Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett








Have your ever read a book that throws in everything including the kitchen sink? This novel does that and man does it work! Barnett’s !9th century tale introduces us to the world of Gideon Smith. Gideon’s life revolves around the ebb and flow of the fishing town Sandsend. In the village many families like the Smith’s struggle to make a living from daily  fishing runs from their Airships. Though born into the life, a fisherman is not what Gideon aspires to. He wants a life of adventure like he reads in the penny dreadfuls. He wants a life like his hero Captain Lucian Trigger.

Gideon’s dreams come true in the most frightening of ways. His Father and his crew mysteriously vanish from their ship and they aren't the first. Gideon also hears strange sounds from the caves beneath the town and more people go missing.

Wondering what to do Gideon meets author Bram Stoker and the two form a brief Holmes & Watson type relationship before Gideon decides only Lucian can help and sets off to London. Barely into his journey Godden finds shelter in a rumble down home with an unseemly caretaker. It is here Gideon meets Maria, a mechanical automaton who sparks a desire in him to release her from her servitude. The pair continue to England, towards their destiny and the answers to Maria’s origins and the fate of Gideon’s Father.

There is a lot going on in this book. What makes it work is the deft way that Barnett handles the reader. From the prologue, to the divided narrative between Bram and Gideon, the reader sees the pieces of the puzzle come together as our intrepid band reunites in London and travels to Egypt to find the source of all the mysterious occurrences.

Really loved this! A wonderful blend of adventure, steampunk, history and horror! I really hope to see more stories set in this world.


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