Tag Archives: steampunk

An Interview with Sharon Gosling | Author of The Diamond Thief

Related Posts: Book Review: The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling

I adored The Diamond Thief, book one of the Remy Brunel trilogy, when I got the chance to read it at the beginning of this year. So naturally, it’s very exciting to have Sharon Gosling, author, on The Bibliomaniac today to discuss the trilogy, its genre, and Sharon’s upcoming projects. Enjoy the Q&A!

GW: Hi, Sharon! Firstly, could you tell us a little about the diamond thief, for anyone who hasn’t read it?
SG: Hi! The Diamond Thief is set in London in the late 1800s. It introduces Rémy Brunel, who is a French circus performer famed for her talent on the trapeze and the high wire. She also happens to be the best jewel thief in kx3J8Y0kEurope. She’s brought to London by her nefarious circus master in order to steal the famous diamond the Darye-ye Noor (the Ocean of Light), the sister-stone to the Koh-i-Noor (the Mountain of Light), which is in the Queen of England’s crown. As she attempts to steal it she comes up against a young detective called Thaddeus Rec, who is determined to stop her. Together they discover that something terrible is happening below the streets of London’s East End, and are forced to work together to stop it. As they do they also discover some disturbing things about Rémy’s past. 

What books inspired you to write, growing up?

As a kid I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on, but with a dad who loved Sherlock Holmes, I developed an early love for detective fiction – and fact, come to think of it. I remember one librarian being a bit concerned about me taking out a lot of adult books about Jack the Ripper when I was probably a bit too young to be reading them. I also read a lot of classic children’s books – I had a lot of Enid Blyton books and Rémy is probably in part inspired by her circus stories. I can remember wishing that our family could pack up and join a circus! Life on the road and the idea of being in a new place every week always sounded so exciting – I loved travel adventures, especially anything that took place in South America, as jungles really appeal to me. So The Hardy Boys were another favourite. I think all of these combined to encourage me to make up my own adventures, which led to writing my own, too. 

You do some really interesting things outside of writing fiction, such as writing about sci fi and The Diamond Thieffantasy in magazines. What’s the most exciting related article or project you’ve worked on?

As a result of writing non-fiction tie-in books for television and film, I’ve spent quite a lot of time on film sets, which I always find really fascinating. Oftentimes watching a TV show being made can actually be quite tedious, as there is a lot of time spent setting up, moving from one set to another, resetting, re-taking the same scene, and so on. But I love it because there’s a very specific energy that occurs on a film or television set, which I think comes from having a large group of very talented people who are all creative in different ways working on one huge project. I always find that very exciting. A year or so ago I wrote the companion book ‘The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful’ – the series is filmed in Ireland, just outside Dublin, and I spent a few days on set at the end of the shooting for the first season. That was a particular thrill for me as I got to meet and interview Timothy Dalton. I know most people would be excited about that for him being a former James Bond, but for me it was because he’ll always be my Mr Rochester! Jane Eyre is my favourite classic novel, and the BBC adaptation that he was in years ago will always be my touchstone for how it should be produced on screen. Of course, Penny Dreadful was created and written by John Logan, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of films such as Skyfall, Gladiator, Rango and Hugo – meeting him was pretty special. He’s a lovely man and an extraordinarily talented writer. 

Is there a reason you are drawn to sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk stories?

I think those three genres capture the idea that there are still things to discover and still reasons to be intrepid, which really appeals for someone who always wanted to be out there exploring inaccessible parts of the globe. Today, the world feels so much smaller. It feels known, as if there’s nothing left to discover, no mysterious corners that haven’t been mapped, photographed and given a Wikipedia entry. Genres such as science fiction, fantasy and steampunk open up new possibilities for exploration and invention. That’s probably why I love them so much.

Do you have any plans for books after the Rémy Brunel trilogy?

Always! I’ve got two that I’m currently re-drafting – one for a slightly younger audience that’s set in modern-day London and another which is a horror for a much older YA audience. So they’re both very different, which is fun. Then later in the year I have two more I want to start work on – one is a children’s adventure set in late Victorian England (I’ve realised it’s a favourite setting of mine!) and the other is the first in an adult detective series set in a village very like the one I live in now. So many stories, so little time…!

I hope you enjoyed the interview! Thank you to Sharon for answering the Q & A questions, and to Georgia at Curious Fox for organising this and introducing me to the trilogy. Interested in checking out the Remy Brunel trilogy? Read my review of The Diamond Thief here!

