Publisher: 47North (November 19, 2013)
Length: 476 pages
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
The Swashbuckling King of Steampunk is back!
Yes, Romulus Buckle, our favorite zeppelin captain, has returned with the same fiery attitude, the same devious enemies, and the same soaring zeppelin to ride above it all. However, this time Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. has upped the fun quotient in Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War with an unexpected love triangle, more mesmerizing world building, new characters and dueling zeppelins!
You heard me right. Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. has done it; he has taken the silver-skinned zeppelins where readers have always longed them to go: war! And he has crafted those daring conflicts in the clouds with such amazing details that not only does the Pneumatic Zeppelin’s battles fill a reader with adrenaline pumping, steampunk daring-do but they also tantalizing in their absolute realism. A dualism that sets Romulus Buckle above so many other steampunk novels.
The story itself begins where the first novel in the series stopped: the Snow World prepares for all out war between the Founders and the rest of the clans. A war that promises to destroy everyone unless somehow Balthazar, Romulus’ adopted father, can forge a grand alliance to oppose the Founders. An alliance that must unite diverse people who have generations of hatred wedging them apart.
While the world balances upon the edge of steam-powered calamity, our ever impetuous hero, Romulus, extracts himself from the political intrigue, deciding to leave the politicians to their work and his beloved Pneumatic Zeppelin in dry dock for repairs while he sets out into the dreadful mountains to solve a mystery. Who attacked the Crackshafts years before and killed his sister?
Naturally, the quest immediately turns into non-stop action and thrills. And while the answer to the mystery seems fairly evident after reading book one, it still delights in its swashbuckling brilliance, as our favorite zeppelin captain encounters Martian monsters, uncovers yet more mysteries, and succeeds in turning every page into an action lovers roller coaster of delight.
But every roller coaster needs to slow down and allow the riders to catch their breath before the next big plunge and Mr. Preston gives his readers this pause from the heart racing excitement, seamlessly shifting from swashbuckling adventure to political intrigue and character development. And during these brief pauses, readers find themselves entertained by the characters themselves, learning more about our hero and his trusted comrades past and watching as Mr. Preston deftly fleshes out his amazing steampunk world: an environment of hissing steam contraptions, ferocious Martian monsters, and age old mysteries.
As you can no doubt see, I really enjoyed this novel. It took everything enjoyable from the first book, mixed in new character development and world building and cooked up a heart-racing steampunk masterpiece. Go buy this one today!