I confess I am a little uncertain the rules and regulations of blogging. However, I am going to give this a try. With that in mind I will make an attempt to post on Wednesdays – hopefully on a weekly basis. And since I have been reading books of late, I thought I could start with a book review. Here is my Doomsday Vault review.
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The Doomsday Vault
by Steven Harper
What I thought I was getting was a Steampunk adventure with a bit of romance in the background – perhaps a bit trashy, but less so than the other softcover Steampunk novels I was looking at. What I got was a book about zombies and clockwork automatons.
First, I hate zombies in practically every form. There are very few exceptions to this rule and this book is not one of them. Not only that, but when you try to explain the formation of zombies it always sounds a bit silly. I suppose I should concede that germ theory did come into play around the mid-1800s. And viruses were discovered by the 1890s. Though, no one in 1857 knew that bacteria caused disease and they certainly did not suspect viruses of infecting bacteria. So when they tried to claim the cause was bacterial and the cure a virus, I was offended by this point of science. I was also unimpressed that the same bacteria which caused some people to become mindless, flesh-eating zombies also caused a select few to become super-geniuses.
Second, the romance between a twenty-two female and eighteen year old boy did not sit well. The boy was simply too boyish for the woman. So the age difference came across poorly for me. This could also have something to do with personal biases. But they played up the boy as a kid when we first meet him and the woman as a mature old maid. Face it; boys of eighteen are still kids.
Third, I don’t like humanoid automatons. They are far too complex. To have technology that is still far beyond what exists today and is supposedly created more than 150 years ago is past my suspension of disbelief. Perhaps that is unfair. I could accept one or two pieces of advanced technology, but when everything exists – from wireless communications, to dirigibles, to complex automatons (including birds that record voices, humanoids that act in every capacity of servant, and a collection of huge mechanical suits), to horseless carriages – I struggle to see the time period. Also, where is the energy source for all this equipment? It is certainly not steam.
Finally, and by far most importantly, the writing was less than brilliant. The narrative was rough in several sections, particularly when modern cursing came into play. This is supposed to be a period piece, written in Victorian England, so please write like it belongs in that time. I suppose the main female was supposed to show the restraints of the period, the social obligations and restrictions. But her conflicts seemed contrived at best. Her struggle to fit into society and her strong desire to break convention were not a compelling tale. Her fiancé was clearly designed to be evil for no good reason. Also, the ending was ridiculously silly – her Aunt manipulated everything! Oh dear.
This may be the first book in a series, but is going to be the last book I read.