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Book Review: The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling

This edition published January 2016 by Curious Fox books.

The Diamond ThiefGoodreads Synopsis: No one performs on the circus trapeze like 16-year-old Rémy Brunel. But Rémy also leads another life, prowling through the backstreets of Victorian London as a jewel thief. When she is forced to steal one of the world’s most valuable diamonds, she uncovers a world of treachery and fiendish plots.

Meanwhile, young detective Thaddeus Rec is determined to find the jewel and clear his name. Will Thaddeus manage to rescue the jewel? Or is it really Rémy that he needs to save?

My Review: This book has been on my to-read list for ages, and for some reason, I’ve simply never gotten around to buying a copy. However, when Curious Fox were kind enough to send me some of their titles a while ago, I saw that it had been given a cover makeover – I’m in love with the new look! I thought this was a great opportunity to finally get into the trilogy.

The Diamond Thief pulled me in immediately, with a beautifully written and gripping trapeze scene  – and all the way through, there was never a dull moment. Protagonist Rémy is not your usual travelling trapeze artist – as well as a secret and mysterious past that she doesn’t fully understand herself, she lives a double-life as a jewel thief and is in London to steal a famous gem.

The plot was gripping and entertaining. Not so long ago, I was hugely into steampunk and fantasy stuff – I feel like more recently, I’ve moved into reading more contemporary fiction. The Diamond Thief felt like coming home to an old friend that I haven’t seen in a while. It was 300 pages of pure, riveting escapism – a classic steampunk-inspired story with some beautifully elaborated Victorian elements.

Rémy is an awesome main character – she’s a classically adventurous and courageous heroine. Also, kudos for her to standing up for herself and refusing to be defended. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about her and another character, whose chemistry is hinted at and I’m sure will be evident in the next book! However, I really did enjoy reading about the unlikely gang Rémy finds herself banding together through her journey to get the diamond and uncover the truth.

Overall, I definitely recommend The Diamond Thief to anyone who loves mystery stories, or ones with steampunk elements. It was a really great read – perfect for fans of Pantomime by Laura Lam and Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell. I can’t wait to read on in the trilogy and see how Rémy’s story develops.

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of The Diamond Thief from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Intrigued by The Diamond Thief, or already a fan? Come back to this blog this time next week, for an interview with the author!

Spotlight on Steampunk: Wrap-up Post

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Spotlight on Steampunk was originally a readathon I decided to run just because I wanted to get some Steampunk books read. But, I decided to turn it into a bloggy event, to make it more exciting! I was lucky enough to read a lot of brilliant Steampunk fiction, as well as lucky enough to host two amazing fantasy authors on my blog for the event. I found it fun to run, and so I hope everybody enjoyed reading the posts!

I got some really nice feedback from lots of people, about the event, my reviews and that tiny little drawing I included on post one. A huge thank you to everybody who left such nice comments- you’re all super awesome! *virtual cake* (:

As of Monday, I’ll be catching up on some Advanced Reading Copy reviews that need to go up. So, here is a wrap-up post of all of the themed blog posts that have been published since the 1st of December!

Spotlight on Steampunk: Reviews

I got to read and review steampunk books over the themed fortnight. You can see what books I read here. Click on the book jackets to bring yourself to my review of that title.

Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian FuturismLarklight (Larklight, #1)Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange StoriesThe Whatnot (The Peculiar, #2)Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 (The Parasol Protectorate Manga)

Of course, I still have a lot of Steampunk books to read. All of them, I’m really excited about! You can view my Steampunk TBR shelf, showcased in yesterday’s post, here.

Spotlight on Steampunk: Author Spotlights

So that the bloggy event wasn’t just reviews, I asked two authors if they’d be interested in an interview or a guest post. Both authors were really really lovely and said yes! You can click on their author profile pictures below to see their posts for Spotlight on Steampunk. Nigel McDowell (bottom) wrote Tall Tales From Pitch End, and he answered some  interview questions on his writing. Stefan Bachmann (top) wrote The Peculiar & The Whatnot, and did a guest post on steampunk-y inspirations on his books!

Stefan BachmannNigel McDowell, author of Tall Tales from Pitch End

So that’s Spotlight on steampunk over! ;D I enjoyed reading just one certain genre over two weeks, though now I have a lot of ARCs to catch up on! I’ve just finished reading A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson, a contemporary, but then I’m back to fantasy with some future Hot Key titles and a Strange Chem one! (: Again, huge thank yous and slices of virtual cake to anyone who commented on the blog posts!

