gaslamp

Frustrating Mysteries in The Deathsniffer’s Assistant

deathsniffer's assistant

The Deathshniffer’s Assistant by Kate McIntyre
Curiosity Quills Press: July 13th, 2015

The view at the beach was nice, but the food was bad (2.5/5)
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Advance copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Christopher Buckley is a young man trying to keep his family together and protect his younger sister in the face of bankruptcy, tragedy, and unemployment. He grew up privileged – but all that has changed. His money is running out, and he can no longer support himself and his orphaned sister. Their parents died in a tragic and highly publicized accident, and he has been struggling to survive since.

As a categorized wordweaver – one who can write words as quickly as they are said, or even thought – he is qualified for secretarial positions only. In Tarland, where he lives, categorization is an implied sinister process whereby people are labeled according to their magical abilities, forcing them into certain careers and stations in life. Labels equal rankings as well, so if a person does not have much magical ability, they are relegated to the meanest, lowliest jobs and positions in society. Since he does not have the luxury of being choosy, he ends up interviewing for an assistant’s position with the local deathsniffer – a categorized truthsniffer who investigates murders.

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“Mirror and Goliath” – Singular and Extraordinary but Disorganized

mirrorgoliathMirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee
Angry Robot: June 2nd, 2015 (Gaslamp / Steampunk)*

Beach Vacation
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This book is aptly titled. It borrows from the gaslamp fantasy’s Victorian setting, which borrows from the Victorians’ fascination with the dead, ghosts, seances, and Ouija boards. And yet, it is unlike any gaslamp I have read.

It begins with the heroine at the age of six. Mirror is traveling with Goliath around England in search of soothsayers, magicians, mediums, and other people who profess to have connections to the Otherworld. Mirror has a problem that they hope these people can solve. The context for their predicament is not shared until nearly halfway through the book, where it takes on a tinge of horror. (more…)

Ironskin: Jane Eyre Meets Deadly Fairies

ironskinIronskin by Tina Connolly
Tor Books, October 2nd, 2012 (Fantasy / Gaslamp)

My rating: Beach Vacation (3/5)

Ironskin is the first in a fantasy gaslamp trilogy that merges a Jane Eyre retelling with deadly fairies. Only they’re not really fairies… if you’re familiar with a wide range of “fairy” tales, they’re more “fey” than “fairy” – Less Neverland, more … otherworldly beings, pissed off at the humans who have taken over the world. Manipulative and dangerous, they certainly aren’t cute little fairies with wings.  (more…)

Which (sub)Genre are you reading, anyway?

Here at The Book Adventures, we’re librarians. This means we like categorizing things. Organizing them, and packing them away in neat labeled boxes for easy and swift retrieval later. Today, I’m going to apply that to sub-genres. Because sometimes they can be confusing (or at least I find them so).

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably read at least one steampunk novel in your life. Have you? Raise your hands… ah, yes, I see a few hands. To get back to the point, you probably have a pretty good idea of what makes a steampunk novel a steampunk novel. Right? So you could describe the main characteristics:

  • airships
  • unusual clockwork machines
  • alternate technology that relies on steam, or clockwork, to function
  • Victorian-esque England

(What would your main characteristics list have in it?)

Have you ever heard of “gaslamp” fantasy? If so, have you read a gaslamp novel?

I’m not sure, either. So today, I attempt to clarify the distinctions between steampunk and gaslamp fantasy. By the way, I won’t get into plot development or relationship-building or character development, because those vary from story to story, and the scope of this post is really much smaller than that. The focus here is world-building. In this case, that means the era, culture, dress, technology, transportation, etc.

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Summer Vacation Itinerary: Nine Adventures

I always wish I had more time to read in the summer, but there are so many other attractions! When I get the chance, though, I’ll be reading these:

Strange Chemistry, a YA imprint of Angry Robot Books, has been discontinued. Which is why I finally purchased actual, new, books: The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke, published by Strange Chemistry. I’ve heard great reviews from Jaclyn and others, so obviously I have to try it. And it wasn’t too hard to rationalize the purchase.

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse #1)

The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse #2)

I’ve been thinking about Madeleine E. Robin‘s Sarah Tolerance series for ages, and as I haven’t read the third one, The Sleeping Partner, and I can’t find the first two at the library (another sad lack in libraryland), these are next on my to-buy-list. Sarah Tolerance is a swashbuckling, pants-wearing, crime-solving woman in a slightly altered 19th century. Think Sebastian St. Cyr, but female. With a little fantasy, a little mystery, and some serious fighting, this will make corn fields breeze by on your road trip.

The Sleeping Partner (Sarah Tolerance #3)

Alias Hook, by Lisa Jensen. Peter Pan, from Hook’s perspective. Enough said? Hook is not an evil villain, but a misguided, un-self-reflective, childish adult, who has some growing up to do. I’m reading this one now, and it’s the ultimate summer reading, with the top, adventure-story layer and the deeper, growing-up layer readers can choose to digest.

Alias Hook (more…)