Wednesday, March 2, 2016

False Starts: "The Mechanical" by Ian Tregillis



I’ve been reading a bit of more steampunk stuff, and this fit right in.

Overall, it was good, readable, and had interesting characters.

A couple of issues though; The narrative flits back and forth so some characters are central to a chapter and then they are gone for others. That makes this uneven, because there are a couple of characters that are not the most compelling. One of these is because there is a voice issue. The tech is advanced, but in the book, it was about 1920 by my estimation. There’s a character whose voice is off for the tech that was supposed to change things and the time, as we know it. It is a minor issue but sets you off from the narrative. The other thing is that it is steam-punky but there’s a compelling force behind the consciousness of these androids that are at the center of the book that feels unexplained in the narrative. Though it is hinted at, it feels like a hand-wave and overly reliant on magic and not some sort of tech. It didn’t work for me.

Ultimately, the issue for me is that there are more books out there in this sequence, and I’m not sure if I am interested in reading them. I haven’t bought the next one yet – it is at that point, where it feels the author could have closed the narrative, but instead left things open. I’m not sure if that is always the best move. It is better to establish yourself, for me, with a one off successful book than to leave things open-ended.