Special thanks to: Nina from Death Books and Tea, who gave me the copy of Etiquette and Espionage and lent me the copy of the Soulless manga, Nigel McDowell for his brilliant interview answers, and Stefan Bachmann for his awesome guest post. Thank you!! 😀

Spotlight on Steampunk: On my TBR

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I’ve decided to write a post about Steampunk books that are still on my TBR list, today! This fortnight ends tomorrow and I was planning on doing a wrap-up post then, and I’m nowhere near the end of a Steampunk book to review tonight. So, what Steampunk fiction have I still got to read?

What I wanted to read for Spotlight on Steampunk:

Over November and part of October I picked out the main steampunk books that I really, really wanted to read. I narrowed them down a bit to a slightly smaller list, so I had these:

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Anatomy of Steampunk, Soulless, Soulless: The Manga, Steampunk!, Leviathan, The Shadow in the North, and Larklight.

 

Since the first of December, I’ve read all but two of these! That’s six, but then I also changed my mind and headed for The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann, which was on my kindle. So, I’m really happy that I read seven Steampunk/fantasies over the fortnight! I did read the opening pages to Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, but I couldn’t really get into it. It was really great, but I’m guessing my brain was telling me to switch genres for a bit! So, as well as Leviathan to finish and The Shadow in the North to read, I also have a few other steampunk books I need to get around to soon…

On the steampunk TBR!

I’ve still got a few Steampunk titles that I really want to read, that are currently sitting in the TBR wardrobe! (THIS EXISTS NOW. SEE MY FANGIRLY TWEET) Here’s a look at them:

Starcross (Larklight, #2)Larklight by Philip Reeve – Goodreads Synopsis: Art, Myrtle and their mother accept the kind invitation of a holiday to an up-and-coming asteroid resort. But they set out with visions of rest and relaxation only to be sucked into a dastardly plot involving spies, time travel, and mind-altering clothing! Before their adventures are out, they’ll sail an aether-ship amid asteroid-strewn seas, dodge demonic puppets, and learn wisdom from an unlikely ally: the Moobs! With faster-than-light plot twists and enough tongue-in-cheek vim and vigor to keep a galaxy in laughter, this dynamic sequel to Larklight is a tour de force of the most intergalactic kind.

As you probably saw from my review, I LOVED Larklight, the first in this series! I bought it and the sequel together, so I still have this, Starcross, to read. I’m really excited for it!

 

AirmanAirman by Eoin Colfer – Goodreads Synopsis: Conor Broekhart was born to fly.
It is the 1890s, and Conor and his family live on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. Conor spends his days studying the science of flight with his tutor and exploring the castle with the king’s daughter, Princess Isabella. But the boy’s idyllic life changes forever the day he discovers a deadly conspiracy against the king. When Conor intervenes, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he has to fight for his life, as he and the other prisoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions.
There is only one way to escape Little Saltee, and that is to fly. So Conor passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines into the prison walls. The months turn into years, but eventually the day comes when Conor must find the courage to trust his revolutionary designs and take to the skies.

Airman looks awesome! I can remember reading Artemis Fowl when I was smaller and loving it, so I’m looking forward to reading a steampunk book by Eoin.

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross – Goodreads Synopsis: In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her.When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no “normal” Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of “them.” The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help–and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on–even if it seems no one believes her.

This looks brilliant. I ordered it online absolutely ages ago but haven’t gotten around to it yet. The cover is gorgeous- it really drew me in! Hopefully the book will be as great as its cover (:

The Executioner's HeartNewbury and Hobbes: The Executioners Heart by George Mann – Goodreads Synopsis: A serial killer is loose on the streets of London, murdering apparently random members of the gentry with violent abandon. The corpses are each found with their chest cavities cracked open and their hearts removed. Charles Bainbridge, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, suspects an occult significance to the crimes and brings Newbury and Veronica in to investigate.

OOH. This sounds really awesome in a grim, macabre, twisted kind of way. My dad found this on his shelves and gave it to me a few days ago. I found out on Goodreads that it’s the fourth in the series- so I might have to hunt down the other three! (Shout out to anyone who’s read it: Is it possible to read without spoiling the first three?) Either way, it seems great: I love crime fiction and I love steampunk. This is a pretty cool combination for me!

