Ross Kitson profile
Place of birth: Leeds, West Yorks
Now living: Ripponden, West Yorks
3 favourite authors
- A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Watchmen by Alan Moore
3 favourite books
- George RR Martin
- Philip Pullman
- Neil Gaiman
3 favourite films
- Lord of the Rings
- Pulp Fiction
- Wild at Heart
In short this is a great read that will appeal to lovers of great graphic novels and stylish steampunk stories alike. By all accounts the series is going to run to five books, and if Bryan Talbot keeps the momentum going then they’ll be a ground breaking work.
In summary, it has a clever plot, Moorcocks quirkiness, unsubtle politics and great airships. Definitely worth a read somewhere down your TBR list, especially if you enjoy alternate histories or are Steampunk curious.
White Mountain is a well-written and engaging read. Stylistically it is engaging, although there was a habit of capitalisation to convey shouting/yelling that irked me. Although fitting with the High Fantasy style of the book, I was left wanting this hidden world to feel more of a part of our own. Humans are mentioned, but never feature, and in many ways the book could have been set in a totally fresh fantasy world rather than our own. Im hoping in future books that Tallis brings in more aspects of our own world, perhaps human characters, to make the hidden one a little more magical.
So is it worth a read? Yes. Undoubtedly its a superb exercise in world-building, and there are excellent characters and touches (the Trumps, shadows, the Pattern). Admittedly it got like a soap opera in the end, but it was still fun and always interesting even if it did fizzle out somewhat.
In short, its a great read and a great addition to the expanding genre of Steampunk. Talbot has done something fresh with it, having written one of the earlier steampunk comics in Luther Arkwright. Ultra-violence touches aside, Grandville is an enjoyable story to read and Ill be hunting down the sequel soon for more badger-rich adventure.
In summary, this is a classic of the genre by an excellent writer, with major influences for the half a century since it was created. It would be a great book to shove under the noses of those who think fantasy is all Tolkien-derivatives. It was a book out of its time in many ways. Id give it 9.5/10 nearly perfect!
Ultimately this book works because it is a good story and great fun. It respects the genre in which it is set and targets its humour at a range of topics. I look forward to the third in the series, and to a soundtrack if one ever gets made.
Hoffmans writing is engaging and easy to read and the main characters well designed and interesting. The interplay between the friends is enjoyable and often funny and I really enjoyed the ideas behind the Cale character. But the book feels like a work of two halves. The tone and style of the first part, where the boys are in the Sanctuary is bleak, tense and an absolute page-turner. It felt like a George RR Martin or Scott Lynch dark fantasy. But then when they leave the Sanctuary it starts getting a bit, well, silly. Cales character begins to feel inconsistent - at one stage hes this rock-hard warrior, at another hes a love-sick puppy and another hes freaking out in a fight. Its all explicable but it conveys a sense of patchiness.
Infernal Devices: a mad Victorian fantasy by KW Jeter. Jeter is often credited, erroneously, with kicking off the sci-fi sub-genre Steampunk. To be accurate it was Jeter who first coined the phrase, in a letter to the sci-fi magazine Locus, to describe the theme of both his and his chum Tim Powers novels. The origin of Steampunk as a genre came, obviously from Victorian sci-fi, HG Wells and the like, but really began to evolve in the late sixties and early seventies with novels by Michael Moorcock (The Nomad of the Air series) and others. Infernal Devices is, nonetheless, a key novel in the profile of the genre and, hand in hand with The Anubis Gates and The Difference Engine created the interest that stimulated the avalanche of Steampunk novels over the last decade.
I can see why the book is held with such respect. It is engaging, original, fascinating and superbly written. The first book may drag for some modern fantasy fans but all would enjoy the tribulations of Cugel. Its satirical edge would translate perfectly to the screen and who knows what the current surge in fantasy films may lead to. In short, Id recommend it to all fantasy fans its a significant work in the history of our genre and should sit there with the greats like Tolkien, Poul Anderson, Le Guin, Moorcock, Leiber and McCaffrey.