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Gears of Wonderland (steampunk fantasy) Kindle Edition
|Length: 224 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I've started reading this because of "Alice in Wonderland" connection, kind of a theme phase I got myself into at the beginning of the year. And it was on my "to read this year" list.
Beginning is kind of annoying. You got a guy who basically is a pushover. He's got abusing boss, annoying fiance and he's only friend gets killed by a random guy. That was when I stopped reading this book the first time. Luckily I decided to finish it, because from this moment on things get interesting.
James is pushed into Wonderland which is not a kid-friendly place anymore. He's being hunted by his friend's killer (an assassin robot sent by the 'king' himself) and kidnapped by the resistance. As the story goes on you will meet characters known from Caroll's books and see Wonderland how it became after last visit of an outsider.
From the moment James got to Wonderland I just couldn't stop reading. Story is well written and interesting. I hope there's going to be some kind sequel, because I really enjoyed it.
James Riggs has a lousy girlfriend and a lousy job. But, as he soon discovers, things can get so much worse. He witnesses his oldest friend murdered at the hands of a hulking assailant, and narrowly avoids becoming the next victim when a mysterious man in white pushes him down a hole. He ends up in a strange Victorian city, and is informed by a gun-toting woman named Kara that it's actually Wonderland. He thought it was just a book, but it's all too real. Unfortunately, the place has kinda gone to hell since Alice visited. The queen has been assassinated, and her evil son Lahire has seen fit to become king and enforce his own vision of a perfect Wonderland by any means necessary. James must join up with the resistance in order to depose Lahire, get the girl and fulfill his destiny.
I really liked Gears of Wonderland. It has a gripping plot and compelling characters. Steampunk and Wonderland might seem like an unlikely pairing, but Anderson pulls it off and makes it look easy. While there are typos here and there, Anderson makes up for it by building upon Wonderland lore and literally humanizing the characters (Caterpillar and White Rabbit are now people). He presents a fleshed-out world you'd actually want to visit (after Lahire is gone, natch).
Go pick up Gears of Wonderland from the Kindle store. For $2.99, it's a good value.
To avoid spoilers I do not want to discuss the plot but I will just say that this one is a page turner. Even during scenes that are not "action-oriented" Mr. Anderson keeps the reader interested and his unique view of Wonderland keeps the reader surprised and guessing at every turn. He creates characters that the reader cares about and cheers for and although the story line is resolved he leaves enough up to the reader's imagination and lays the groundwork for a possible sequel. I can easily see a fascinating story developing from James's further adventures in Wonderland as he (semi-spoiler) comes to terms with his new life there.
I read it on my Kindle and by 3% in, the story was off and running in a fast-paced ride. Jason is a gifted storyteller and the way that he wove threads was impressive. And while the story overtly references Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this is a very different story. The Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit and the Heart Kingdom are all here. But what I enjoyed the most are the new characters created by the author. The main character, James, is a very likeable guy who seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and finds himself caught up in major conflict. I also really enjoyed Kara, the female lead character. Jason created a gritty female character (the daughter of the Mad Hatter) and she is a great counterpoint to James.
The author also created some wonderful contraptions such as the flying machines and robots that add great Steampunk detail to this story.
My only complaint is that the story seemed to lag for me toward the end and I wanted less description there and more action to pull me on toward the end. But the ending itself was satisfying and I think ends in such a way that the author has left himself room for a second book with these great characters.
I've read quite a few self-pubbed books in 2011 and this is at the top of my list as one of the most well-written (and well formatted and edited) books of the Year of the Indie. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.