Teen Review: Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish (Cuttlefish #1) by Dave Freer
Release Date ~ July 1, 2012
Pyr ~ Prometheus Books
ISBN-13: 9781616146252
Review copy recieved from Pyr Books for review
Goodreads Synopsis
The smallest thing can change the path of history.
The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery and capture. Under flooded London’s canals they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty - the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no further than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.

At first, this book didn't really stand out in my mind. So I read it, not really knowing what to expect.  Little did I know that this book was a fantastic mix of historical, adventure, and steampunk fiction. This is one of those books that I am SO glad I took a chance on, because I ended up loving it and discovering a new book I would have missed out on otherwise.

  1. An incredibly well thought out universe:

    I didn't realize just how much thought was put into the world that this novel takes place in until I finished the novel, only to find pages and pages of explanations for everything.  There's a whole synopsis of the history in this alternate world, and an explanation for why things are the way they are.  I was really glad that those were put there, because it did clear everything up for me.  I really liked that after reading about the alternate world, I could see that things could very well have possibly turned out that way.  Things made a lot of sense logically, which I appreciate.  After reading these, I could really see just how much effort was put into this really cool alternate universe.
  2. The really intriguing story:

     Although the book does start off a bit slow, once I hit about page 60, I found the story became really, really interesting.  Really exciting, and sometimes kind of scary things start happening.  The characters begin to find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations.  After point, I didn't want to put the book down; I just wanted to keep turning pages.  I find the whole story in general to be really unique and interesting.  I enjoyed seeing different events, and the way that the story played out in this different world.  The story is a lot more than just  historical fiction, which is what the synopsis makes it out to be.  It has some amazing adventure and steampunk elements that make the book that much more enjoyable.
  3. Characters that I could actually relate to:

    Nothing bothers me more than characters being completely unrealistic.  I don't enjoy reading about characters that have no flaws or weaknesses.  The thing that I really liked about Cuttlefish was its wide array of characters. Now, the sheer number of characters did make it a tad confusing at times, but by the end of the novel I began to know more and more of them.  The two main characters, Tim and Clara, I found to be really excellent characters.  They are both really strong, and come from tough backgrounds.  They are both courageous and manage to accomplish a lot.  The thing that I really liked about them though, is that they are not fearless.  Multiple times throughout the book, both Tim and Clara become terrified in a certain situation.  What made me admire them, was the fact that despite their fear, they did what they were supposed to do, which I find top be much more admirable than somebody with no fear accomplishing the same thing.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters showcased in this book.
  4. A great little romance subplot:

      I really liked that the romance in this book was not the main focus, it was really more of a subplot.  I mean, the amount of romance that is actually in the book is so small that it isn't even mentioned in the synopsis.  There's enough though, to satisfy anyone who does enjoy a bit of romance in books(like me).  The romance goes by kind of slow, which I don't think is a bad thing.  It starts off with friendsip, and slowly but surely goes into something more.  Also, I liked that it wasn't a super dramatic romance.  It was just a simple little love story. 
I did really, really like this book.  The only flaws that I found in it were that I found the large number of characters very hard to keep up with, and it was a bit slow at the beginning.  Both of those flaws didn't seem to matter too much by the end of the book though, so they are really very minor.  This is a really great book, and once I got through the slow part, it took me no time at all to finish it.

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