Orphan is just that – an orphan. But he loves his girlfriend, Lucy, and he has his mentor, Gilgamesh, to guide him through his Victorian world. But when Gilgamesh disappears and Lucy is killed in a terrorist attack, supposedly committed by the Bookman, Orphan longs for revenge and a way to get Lucy back. The Bookman offers him this, but soon Orphan realizes that nothing is as simple as he thinks, and that perhaps everyone is lying to him.
This was a very interesting read. It’s set in a steampunk world where the ruling family of Britain are Les Lezards, in short not human at all, and there are automatons and other various mechanical elements sprinkled about. It made sense to me internally, which was good, and I liked seeing how the author chose to mix actual British history with fictional history. I really liked the origins of the mechanics, how the author used real historical figures as inventors. I also liked when they popped up in the narrative. Jules Verne makes a nice lengthy appearance.
As far as the story was concerned, I was less engaged than I should have been. Whether this was the book’s fault or mine I’m not entirely sure, but I had trouble really immersing myself in the book. I was mildly interested in Orphan’s plight but I think it was all just a little too much to take in. Orphan was constantly learning new things and going new places – there is no time for a reader’s brain to rest. Plus, part of it took place on a ship, which we all know doesn’t really work all that well for me. I struggled to really care about Orphan. I felt like I didn’t have much of a chance to know him before his life got chaotic and the plot took the story away. The story had a lot of twists and turns and I actually didn’t predict the big surprise, but I think someone who is more accustomed to actually guessing the ends of books would have more luck!
The Bookman is definitely a good read for anyone who is interested in trying steampunk or has a lot of experience with it. For the rest of us, I think it’s best to take it a bit more slowly than I did and let the world sink in even though you want to race through and see what happens next.
I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the publisher for review.