Friday, August 23, 2013

Kindle Spotlight -- Greaveburn

Today we have a dystopian steampunk story by Craig Hallam, entitled Greaveburn.

The story is set in the titular city in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic alternate world. The massive walled-off haven is supposedly the only settlement left in the world. That being said, Greaveburn has definitely seen better days. Its corrupt ruler, Legat Choler, is rumored to be suffering from dementia. He repeatedly sends the captain of the guard, Steadfast, to assassinate people who slight him with increasing regularity. Steadfast previously killed his mentor, Darrant, on orders from Choler...or so he thinks. Darrant actually survives and goes to live in the sewer-dwelling Broken Folk, eventually becoming a rebel leader with the hopes of taking down Choler and his venomous family and protecting the princess Abrasia (next in line to the throne). Choler's not taking any chances, though; he orders his other minion--the dastardly Professor Loosestrife--to kill Abrasia and end the only threat to his rule. Steadfast learns of this and decides enough is enough. He teams up with Loosestrife's bestial conscious-stricken assistant Wheldrake to thwart the villains' plot and save Abrasia. Unfortunately, even if they succeed, Steadfast must still deal with Darrant's Broken Folk guerrilla attacks. Can anyone put aside their differences long enough to save Greaveburn from itself?

I enjoyed this book. Hallam has crafted an engaging narrative with likable characters and a climax which makes a statement about human nature. However, one could argue the city itself is the real star of the story. Hallam's expert use of imagery helps us to imagine Greaveburn as a Gothic metropolis full of splendor. Not only that, but he takes us all over the place, from the seedy underbelly to the massive heights of the walls which surround the city.

That's not to say the book doesn't have any problems. I think it could have been edited a little better; typos and missing punctuation pop up here and there. Also, Hallam could have added a little more physical description to the characters. I could picture Abrasia all right, but Darrant and Steadfast were blank faces in my mind. Although, compared to the novelization of Alien (featured here last week), they're pretty detailed.

In addition, the story left me with serious questions. Who built Greaveburn? What happened to the rest of the world? Is the wine bottle Darrant found that pre-dates the city significant in any way? I feel a sequel is definitely in order. [Come to think of it, this might not be a bad thing]

Still, those are petty complaints and do not diminish terribly from the enjoyment I got out of Greaveburn. It is fairly well-written and I hope Hallam continues to write.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Scott. Thanks for a very thorough review. I love hearing people's theories on what Greaveburn is and your post-apocalyptic world idea will look great beside the alternate history/parallel world and alternate dimension theories people have already put forward. It seems the nature of Greaveburn really gets people's minds ticking. What a great result!
    I hope you look forward to my next book which will be released next year called The Adventures of Alan Shaw. Who knows, we might even visit Greaveburn again in the future...
    Thanks again. It's very much appreciated.