Reminders of Better Books

How did I manage to read two books in a row about a woman named June?  It’s not an amazingly common name in my reading, so I’m still trying to figure that out.  Not to mention it makes it easy to get caught up and have to stop and remember which book I’m reading.  That was a bit distracting.

Today I read The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson.  This was the book I mentioned yesterday, that I saw on Book of the Month and opted to test it out for free before deciding if I actually want to commit money to it.  (The answer to that question, by the by, is no, I am not spending money.)  It’s not as long a book as it could be, though it’s certainly not short.

The story is told through two first person viewpoints.  June is our modern day heroine, as I mentioned, who researches and repairs ancient machines.  Then there’s Peter, whose story is told starting in 1709 and ending in modern times with June.  He is one of the ancient machines she’s been looking for all her life without truly knowing what it was she sought.

I have the weird feeling that I just read a book which was trying to be a vampire book.  There was also a lot of similarity to those immortal alien people from the newest Vampire Chronicles.  The only difference is that those are living, breathing, bleeding creatures and these are ancient machines made by gods only know who or what.  I suspect that there might be either a sequel or a follow-up novella, especially based on the epilogue.

One of my main problems with the book is likely that I am just not as interested in steampunk as I am with fantasy or science fiction.  Sure there’s a mystery.  Sure the main characters are fine.  Sure there’s a twist that I may or may not have seen coming.  But I just didn’t find this book anywhere near as engaging as yesterday’s, for example.  I kept thinking of other similar books I’ve read and enjoyed more, such as those vampire books, or Clockwork Heart.

I think I mentioned that steampunk can be very hit-and-miss for me.  Once, a few years back, I was wandering through the library collecting a pile of new and interesting things to read.  On the new shelf for the science fiction section sat a book entiled The Big Book of Steampunk or something along those lines.  It boasted some thirty-five stories within and, since I like anthologies, I checked it out.

I don’t remember how many I made it through, but I know it was less than ten.  Steampunk as a genre doesn’t get nearly as much love as other more popular demarcations, and while there are good authors who write it, there seems to be a lot more mediocre or worse authors.  Which means it ends up being like romance for me: I don’t know enough to wade through the chaff and find the diamonds.  And the more chaff I read, the less likely I am to want to find those diamonds.

Now, the two books that follow Clockwork Heart were part of those amazon shipments and they are now sitting on in my Pile, so there will be more steampunk in the future.  But it’s steampunk I have more reason to believe I’ll enjoy than this.  The Clockwork Dynasty was acceptable, but no more than that.  don ‘t consider it a complete waste of time, but a good reminder of why I tend to avoid steampunk.


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