Monday, 13 February 2017

Ye OldeBook Shoppe Pt5


Ye OldeBook Shoppe Pt5

Armageddon Time 

Darren Worrow
A few years ago an author suggested I join a Facebook group called the Book Review Depot. The idea being you purchased six selected books and reviewed them. Then, once complete, your own wares could gain access to the “active list,” and you’d receive sales and reviews.
It sounded like a plan and a great way to network. I met some great authors but sadly, the group fell into disrepair; perhaps due to too many people joining or some trying to mimic the idea for their own profit, or maybe it was me ruining the neighbourhood; the latter most likely.
Anyway, one book I picked was a fairly lengthy read and once done I announced its completion to the admin, only to find out I totally had the wrong book , this one was not on the list, or even known by the group; d’oh!
I tried to appeal, but them were da rulez; the admin were like mafia (not really.) Still, I shrugged; it was a darn good read! Enough to skim onto my on-going bucket list of self-published books to read before you either die or go buy a book from a big publishing house.

Of the steampunk genre, it was called “Walking,” and part one of the “Clockwork Twist,” series by Emily Thompson.  Not for the sake of interest, just purely due to time I admit I’ve not read much steampunk. I love ninth art legend Alan Moore and savoured in the eleventh Dr Who series, with its gorgeous Victorian portrayals but still, I’ve not got the googles yet.

As the genre matured it developed meandering tangents but, if you’re undecided, I’d recommend Emily Thompson’s uniquely designed fantasy world, wrapped neatly under her own banner of “clockpunk.”

It combines a geographically diverse universe of classic mutations, creatures from anthropomorphised spirit guides, vampires and some truly original creations, of which the protagonist is of no exception.

The clockwork professor “Twist” has a completely original persona and a magical power which sees him headhunted by airship pirates for a mission to fix a clockwork princess. Whisked out of his hermit life in the dark, dank streets of Victorian London he takes off unwittingly on a Gulliver style adventure.

Despite its setting and fantasy element it’s not written in an archaic style such as Verne or Dickens, rather it reads contemporary, verging on modern American TV series.

The only area it irritates is by the relentless usage of “said;” no one here seems to yell, shout, bellow or whisper. With an extensive arsenal of vocabulary at her disposal, it was overlooked by the author. A minor criticism you ride out due to the original concept of the book, its engaging fantasy, unique in popular style and reads without riddles.
Even though I feel like a window-shopper at the steampunk store, doubting I’m trendy enough to enter, I still enjoy traditional apocalyptic themes in sci-fi ; more popular than beards for 20 somethings, and if you’re looking for something completely faultless and original in this area, I cannot recommend Iron Mike enough.

It’s one I intended to get while the book review depot was still active but maybe the title put me off, as here in the UK the term “Iron Mike,” connotes the nickname of boxer Mike Tyson. You could double-check, but I’ve done it for you and can confirm this read is definitely not a biography of Mike Tyson!
It is in fact, the first book I should have picked from the review depot scheme.
Iron Mike in the States is slang for men who are tough, brave, and inspiring and now a de-facto for monuments commemorating servicemen of the United States military. Patricia Rose’s magnificent novel has a militant side, the protagonist coming of age during an alien invasion and learning the worth of human life, but it has so many other key elements which make it stand out from the rest.
At the beginning I was dubious, unsure if this was going to live up the hype. It read like many, aiming to be an adventurous movie script. Stick with it, because as the story develops it sucks you in like the alien vegetation which cultivates across the land.
The narrative is interesting, using a different character’s POV each chapter is no innovative notion but Patricia weaves it into some fascinating junctions. Yes, we have Mike and we have his love interest and the militant man struggling to keep command under pressure, but the point of view of the dog Hershey brings it something special, down written to reflect the mind of a domestic dog attempting to understand what is going on is sublime.
Where Iron Mike soars above and beyond your average story striving to be a Hollywood blockbuster is where we get to read the POV of the invading aliens too. I often argue HG Well’s longstanding War of the Worlds has a far better plotline than the popcorn-munching mush of Independence Day. Rather than having humans triumphing by Jeff Goldblum breeching the mothership and Will Smith punching aliens bare-fisted, in War of the Worlds the Martians overlooked the simple element to life on Earth; bacteria. This unpretentious twist may not appeal on a big screen but you’ve got to admit, it’s far more likely and ingenious.
Iron Mike goes one better than this, and for a book I doubted at first going one better than HG Wells leaves you putting the book down at its end and nodding a “wow.” You see, while you’re fighting the aliens alongside the heroes in traditional methods, this alien POV is building a political system within the extra-terrestrial social structure and its regulations needs a campaigner for moral justice; this is where Scientist-Farmer glides in.
It leaves us with a truly original, breath-taking finale, one where you now realise what all the fuss was about with this book and one which makes you glad you stuck with it. I cannot recommend this read enough, digest, enjoy and relish this unique story.
I did have one more book to mention here but I’ve used rambled on far too long and Mulp with have to wait until next time. For now, keep reading!

1 comment:

  1. You complain about the use of'said' in Emily Thomson's book. I go along with you on that one, but much of what you read about writing, ANYWHERE, they keep on saying 'use said' as other words distract and make the reader aware of the writer. Personally, I think that it gets rather boring with just the one word being used, apart from not actually telling you anything.