The RithmatistThe Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson – Goodreads Synopsis: More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing – kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics – and their world – forever.

This sounds amazing! It keeps catching my eye in bookshops, because of that gorgeous cover. I finally caved in a bought it. I’ve heard great things about it, so hopefully I’ll love it too! It seems like a really original, fun read.

Have you read any of the books above? What are they like? I’d love to know, because I want to re-arrange the TBR pile for the new year ;D Also, am I missing something? I know there’s a lot of great steampunk fiction out there, as the genre keeps growing and growing. Leave a comment tell me what I should check out- I’d love some recommendations! (:

Spotlight on Steampunk: Mini Reviews!

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Today for Spotlight on Steampunk: Two mini reviews! Firstly, there’s the manga adaption of Soulless by Gail Carriger, which I reviewed yesterday. Also, I have a mini review of Anatomy of Steampunk: a great non-fiction steampunk collection that I won at the MCM Expo in October! (:

Soulless: The Manga

Story by Gail Carriger, manga by Rem.

Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 (The Parasol Protectorate Manga)Goodreads Synopsis: The life of a spinster in Victorian London isn’t an easy one on the best of days, but such a life becomes infinitely more complicated when said spinster is “soulless” – a preternatural bridging the gap between the natural and supernatural worlds. Miss Alexia Tarabotti has this unique distinction, and when she is assailed at a formal gathering by a rove vampire, an encounter that results in the death of the half-starved creature, her circumstances become exponentially more complicated indeed! Now caught up in an intrigue with life or death stakes, Alexia must rely on all her talents to outmatch the forces conspiring against her, but it may be the man who has caught her eye – Lord Conall Maccon – and their budding flirtation that truly drives her to her wit’s end!

My Review: If you’d like to read about the story and character, click HERE! In this review I’m going to be talking about the artwork.

The Soulless manga was really fun! I read it straight after the actual book, so the story was already fresh in my head. Maybe that wasn’t a great idea, because then I knew what was coming and couldn’t enjoy it as much… oh well! This was a really fun read, though. Everything was adapted, so well. I was expecting for a few parts to be left out, but everything seemed completely accurate, which was awesome. The drawings of the scenes were exactly the way I’d imagined them to be in my head, reading the novel!

The artwork is extremely pretty. Very often, I had to stop and read over a page, just because I wanted to drink in the illustrations all over again. Especially, the parts like the scene near the beginning with the airships in the park: so pretty! So steampunk-y! I loved it ;D Rem has done a brilliant job in conveying all of the details and the witty dialogue beautifully. It did seem to move a bit fast though, for me, but then again I’m probably reading at the wrong pace. I haven’t read manga in ages and I’m so used to non-illustrated stories that I went through this too quickly, I think. But, Rem has created a gorgeous manga, that I think I’m going to buy along with the next two (I borrowed this from a bloggy friend)!

My Rating:

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I borrowed a copy of Soulless: The Manga Volume 1 from Nina at Death Books and Tea. Thank you so much for letting me read it, Nina! (:

Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian Futurism

By Katherine Gleason, published by Race Point Publishing.

Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian FuturismGoodreads Synopsis: From formal outfits to costumes crafted for the stage, from ensembles suited to adventure to casual street styles, steampunk fashion has come to encompass quite a few different looks. But what exactly is steampunk? Originally conceived as a literary genre, the term “steampunk” described stories set in a steam-powered, science fiction-infused, Victorian London. Today steampunk has grown to become an aesthetic that fuels many varied art forms. Steampunk has also widened its cultural scope. Many steampunk practitioners, rather than confining their vision to one European city, imagine steam-driven societies all over the world.

Illustrated throughout with color photographs of the dazzling creations of numerous steampunk fashion designers, Anatomy of Steampunk is an inspirational source-book. In addition to presenting the looks and stories of these creative fashion artists, the book also details ten steampunk projects for the reader to try at home. Allow steam to power your imagination!

My Review: What a brilliant book! I’m so glad I got to read this- I absolutely loved it. Over the past couple of week,s I’ve been dipping in and out of it: Reading a few parts every few days. It’s such a brilliant book, and, like the manga reviewed above, I kept going over the same pages, staring at the pretty pictures. I didn’t realise, when I received this, that it was entirely about Steampunk Fashion- I thought it was about a few other things too- though it was still really great.

