Release Date ~ November 6, 2012
Pyr ~ Prometheus Books
Review copy received from publisher for review
An alternate 1895... a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.
It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.
But all is not well...
A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.
When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.
The Lazarus Machine is being hailed as “Doctor Who” meets “Sherlock” – and being the newfound BBC addict I am, I JUMPED at reading this one. I had these ideas that it would be full of a steampunk setting, with some historical fiction feel to it, little bit of sci fi, and just enough mystery to leave me guessing. Doesn’t that sound awesome?!
And while I began reading it and found it a bit slow at first, by the latter half of the book I knew I’d found another winner. The Lazarus Machine completely delivered, notwithstanding its slow start and introduction to Paul Crilley’s new world.
- A fascinating, alternate steampunk world:
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a newbie to steampunk – and I’m sure some of you are too. So I feel like every time I read anything remotely a la steampunk it feels fresh and exciting to me. Maybe this is all fairly common among steampunk books, but I loved how central and influential Charles Babbage and ESPECIALLY Ada Lovelace were to this 1895 England. Plus, automatons with human souls? That’s just disturbing and creepy enough to be EXCITING. AND! There’s a secret government agency called The Ministry working for the Crown. I’m totally game for conspiracy theories.
- Sebastian Tweed as a misfit:
First of all, bonus points for a great male hero. I think Sebastian is the type of character that a number of male (and female) readers will be able to relate to, and he takes so much after Sherlock Holmes. Brilliant, a little bit awkward at times, and kind of obnoxious... but in this devastatingly clever way that makes him endearing at the same time.
- Solid opposite-gender relationships:
I need to comment on how much I loved the relationship between Sebastian and Octavia. It takes them a little while to warm up to each other, and I feel a little bit of romantic tension going on there, but they treat each other like equals. Deep down, there seems to be so much respect for each other and I loved that. And that’s extended to other couples in the book as well, even though none of them are flawless. But I love how respectful Sebastian is towards Octavia, and that he doesn’t for a minute see her as inferior. I think the inclusion of Ada Lovelace in society really helps with this idea.
- Spunky Octavia Nightingale:
I love to read books with characters like Octavia. She’s so brave and quirky and INTELLIGENT. She’s witty and exactly the kind of woman I like to imagine myself being. She’s equally attractive as a character to both male and female readers, just like Sebastian. And although she isn’t the main protagonist, she’s an extremely significant part of the story all on her own.
The mystery wasn’t nearly as predictable as it seemed at first glance, either. It is so much fun and such a pleasure to read, and one that I flipped through very quickly. I wish it had had a bit of a stronger start to really immerse me in the story, but it really is more of a slow burn for the first few chapters. Just stick with it! Trust me, it gets there.
And if anything I wished by the end that it had been a bit longer to devote a little bit more time to the world building. What’s there is great, and very enticing, yet I wished there had been more because I think it’s one of the strongest features of the book.