The Last Will and Testament of Captain Nemo by Mary Schlegel

captain nemo

About the Book:

From the tragedy of The Little Mermaid, and the mystery of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, comes the truth that ties them both together: the story of the love that saved a life and started a war, of the quest that became an obsession…of the seaman who, for love of a mermaid, became a legend.


My Review:

This short novella was recommended by another author, so I decided to check it out. I quickly found that it has so much to offer! It is a fantastically imagined mash-up of two stories we all think we know: The Little Mermaid and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Schlegel managed to blend the beautifully melodic cadence of the classics from which this story springs with a steampunk-like twist to bring fresh, new life to the old tales.

And though it is a quick read (Around a half an hour, unless you keep getting interrupted like I was. Grrrrrr!!!!),  you get sucked into the story world so quickly that it feels more than complete. It’s a terrific after work wind-down read or bedtime story.

I’m glad I grabbed a copy, and I’d highly recommend you get your own! Great read from an author I look forward to reading again. 🙂

 

Advertisements

Tainted by Morgan L. Busse

Tainted-Hi_Res-Cover

What Happens When Your Soul Dies?

From the publisher: “Kat Bloodmayne is one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. But she carries a secret: she can twist the natural laws of life. She has no idea where this ability came from, only that every time she loses control and unleashes this power, it kills a part of her soul. If she doesn’t find a cure soon, her soul will die and she will become something else entirely.

“After a devastating personal loss, Stephen Grey leaves the World City Police Force to become a bounty hunter. He believes in justice and will stop at nothing to ensure criminals are caught and locked up. However, when Kat Bloodmayne shows up in his office seeking his help, his world is turned upside down.

“Together they search World City and beyond for a doctor who can cure Kat. But what they discover on the way goes beyond science and into the dark sphere of magic.”

So, this was my first foray into the steampunk sub-genre, and I’m sure glad I started with this one! What made the book great was that the steampunk elements did not overwhelm the story, did not hijack the tale as I assumed they would. Instead of steampunk practically being a character in its own right, the elements enhanced the plot in (most often) subtle ways. And the story was awesome – it began with a fascinating premise (“What happens when your soul dies?”) and grew into a powerful tale of love, loss, trust, and truth.

Morgan Busse is a marvelous writer. She must be if she’s made me want to be a steampunk fan 😉 If you’ve never tried steampunk, start here. If you are a huge fan of the genre, Tainted is also for you. I highly recommend it. Book two, Awakened, is supposed to be released sometime this Spring, and I’m very excited to grab a copy and see what happens in the next part of the adventure. 🙂

**Special Note: I received a copy of this book (along with many others) as a winner of the Christian Book Box, sponsored by authors Charles Franklin and Mandy Fender. If you head over to their websites (just click  on their names), you can enter to win your own book box and be blessed with a plethora of books by Christian authors and other goodies. I got the box last November and am still being blessed by it 🙂 **

The Book of Esther by Emily Barton

untitled

When Esther bat Josephus, daughter of the kender of the Khazar Kaganate, discovers that Germania has invaded her homeland, she knows that she must do something to help stop them. So she and her adopted brother, Itakh, set out on a perilous journey to find a group of mysterious Kabbalists, hope for her people, and a higher purpose for herself.

I really did like this book, but at the same time, it kind of grated on my nerves. First of all, it felt like it took me forever to finish this book. I know that was partly me – there was a significant gap in my background knowledge that would’ve made for a much smoother read. But also, large swaths of the book seemed to just move slowly, bogged down with detail – detail that was necessary for the overall story, but thick nonetheless.

And Esther, frankly, annoyed me at times. She cared so much more for the feelings of her mechanical horse and the golems than she ever seemed to for the people she was trying to save, that I questioned why she felt the need to save them at all. She wanted to have it all her way, no matter who she hurt in the process, and that made me rather unsympathetic to her.

Yet, even with that, I was strangely fascinated by The Book of Esther, and how Barton fused this crazy combination of steampunk, fantasy, and counterfactual Jewish history to make a somewhat modern retelling of the story of Queen Esther helping to save her people from destruction.

I can’t recommend you run right out and buy a copy when the book is released next week, but you might want to check it out from your local library and tuck in for a read.

Thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