The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An alternate 1895... a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.
It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.
But all is not well...
A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.
When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.
Well this was a fun read, not exactly a light read, but definitely a fun read indeed.
I've never read any of Mr. Crilley's books before, but the world that he created in The Lazarus Machine is very rich, and if you're looking for a steampunk book that definitely shows the steampunkness (not a word I know) then this book is good bet. You can see the use of these unique machines in everyday life. There are also some models which have a certain "feature" which ties up into the story.
The plot was tight, and I think well paced. There weren't any parts where it seemed to drag. I don't really want to say much else, in the event that I reveal something that ought not to be. I must say I really do like this web that Mr. Crilley has spun.
The characters were fun, they had their own quirks. There was Barnaby, the father that had a taste for flair, logical and rational Sebastian Tweed but still naive in some ways, Octavia Nightingale who really I think was a quite strong character, in terms of how she kept her hope for so long, Carter and Jenny, such a lively couple XD, and then there was Stepp the programming genius. The banter throughout was witty and fun. I'm not sure whose I like more, Carter and Jenny or Octavia and Tweed.
That said there was something that, although this book scored high on the major points, was missing. I didn't quite feel myself, really pulled in until midway. (Although, the banter did draw a chuckle out of me a couple of times), but after that things seemed to have drawn me in, so in my mind this added up to the higher end of the 3 star rating, hence the round up.
The book end is pretty satisfying. It should be noted however, that there are still some more things left to be resolved, though it is nothing major to warrant a cliffhanger.