Book Review: The Pearl Savage by Tamara Rose Blodgett

The Pearl Savage by Tamara Rose BlodgettThe Pearl Savage: What it is about

What amazon.com says: “Seventeen-year old princess, Clara Williamson, lives an old-fashioned existence in a biosphere of the future. When her sadistic mother, Queen Ada, betroths her to an abusive prince of a neighboring sphere, Clara determines to escape Outside where savages roam free.

Clara escapes tyranny only to discover the savages are not the only people who survived the cataclysmic events of one hundred forty years prior. Once Outside, Clara finds herself trapped, unable to return to the abusive life of the sphere while facing certain danger Outside.

Can Clara find love and freedom with the peril that threatens to consume her?

The Pearl Savage: What I thought

I loved the beginning of the book. It started all with princess Clara living in a dome with her friends, her awful mother, and an (unknown) number of other people. She’s bound to marry a really unpleasant and violent prince from a different kingdom.

I really felt for poor Clara who had to suffer abuse from both her mother and her fiancé. It wasn’t over the top, it was believable for the most part. It was clear that Clara couldn’t go on like this and had to escape, although she knew that outside the dome, there were savages and the air wasn’t good enough to breathe.

Together with her friends, she plans an escape. I loved the book until a little after she tried to escape. Thereafter, the book didn’t seem so special any more, as it became more a kind of romance novel, with two candidates to become Clara’s boyfriend (not counting the prince). I started to get a bit bored of the story.

Whereas I liked the idea of the book and the setting, I was more interested in “seeing” some more of the world they lived in, rather than getting a romance story. There was also some steampunk which I found totally redundant.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Number of pages: 272

First published: 2011

I got this: free download from Amazon

Genre: fantasy, post-apocalyptic, steampunk

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Book Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger

Blameless by Gail Carriger

I very much enjoyed reading the first two books in the Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless, and Changeless.

I liked Soulless a lot (5 stars) and Changeless a little less (4 stars). Blameless is much like Changeless, where Alexia and her husband are separated from each other for most of the book, and have independent (but related) adventures.

Blameless: What it is about

Alexia Tarrabotti is pregnant! And her husband, Lord Maccon, is convinced the baby can’t be his, because werewolves do not procreate. He sends her away and starts drinking. He gets awfully drunk for days on end. Not on alcohol, though. His drink of choice is quite different!

Alexia spends a few days at her parents but when they find out about her situation, they don’t want her in the house any longer and she runs off. Soon she finds out that the vampires want her dead, because the child she is carrying is a threat to them.

She escapes with Madam Lefoux and Floote, the butler, to Italy. Here, she’s not safe either. Meanwhile, Lord Maccon is slowly coming to his senses.

Blameless: What I thought

This was a fun story. Lord Maccon was very unreasonable but was out of the picture for most of the story as he was too inebriated to do anything at all. So, Professor Lyall, his Beta wolf, had to lead the pack. We learned about all of his worries and about his attempts to get Maccon back to the sober world.

Alexia, meanwhile, escaped to Italy, via France. As she hadn’t travelled much, she marvelled at all the new experiences she has, but wasn’t too enthralled to not notice the vampires that are following them.

There is a short appearance of Alexia’s friend Ivy, now Mrs Tunstell, and two new characters, a German scientist and a French inventor, are introduced. To say nothing of the Italian Templars, who aren’t too happy to have Alexia amongst their people.

The writing is quite formal, Victorian-like, and this makes it a slow read for the type of story, light-hearted as it is.

Rating: 4/5 stars

I got this book: won from Suzi at Steamed!

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 376

First published: 2010

Genre: fantasy, steampunk

Extra: Fits in with the Transcending Gender Reading Challenge

Transcending Gender 2012 Reading Challenge

Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

Changeless by Gail Carriger

I very much enjoyed reading the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless, and Changeless is book two.

I found it a slow read and not quite as interesting as book 1. Still, I enjoyed reading it. A lot.

It can be read without first reading Soulless, but it may take a little longer to get into the story and understand what is going on.