It’s basically a non-fiction anthology of fashion designers and steampunk/gothic models. The passages of writing about them are really fun to read, but I think the most captivating part of the book were the pictures. There were some amazing photographs, of some absolutely beautiful steampunk fashion designs. (Also, DONNA RICCI! I LOVE DONNA RICCI’S STUFF. Excuse the capitals. You may recognise her name because she is the gothic steampunk model who features on ail Carriger’s books) Every few ‘chapters,’ there are step-by-step guides to designing different parts of Steampunk outfits: From steampunk goggles to trousers to top hats. They’re’re all really brilliant, and looking over them, I really want to make them! Overall, a great in-depth introduction to steampunk fashion. It’s an awesome source for costume ideas or art inspiration: I’m definitely going to be taking inspiration from in to use in my drawings!

My Rating:

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I won a copy of Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian futurism from Aurum Press at the London MCM Expo. 

Spotlight on Steampunk: Soulless

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For Spotlight on Steampunk today, I have an awesome book that I’ve been waiting ages to get my hands on a copy of. I’m really glad to say that I enjoyed it- and the manga adaption! The manga will be part of a mini-reviews post tomorrow- so watch out for that soon (:

By Gail Carriger, published by Atom.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)Goodreads Synopsis: First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire – and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

My Review: I’ve heard so much about this book, so I had a little squealy fangirly moment when I found it in a charity store while I was shopping ;D It was one of the main books that made me decide to do a steampunk read-a-thon. I started it yesterday and, like a lot of the steampunk books I’ve read so far, it had me completely absorbed into the story!

The world, was just… ‘awesome,’ seems to sum it up the best, to me. It’s the same world (but different location-ish) to Gail Carriger’s new YA Etiquette and Espionage series: Meaning the Victorian society, with a twist. Vampires and Werewolves are accepted in society. Airships roam the skies. A brilliant steampunk vision! Gail’s writing is amazing. It brings the story and the setting to life really vividly. I could imagine everything so well!

Gail is really talented at weaving humor into a pretty grim plot, too. She’s conveyed some hilarious witty dialogue into what is actually, come to think of it, a pretty terrifying plot. I have no idea how it was possible, but Carriger has blended a grim, creepy plot about evil-seeming scientific schemes, a romance story, and loads of scenes that will make you laugh out loud, into one book. Genius writing, from a genius author!

The plot was great. It took me a little while to get used to the writing, because it’s a different style to a lot of books that I normally read, but after that, I really got stuck in to the story. The plot has a bit of everything thrown in; romance, action, horror, humor- you name it, pretty much! Everything was structured well and the events played out brilliantly. At no point was I bored: which was great. I think the events in the epilogue seemed a little too hasty, though! I was expecting for something (Trying VERY hard not to drop any spoilers here! Don’t worry, I won’t say anything by accident ;)) to take a lot longer to develop. And it seemed a little rushed to me: I wanted more conflict between the two characters, so there were more complications… and hopefully for the events of the epilogue to happen in the second book, at least… Okay, enough crypticness! I’ll stop babbling on about this now! D:

I loved Alexia. In Victorian times, from what I’ve learned and what I’ve read, girls never got to do anything, and everything was sexist and Alexia is just the opposite of every Victorian female stereotype. It’s hard not to fall in love with her. Inside, she’s conflicted with her Italian background and her Soullessness. And secretly, she has a tendency to be pretty violent, as revealed in the first chapter, where she used her parasol to fight off a vampire. She’s such a powerful-and witty- heroine! The love interest… I have very mixed feelings about. He has a really well developed personality and background, as a Werewolf… but I couldn’t like him as much as I wanted to. Of course, he was an awesome love interest- especially in a particular action-packed scene near the end of the book- but I don’t know why I couldn’t really connect with him! He seemed quite cold at points.

Overall, Soulless was a really great book. It was definitely worth the wait for, as I enjoyed reading it so much. The main protagonist was such a kick-butt, awesome character, and the plot really well developed, too. I loved delving into Gail’s steampunk vision of the Victorian era again after loving the concepts in Etiquette and Espionage… I’m definitely going to carry on with this series! The epilogue I really didn’t like: too fast!! however, everything was written beautifully, and that made up for it. Keep writing such engrossing stories, Gail! (:

My Rating:

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I purchased a copy of Soulless from a second hand bookstore.

Spotlight on Steampunk: A Guest Post from Stefan Bachmann!

