Wednesday, May 1, 2013

DNF Early Review - Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders (The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin, Book One) by Richard Ellis Preston Jr. (2/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Science Fiction
Size: 456 pages
Publisher: 47North
Date: July 2, 2013
ISBN: 978-1611099188
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 2/5 stars

I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This is the first book in The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin series. I love steampunk books and was excited to read this one. Unfortunately I ended up not finishing it, it was just too hard to read and I could not stay engaged in the story.

Captain Romulus Buckle and his crew are taking their ship, the Pneumatic Zeppelin, on a mission to rescue their leader Balthazar Crankshaft. Their mission leads them across lands devastated by some alien war that has left the Earth in a post-apocalyptic mess.

I ended up getting about 1/3 of the way through this book before I decided it was time to set it aside. It was just so hard to read and I was absolutely not at all interested in it. Rather than being sucked into the story, I constantly felt like this book was trying to push me away from the story (if that makes any sense at all)...I constantly had to force myself to engage with this book.

The book throws a plethora of characters at you from the get-go. All of them are hard to picture and engage with. They all seem like interesting characters when they are introduced, but you bounce between them so quickly that it is hard to get a good grasp on the characters’ personalities.

A big problem with this book is how it is parsed into such tiny chapters and how each chapter bounces between different character POVs. Just as soon as I felt like I was actually engaging in the story, then suddenly that chapter was over and we were onto another character's perspective of the battle. Many of the chapters are only a couple pages long. It really fractured the story and made it hard to follow and engage with.

The book is also very wordy with a ton of description that doesn't really help to describe the settings or what is going on. For example nearly a page is spent describing Buckle's clothing, but no explanation is given as to how/why Buckle has to plug his hat into his ship. In fact all of the characters plug their hats into the ship but we really never find out why (at least not in the first third of the book).

The story goes basically from one action scene to another, the action scenes alternate with these scenes of long description. The action scenes are not all that well written and I had trouble figuring out exactly what was going on. I felt like the pacing and plot was just a jumbled mess.

The writing also flowed very poorly, I constantly had to go back and re-read portions of the story because I missed something. Not to mention somehow despite all of the action scenes the story was boring.... You know how some books just suck you in and suddenly you’ve read 100 pages and you don’t know how that happened because you are just so absolutely drawn into the story? Well this book was the opposite. I would sit there reading and realize that I was still on the same page I was on 10 minutes ago...reading and re-reading the same paragraph and trying to figure out exactly what was going on.

Anyway, I really really disliked this book and will not be finishing it. I just have too many other good books to read. I can say that reading this book was truly an epic struggle for me.

Overall not a good read and not recommended. If you want to read some good military based steampunk check out Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series instead.

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