Changeless : What it is about

Alexia Tarrabotti is now Lady Maccon, after she married Alpha male werewolf Connell Maccon. Alexia isn’t too pleased when a regiment of werewolves camp in the lawns of Woolsey castle which is now her home.

The regiment are on their way back to Scotland after fighting in India. Luckily, they don’t stay long, as Alexia has other trouble to attend to. All supernatural powers have ceased working: werewolves and vampires can only take their human forms and ghosts have disappeared altogether.

In order to seek the cause, Alexia travels to Scotland in a dirigible (a kind of zeppelin), where her husband is taking care of some business of his own. Eventually, a new machine, an aetographer, which with messages can be sent across the country, takes a special place in solving the issues.

Changeless : What I thought

Not quite as good as Soulless. This is mainly because I loved the whole new setting and characters in the first book, which I found very original. Changeless continues in a similar vein and so missed the excitement of the new.

Still, some interesting new ideas were introduced, such as the aetographer and humanization, which made the story good fun to read. There were also a few lesbians to liven up the story.

The writing is old fashioned, fitting the era the story is set in (about 1870s) but this also means it was a slow read for me. I found that a bit irritating, as the story itself didn’t warrant the savouring of each sentence.

A fun, but somewhat slow read with a number of fun ideas. Don’t be put off by the mention of vampires and werewolves… they’re people too.

Rating: 4/5 stars

I got this book: bought from Book Depository

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 400

First published: 2010

Genre: fantasy, steampunk

Extra: Check out my review for the third book in this series, Blameless.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines by Philip ReeveI read this book only because my library hasn’t got many steampunk books. In fact, very, very few. This book from 2001 I picked up from the 12+ section. That fact alone pointed towards young adult, and while I don’t mind young adult books, I would prefer to read fewer of them, not more.

But still, I borrowed it, so I had something to read for the Steampunk Challenge, and mentioned the book in my Monday post. Rikki suggested that the book was for 7-10 year olds. I was worried.

Upon reading it, I found that it was definitely a 14- book. Something like 11-14. No more, definitely not for older kids. I mean, they can read it, but it’s not written for them, I think.

Mortal Engines: What it’s about

This story is the first of a series, I believe a six-part. We are introduced to a world about 3,000 years from now. It’s still Earth, but not as we know it, of course. In this world, cities have been placed on wheels and they move around.

After the “Sixty-Minute War”, a nuclear war that caused lots of geological activity, cities found it safer to be able to move away from unstable areas. A principle called “municipal Darwinism” states that to survive, cities have to move around conquering other cities and live off them.

Tom (15) is a history apprentice in London. He is present when the head of the History Guild, Valentine, whom Tom really looks up to, chases a girl with a deformed face and she falls through a chute onto the bare earth (where most people have never been and will avoid ever going). When Tom wants to tell professor Valentine about her, the professor pushes Tom so he also falls through the chute.

The rest of the story is about Tom and the girl, Hester, trying to get back to London. They travel some of the time on the ground, but manage to get some lifts in airships. Meanwhile, they find out things about Valentine and how he may not be the hero that Tom thinks he is.

London is approaching an Asian conglomeration of cities and will aggressively try to destroy them. Tom and Hester need to get back to London to stop this.

Mortal Engines: What I thought

I like post-apocalyptic stories, especially dystopia, which this book probably not quite is, but this book was definitely too simple for me.

It was simple in writing: clearly directed to the younger reader. But it was also simple in story line. Nothing much really happened and there were no sub-plots (although there was a second story line about two teenagers in London who also start to discover the real character of Valentine).

Also, the reason I like dystopian fiction, is that the author often makes up an entire world full of interesting elements. In this book, that was rather limited. There were the steampunk-ish elements, such as moving cities and airships with balloons, but otherwise, things were not very much different from how we know it.

So yes, I was disappointed with this book. Other than this book I have only read Soulless and I haven’t really got enough exposure to steampunk to know whether I will like other books in this genre. I won’t know unless I buy them, which I’m not likely to do because I don’t know that I will like them. A catch-22, that is.

Rating: 3/5

I got this book: from the library as I wanted to read it for the Steampunk challenge

I read this in: Dutch, the original language is English.

 

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