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Hopebreaker: A Steampunk Dystopian Fantasy (The Great Iron War, Book 1) -- Dean F. Wilson -- Submitted for consideration on August 1st, 2016

The author resides in: Ireland

REVIEWED on August 21st, 2016

Our editor said:

I was fascinated by the prospect of reading this book from the moment I saw the author’s self-drawn interview, on the Product Description page. I’d never seen steampunk described so well before, and, frankly, never been attracted to it until that moment. That’s a very good author, then, one who can sell you something you never knew you wanted to read.


Add to the mix the ingredient of dystopia, and you’ve got me where you want me. The cover promised hooks, too, and the amassed reviews made me think: what does he need ours for?


The read was an engrossing rollercoaster through a complexity of scene-setting and action that, at times, had me flicking back to see what I’d missed. That’s no criticism; there was so much going on, my brain was lagging at least a page behind. Wilson, I note, is a technology journalist so his head for retention of the esoteric and detailed, and his ability to draw and scope other-worldly and technological insights, is likely to surpass many of us.

Action scenes left me gasping—sometimes for more, sometimes for a blessed reprieve to draw breath!—and dialogue was clever and cutting. Wilson knows just where to stop, to create the best impact with fewest words. Landscapes, especially of the desert, are evocative and real, as are the paintings of landships, cities and—no less, the 'landscape' of interwoven relationships.

As a series first, this is a great way to bring readers in, and this book will appeal to males and females alike; it has plenty of the human element and equal measure of dystopia and sci-fi.

What do we like less? At times, Jacob seemed a little inconsistent in some of his thoughts and actions, and we felt a slight disconnect between the outset and the close of the novel as if some ends were left just slightly loose. But let’s face it; in a book this impactful and weighty, with so many complex wefts, there are bound to be some; this was an opportunity for Wilson to tighten up these ends in the second book. Looking at the reviews of the later books, he probably did.

If you enjoy a novel with a clever interplay of fantasy and realism, with action, quandary and emotion, this will hook you and I am sure you will be unable to put it down. Those who already know and understand steampunk will be doubly enthralled. It is a feat of achievement from a still young writer, and I was agog to see he’s now published two more works in the Great Iron War series.

Our scores:

Visual appeal: 4/5

Storyline (Content): 4.5/5

Dialogue: 4/5

Editing and proofreading: 4/5

 

Final Score : 16.5 / 20


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