander Stanton is also a member of the crime fighting superhero team “The Paragons” and goes by the name “The Industrialist”. From the start you see a pretty strong and determined Sarah who wants to break out of New Yorks society rules and just wants to do the things she wants to do not what is forced on her. In the first chapter this was already quite noticeable in her reaction towards Dr. Dennis Darby, the professor and tech behind the nifty gadgets that the Paragons have. But her world changes as Dennis Darby is murdered.
With the death of Dennis the Paragons are now without a leader. In the advent of the death of Dennis a lot of interesting events occur. Now even the Paragons have trouble with keeping their team together.
The Paragon team exists of a few superheroes, some of them are: The Industrialist, The Submersible and The Turbine. Each of them have their own special gadgets. Yes, it is not the run of the mills "I got my super powers through a spiders bite" or getting hit by a substance. The Paragons are more or less self-made and self proclaimed heroes, playing directly into the building/industry that I get when thinking of steampunk. I really liked how the focus was on the story of the superheroes. They were shown in a interesting way, where they are not all glorious, but have their flaws as well. They were shown in some stereotypical manners, being big about their own powers and all. Another great thing about the superheroes is how they got their powers. In this part the steampunk element is evident and Andrew P. Mayer goes deep into the mechanical part of steampunk in The Falling Machine that was directly to my liking. Going as far as showing an telling a very vivid, rich and creative descriptions that you see the steam coming out of the back of the book! Very cool and neat. The description fall to its right in the gadgets of the Paragons but more in Tom, the Automaton. The last creation of Dennis Darby.
Tom is a pretty cool robot who is positioned between different members of the Paragons, but his characters fall just spot on how I like robots. He is able to think for himself and this is also what the Paragons fear. But on top of it he is able to self modify and self-repair, pretty neat, and in the end proves to be a great asset for the Paragons.
The plot moved along at a steady pace and Andrew P. Mayer took the time to tell The Falling Machine in his own way with enough description of the buildings, the backgrounds of the characters, and the whole technology. Even though it was a lot of information given, it did not at all feel like an information dump but for me the creativeness behind The Falling Machine really got me interested.
There are no superheroes needed when there are no nefarious villains… This brings me to the villain part. On some level I really wanted to see a face-off between the Paragons and the Children of Eschaton (the bad guys). In the ending of the book I saw a nice battle between Tom and Lord Eschaton which was again really cool, showing a great emphasis on the steampunk part. The Children of Eschaton have a similar air about them as the Paragons in terms of being stereotypical, and think of their names as Lord Eschaton, The Bomb Lance and Doc Dynamite. It was also good to see that the intentions of the Children of Eschaton were revealed and that they made a something different. Where the powers of The Paragons come from fortified steam that of the Children of Eschaton comes from something different more darker… and has its own consequences…
The ending of The Falling Machine left me on a cliff-hanger moment, and I am dying to find out what will happen in the coming books. I am very pleased with how Andrew P. Mayer combined the already popular steampunk theme with superheroes. Though some of the aspect seem basic of the Paragons and Tom, they were not boring at all but everything was connected and worked a certain magic in the setting that Andrew P. Mayer wanted to create. There was a emphasis on the technology of the steampunk genre showing how everything was put together. Another great aspect of the book was, with this being a starters of a trilogy, there was a good balance between moving the story along and creating a very rich and interesting world.
This The Falling Machine book review was written by Jasper de Joode
All reviews for: Society of Steam
The Falling Machine
Society of Steam: Book 1
In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime… But twenty-year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a h...
Have you read The Falling Machine?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Falling Machine reader reviews
8.8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Mortal Engines Quartet
Long before the days of Mortal Engines, London is poised on the brink of apocalypse. Huge armoured fortresses are advancing across the wastelands - a new and terrifying kin...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius
Kevin J Anderson
The young Verne and his best friend Andre Nemo stow away on a ship bound for the high seas, but Jules' father catches Jules and forces him to come home in total disgrac...
In Dark Service
Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He's living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter ... on those occasions...
Art and his family are invited on a fantastic free holiday to the exotic Asteroid Belt, in a remote part of space near Mars. Taking the train, they arrive to discover that ...
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian. These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s Englan...
Grandville Mon Amour
The beefy badger DI Archie LeBrock is languishing in self-pity, driven to drink (as every good copper should be) by the guilt of Sarah’s murder. When his partner, Rod...
The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide
Bringing together an action-filled story full of automatons, airships and a dastardly plot to take over the world and instructions on how to make your own gadgets, The Stea...
A Tale of Langdon St. Ives
James P Blaylock
It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives – brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer – is at home in Aylesford with his family. However, a f...
The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that...
A Wild West Tale
The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advanc...
Tales of the Ketty Jay
Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the ...
As the serialisation beings we meet 12-year-old schoolboy Alex who, just before Christmas, receives an old toy robot from his globe-trotting grandfather. It doesn't see...
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
With Phoenix Rising, Phillipa Ballantine and Tee Morris have created a great addition to the growing steampunk genre and have given a new take on fighting crime. For me, th...
It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Journey to the Black City
On an Earth that is very much like our own, the civilizations of ancient man have been crushed; the giant glaciers that cover the northern part of the globe continue, even now...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, a...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...