The Philosopher’s War (by Tom Miller)

Science Fiction / Steam Punk
The Philosopher’s Flight was brilliant. One of the most interesting and original novels I’ve read in a good long while. It followed Robert Weekes as he enters Radcliffe College with the goal of being the first male to ever join the R&E Service as a flying medic rescuing wounded soldiers in France. The Philosopher’s Flight ended with him graduating and being accepted into R&E.

The Philosopher’s War begins with him landing in France and joining the 5th Division, a motley group of misfits and malcontents, overworked and undermanned. As he starts rescuing soldiers from the front lines his comrades slowly warm to him and finally accept him. But he is much more than just an R&E flyer. He’s the lynch pin in an audacious plan to force Germany to surrender. A plan which if it fails could see him executed for treason.

That’s if he even survives.

The Philosophers War is so different to book one that it wasn’t easy to get into. Pretty much everything from The Philosopher’s Flight was tossed into the fire and I had to start again. Robert even lost his name, going from Weekes to Candarelli.

But honestly this book is brilliant. It’s just so imaginative and original that you can’t help but love it.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy.

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat (by Nikki McCormack)

Steam Punk / Young Adult

When Maeko finds a clockwork cat while running from Literati Officers she finds herself caught in the middle of political machinations between the ruling elite and the pirates who oppose them. When the wife and child of a famous inventor are murdered, the blame immediately falls on the pirates but with detectives, assassins, businessmen, literati and pirates all pushing their own agenda it’s hard knowing who is on her side and who will be the death of her.

She enlists the help of her partner in crime, Chaff, and the son of a pirate, Ash as she tries to find the murderer and save the day.

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat really is proper steam-punk. It’s complex and gritty and highly entertaining. I can’t really fault this book in any way.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pmYellow, Orange, Red –– what it means:

Mr Strangeway (by Karina Cooper)

Steam Punk Novella

After the death of her parents Cherry St. Croix found herself for a time working as a pick pocket.  While on the street she became addicted to Laudanum, a tincture of opium and alcohol. After being plucked from the street by the executor of her father’s will she finds herself living in a beautiful home where her every need is provided except for her laudanum.  Wanting to get more of her drug of choice than the pitiful drizzle she is allowed she decides to become a bounty hunter.

It’s difficult to know what to say about this book. It’s a novella on the shorter end of novellas and it’s very much the warm up act for book three in the St. Croix Chronicles which is due out on September 23rd.  If this were a free gift for the diehard fans I think it would have worked. As it is, I’m not a diehard fan, I haven’t read the first two books in the series and I paid good money for this.  There isn’t much story or character development…to be honest the heroine of the story Cherry doesn’t do all that much.  For me it was a waste of time but I think people who have been reading the series will enjoy it, I don’t know if they’ll enjoy paying for it, only time will tell.