Synopsis: Hot pulp fiction: a steampunk Frankenstein is a weapon of death in an alternate 19th-century England
On an Earth that is not our own, Victoria never ascended the throne; the House of Hanover held England only briefly before being supplanted by the House of Harminster. It is a time of gaslamps and regularly scheduled airship flights, of trams and steam-driven clockwork with countless smoke-belching stacks. London, the capitol of the Empire of the Lion, is a filthy, crowded, fast-growing city where a series of shocking murders threatens the throne itself.
Energetic young inventor Jack Straker believes he has created a weapon to defend the Crown: a reanimated, clockwork-enhanced corpse he can control. He introduces “the Iron Assassin” to the highly placed Lords who will decide if Straker’s invention becomes a weapon of the Lion—or something to be destroyed.
It quickly becomes apparent that the Iron Assassin is more self-willed than Straker intended, and that the zombie’s past life is far more sinister than Straker thought. Has he created a runaway monster? Or the best guardian the Lion could ever hope for?
Review: I fell totally in love with the cover when I saw it and I admit that the summary also helped a lot. I was also curious to see what the author would present us for this first volume. Have I said that I love everything related to the steampunk genre? So how not to be intrigued by this new novel?
The idea of the book is really interesting, we have an alternative London where the crown is threatened by creatures that no one really manages to defeat. Jack Stracker therefore creates a weapon that he thinks necessary from a dead corpse and shows him to everyone. But this creation is not so simple, especially when he has his own desires and does not submit to every decision made for him. We therefore follow particularly these two characters and their history but also some others evolving in parallel with their lives. It was quite interesting I confess to see how everything would be developped but I admit that I was confused a lot of time on the story level. We pass quickly from a character to another and from one event to another without really going into the details. Besides, I’m not convinced that I have understood everything perfectly in the end, the novel was interesting and I still had a good time with the whole.
Another detail is noted making this volume beautiful and this is related to the pages of the book. Indeed, we do not have blank pages as we’re used to but beautiful gray pages that give us immediately want to immerse ourselves in the novel and to discover what is happening.
To conclude, it was an interesting novel although I think that I needed more to understand what was happening.