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Camera Obscura (Angry Robot) Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Angry Robot
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857660942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857660947
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,504,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lavie Tidhar’s Camera Obscura is not so much a sequel to his generally impressive steampunk novel, The Bookman, as it is a continuation of events in the world presented in that debut. While the locale is different and no characters brought forward, this work retains all the nuances of the first novel and improves upon most of them."
- Alan Cranis, www.bookgasm.com

"Although I recommend reading The Bookman first (simply because it is one great Steampunk novel),  it is not essential for understanding Camera Obscura. Lavie Tidhar’s latest novel is highly enjoyable on its own." -www.daily-steampunk.com

"Camera Obscura raised the Lesards series to a must for me... I am truly curious where Lavie Tidhar will take it next." - Liviu Suciu, Fantasy Book Critic

About the Author

Lavie Tidhar has quickly established a name for himself as a short fiction writer of note, and he's now moved to writing novels, debuting with The Bookman. He has travelled widely, living variously in South Africa, the UK, and the remote island-nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, but is currently resident in Israel. The author lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Customer Reviews

Couldn't get into this book and gave up at about page 75.
Ron
This book seemed to provide a good stand alone story; but I am sure I missed some background by not reading the first novel in the series.
Karissa Eckert
It's just insane to try to watch a character as crazy as her go about her detective work when her flaws never make any sense.
Nolian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Liviu C. Suciu on April 26, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
INTRODUCTION: Before reading The Bookman, I have heard of Lavie Tidhar in connection with his short fiction published in various places, so the fact that I enjoyed quite a lot his debut novel of last year was not surprising. When the second novel in his steampunk alt-history milieu was announced with totally different characters and set mostly in France this time, I was a bit apprehensive since I really liked Orphan and the cast of The Bookman.

"How will the books connect, will the series keep cohesiveness, will the milieu stand expansion?" - were several of the questions I was thinking about when I read the blurb below:

"CAN'T FIND A RATIONAL EXPLANATION TO A MYSTERY? CALL IN THE QUIET COUNCIL. The mysterious and glamorous Lady De Winter is one of their most valuable agents. A despicable murder inside a locked and bolted room on the Rue Morgue in Paris is just the start. This whirlwind adventure will take Milady to the highest and lowest parts of that great city - and cause her to question the very nature of reality itself. "

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I liked the author's debut The Bookman for its many references to popular 19th century culture, the imaginative steampunk setting and the main character Orphan, though I found it lacking balance on occasion. Camera Obscura which is set in the same milieu some 3 years later but features mostly completely different characters and takes place largely in France's sort-of republican society as opposed to the Imperial Britain of Les Lesards - sort-of since AI's as embodied in the Council lead there after the Quiet Revolution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Kinkade on July 8, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have a few problems with an otherwise strong story. First--de Winter is not a very likable character. She callously bullies her way through murder investigations she may or may not even have jurisdiction over. She threatens people, she destroys evidence, and is so intent on getting answers she has the body of one of the murder victims mutilated and forces the dead woman's daughter to look at it to shock her into coughing up what she knows. She never shows any remorse for these actions. Therefore, when Milady is brutally tortured later in the story, I did not feel bad for her.

Also, the exact nature of the Council she works for is never explained. They clearly wield power of some kind but Tidhar doesn't let us in on it. From start to finish they are mostly a group of amoral Illuminati types barking orders. The story is told from the point of view of their best agent, so I don't see why she couldn't take a paragraph to sum it up for us.
Another problem, albeit one that is not directly tied in with the plot, is Tidhar's habit of having the next character speak while still on the same paragraph. Milady will finish speaking, and another person will immediately say something on the very same line. Since you can still tell when another character begins speaking, it's not confusing so much as jarring. Still, it comes off as unprofessional (at least, to me).

If you can get past all that, you'll find an engaging narrative filled with colorful characters. Throughout her journey, Milady encounters, in one form or another, a spattering of historical and literary figures, such as Victor von Frankenstein, Nikola Tesla, the Marquis de Sade, Dr. Moreau and Buffalo Bill Cody. The locales in the story are even more compelling. From 19th century Paris, to an underwater city, to the Chicago World's Fair, I'd say these places are the real star of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 28, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar is a fascinating steampunk novel. I read this novel as an e-galley without having read the previous novel, Bookman. The book stood well on its own; however, I am sure that I missed some finer points of the story for having missed the previous book. Camera Obscura is a story of individuals, and the larger world, under siege from something that most people are unaware of even existing.

Lady de Winters works for an underground government, the Council, doing their dirty work. On the job investigating a murder, she discovers a strange grey infection that is reanimating the dead. No one is telling anyone else everything they know about the infection, the murders or the missing object. However, everyone wants to find a special object that is at the heart of the infection. But just what is the object? Is it a living creature, machine, key, or something no one can imagine? Why does everyone what it so badly and what are their plans for it? In addition, what are the plans of that object or those that made it? There is also the murderous former agent the Phantom who is torturing and killing women, who De Winter is compelled to stop despite it being outside her orders.

The characters in Camera Obscura are engaging and well explored, with hints of characters that you might think you now. Because of se new flavors to old names, there was the occasional feel of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which was made even stronger by the steampunk elements. There was a little bit of a Doctor Who feel to the story as well mainly found in the combination of the fantastic accepted with a practicality that is often present in that series . References to nineteenth century literature and culture abound, which made the story that much more interesting to me.
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