Predictably, another series I haven’t gotten around to completing.
A retro review from June 16, 2009. I’m not working on other things — ’cause I’m holding an icebag on my face following some pre-Halloween surgery (with Dr. Frankenstein-like stitches).
Review: The Affinity Bridge, George Mann, 2009.
The first in a promised series of Newbury and Hobbes investigation, this is an enjoyable steampunk mystery.
For those unfamiliar with steampunk, don’t think an alternate history. Think an alternate aesthetic centering around Victorian electric and steam technology taken to levels not seen in our world (and usually impossible to have ever been seen in our world).
While Newbury is a student of the occult, this book is more about the sort of odd, baroque technologies you want in steampunk — airships, brass automatons, bizarre medical devices, and nifty weapons – rather than magic. While I might have wanted a bit more description of the fog-shrouded London of November 1901 where Victoria still reigns, Mann still does a good job building the atmosphere with descriptions – especially in the action packed final third of the book.
Newbury and Hobbes are well done, believable characters. Mann doesn’t make Veronica Hobbes a warrior babe. While a romance may be brewing between the two, Mann makes it seem credible and not a hackneyed mystery cliché.
The mystery itself, while not wholly surprising in its details, is novel enough not to be boring. The villians are both clever and credible. The main plot threads are wrapped neatly up though some matters are left unresolved, presumably to be dealt with later in the series
The novel has some sinister undertones to it. The prolonged reign of Victoria may not be a blessing.