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YAY!!! 😀 I’m so excited to share Stefan Bachmann’s guest post with you today! Stefan is an awesome author, who wrote The Peculiar and The Whatnot. I reviewed The Whatnot yesterday on my blog– 5/5, obviously- I loved it! Stefan really kindly agreed to write a guest post for my Spotlight on Steampunk event- I asked him if he would like to, as his book’s themes fall into the Steampunk genre as well as fantasy. So… *attemptstoholdinfangirlingandfailsmiserably*  here’s Stefan Bachmann talking about three steampunk-y influences on his writing!! 😀 

So, Georgia was awesome and asked me to do a guest-post about steampunk, and I thought long and hard about it and realized I’m not any sort of expert on the subject. To which you say, “Um, Stefan, don’t write steampunk books then,” but you see, I felt like I *had* to. The Peculiar and The Whatnot take place in an alternate history that’s sort of a composite of old English faery tales and their creepy denizens and Dickensian England, and when I wrote the first one I felt like it needed to have steampunk in it. I didn’t know why. So for this post I decided to take a look back and try to figure it out, and I came up with three reasons:

 

Reason 1 – The Great Mouse Detective

Have you seen this movie? If you haven’t, you mussst. Disney has been awesome about including steampunk elements in its movies (Atlantis and Treasure Planet for instance) but this movie is the one that really set me off on steampunk, I think.

I was raised in Switzerland, and my Swiss grandparents had a VHS tape of the movie and they plopped me down to watch it when I was maybe four, and I did because four-year-olds aren’t particularly picky. I remember it being terribly sad and tragic, and I may have cried. BUT ANYWAY. It’s about a world of mice who live in a sort of parallel Mouse-London below the real London and have their own parallel mouse Queen Victoria, and an evil rat lord, and large dogs and tiny bits. It’s very atmospheric, very gloomy in a way, and it also has automatons and a sort of pedal-driven airship and creepy wind-up toys. I didn’t realize this for the longest time, but I’m pretty sure watching this movie was what made steampunk appealing to me as a kid and made me want to pick up steampunk books afterward, and probably informed the atmosphere and the Victorian elements of The Peculiar.


Reason 2 -Purplecat’s Sculptures

About a month before I started writing the first book I got three steampunk sculptures from my sister as a Christmas present. My sister is friends with many artsy people and one of them is Purplecat who makes all sorts of marvelous things. Here are the one’s I got:

This is the original clockwork bird on the cover, the way I imagined it while writing:

This snail has a brief cameo on the counter-top of Mr. Xerxes Yardley Zerubabbel, secretive mechanicalchemist of London:

This mouse was not used in either of the books, but it really should have been, because look at its derpy little hands.


Reason 3 – Steampunk is awesome, and the story needed it

The story takes place in an England that’s populated by both Victorians and faeries, and they don’t get along. At all. The English keep the faeries as second-class citizens, force the goblins to work in factories, put flame faeries in streetlampsand use elementals to power machinery; the whole steampunk works as a sort of antidote to the wild magic of the faeries, put in place by the English government wants to keep the faeries in check. I think atmosphere can be built really well through contrast, and I thought it would be interesting on so many levels to put these two polar opposites together and see what came from it.

That’s really what set off the idea for the book. I had a ton of fun building the world and playing the magic and the steampunk off each other, and finding ways to make them both integral to the plot. For instance, the bird on the cover looks cool (to me. I think) but it’s also vital to everything, as the villain uses it as a messenger bird to send slips of paper to his henchmen all over the country. Wen one of the two main characters intercepts it, it sets the entire plot in motion.

Annnd those are my three reasons! Even though on second thought, I don’t think anyone really needs a reason to include steampunk in things. I mean, steampunk + dragons. Awesome. Steampunk + unicorns. Awesome. Steampunk + cake. Awesome. Steampunk + faeries = whatever you decide, but I hope you like the books if you want to read them, and thanks, Georgia, for having me here! 🙂

Thank YOU, Stefan!! 😀 I’m so glad you could help out for my Steampunk event! I really loved the guest post so I’m pretty sure everyone else will. The inspirations are so cool! (Treasure Planet is SUCH a cool movie, but I haven’t watched the Great Mouse Detective, so I’m guessing I NEED to now…:D)

If you haven’t yet read Stefan’s books, I really recommend you do. They’re brilliant, and you can get a taste of his writing at the Cabinet of Curiosities website– where he and three other equally talented writers post fantastical and often creepy short stories (an anthology will be out soon, too! *fangirlyscream*)!