Posts Tagged With: steampunk

Adrian Tchaikovsky – Guns of the Dawn

23524779I can’t recall how this book reached me. But it did, and I’m brewing with happiness I’ve read “Guns of the Dawn” by Adrian Tchaikovsky (ISBN 1447272676; 658p.; Goodreads). It was an amazing read, one beautiful story in fantasy-steampunk realm, story of war, heroes, crimes, and the reasons behind it all.

Denland and Lascanne were once allies. Now they’re mortal enemies at war, for long enough too so that regular lascanner forgot the times denlander was but a neighbor. Lascanne king is pouring all he has into the war zone, all his warlocks, created by the spark of royal blood anointing them, giving them power to wield fire by burning an imprint on their skin. All his soldiers, and every able men. And, when even that wasn’t enough, he demands every third woman to be taken to serve too. In the end, they almost won anyway, so for them it’s merely a chance to get a medal and run back home, victorious! But if the war is truly almost done, why all this effort against Denland, country whose king was assassinated even before the war, thus a country with no mages to put to warring.

When towns and villages had only women, old folk, maimed folk, and babes left, and when even the women were required to come and serve, most genteel families sent off their maids, serving girls. Such noble families as Marshwics were expected to do the same, but Emily, their eldest, always had a heart a little too kind, a little too brave. So once the time came, she reported for duty, she and many other women, not many of any worthy rank, came to have their hair sheared short, and get taught how to use their weapons. Given the choice she even asked to serve in the worst of the worst of places, in one of the swamps covered by constant mists, full of giant beetles that thought of these meager humans as food, and as good as littered with dead of both sides. One of the last warlocks made by their king served here too. And so here, among these people she soon started calling friends, Emily learned what war is all about. For, after all, even the noble lips sometimes lie, even the most loyal hearts tend to believe wrong, and even the most deadly enemy with all the advantages sometimes offers peace, and most importantly, truth.

I can’t tell you how great this book was. Not a moment in it boring, not a moment dull. And so unique at times, what with magic only passed on by the burning touch of the royal line. But most importantly, I loved how to the very end I couldn’t tell how could this possibly be solved! It takes changes to change things. Unheard thing: drafting of women, was what it took to change the tide of the war, and then end it too. 5 out of 5, a glorious 100th book this year for me.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alternative History

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Alternative History genre is among my favorites. It is just that: one or several historical facts are completely or partially changed in the book, and whole world is then perceived via the prism of that possibility. Steampunk genre is most commonly known in Alternative History genre, since it operates on alternative possibility of Steam Engine being the one that got developed wider and longer than it actually was.

My most favorite examples of Alternative History could also be called Alternative Reality, since fantasy enters (fantasy as in supernatural, not as in mere fiction). One being Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. We all have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, haven’t we? Or at least seen the dozens of movies that we can choose from without even looking for them (and if you do look, there’s hundreds awaiting). There the brave men ganged up and killed our Father in Darkness (in Anno Dracula that is how your sire is called, Mother/Father in Darkness). Yet in Newman’s story that is not what happened at all. Some meager little men against someone like the Impaler? Ha. He rips them to shreds, in some cases even literally, and slowly but surely brings vampires into the daylight. Not literally. History proceeds as is, but vampires are a great part of it. Say, Bloody Red Baron tells the famous Red Baron story, yet here we not only have some epic pilots doing their jobs, heck, we have giant blood thirsty bat-dragons.

The other example is Bartimaeus sequence by Jonathan Stroud. Empire of Great Britain has never crumbled, but just went on, and on, and on, becoming the greatest power since Roman Empire if you please. History ceases here, since this is not the main genre of the book, and yet it fits the frame.

There are, of course, many more, since I told you what Steampunk is at the base, so even our very own Tapinas with his Wolf Hour is guilty of being Alternative History writer. It’s a genre for all those who overthink things, I think (see what I did here?), since it allows us a wider view of what could’ve been, and how that would’ve changed our lives as we know it.

Categories: Alternative History Books, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hour of the Wolf and The Howler

Little did I know about this game, The Howler: The Game of Touch and Scream, but now I do. The game is based on / inspired by Lithuanian Steampunk book “Hour of the Wolf” by Andrius B. Tapinas. The book is translated into English and can be obtained via Amazon, and you can get informed about it on Goodreads too. It is a saga, but I know nothing on whether there’ll be more games, yet what’s important right about now, is that this game on Steam currently costs only 0,19 euro cents!

Amazon ][ Goodreads ][ Steam ][ My Review

Categories: Books: Everything, games, The Afterlife, The Cyberlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Andrius Tapinas – Hour of the Wolf [#1]

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Andrius B. Tapinas is one of those few truly, TRULY great Lithuanian authors. And since the only one I mentioned was mentioned in a rather embarrassing context, I figured this will set the scales straight. Hour of the Wolf is the first book in Steam and Stone Saga mr. Tapinas is writing.

The book is like a spiral going inwards. You start at the far end of it, Russia selling two last cities to the great Rothschilds, one of them being Vilnius, the Capital of Lithuania. You see, the Rothschilds are forming an Alliance of free cities, where alchemy of all types is nourished, all for the sake of science, of course. Thus you gasp at the Golems, the not yet forgotten art in one of the Free Alliance cities on Earth – Prague. You wonder at the murder that just happened, such precise cut that one, throat open as if with a scalpel. You are mesmerized by zeppelins and dirigibles, run not only on steam, but also on Prometel, an alchemical substance created and controlled by the Alliance. And most of all – you keep wondering of these ever appearing words – homnculus and biomics. Both, in general, are partially a frowned upon art, for it would create an insane power, for one of those things could tear through a whole squad. But at the same time – it’s something no one yet managed to pull off. All but one. A young woman named Mila, who once stepped into the view with three little automaton dolls. But not just any dolls, those dollies moved and acted on their free will! And if that’s not bad, what about the murder that happened in Vilnius? Who was the man? And what were the blueprints he had, the ones that got stolen barely a minute after his death? And who or rather WHAT killed him?

And as the circles are closing in onto the center, the story gets more intense. Mind you, author tends to slightly start each chapter on the far end of it, but just bear with it, every detail is worth something. Thus, as intensity grows, you get many mysteries solved in front of you, and if you’re like me, used to predict things, you’ll be both happy and disappointed. Happy that your deductions went to trash and yet disappointed that you didn’t suspect that, you, the great reader! All in all, book ended up with as many mysteries as it started, all different, of course, but for someone who thought this was a one-book thing – it then turned clear there’ll be sequels.

The book doesn’t truly and fully fit the steampunk genre, but the way it spilled out of the bowl was rather amazing to me. I mean, to those who strictly think steampunk is a Victorian era thing – you might be a bit too picky for this book, but those who understand that steampunk also progressed OUT of Victorian times, if you are also a fan of great alchemy-fantasy – you’ll love this. I can compare it to anime Fullmetal Alchemist for obvious reasons, I can also compare it to games of Syberia (I spelled it correctly, trust me) and many other things, but all in all, this is a perfect piece of an alternative history and I’ll give it 5 out of 5, with pride.

Categories: Books: Everything, Treasures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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