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Luminous Chaos: A Novel (The Mysteries of New Venice) Hardcover – October 15, 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

New Venice, 1907. Brentford Orsini, who played a key role in the Arctic city’s liberation from its oppressive rulers, is asked to undertake a vital mission: assemble a team to travel to Paris and help the French government deal with an unseasonably cold winter. But the team’s conveyance, the nifty but rather temperamental “psychomotive,” suffers a malfunction and deposits Brentford et al in 1895, before the founding of New Venice, which means that even if they can somehow make their way home, there’s no home to get to. Not to mention the fact that, in Paris, they uncover a terrorist plot that might be engineered by the very people who would later found New Venice. If none of this makes sense, don’t panic: this sequel to the steampunk adventure Aurorarama (2010) explains itself as it goes along, and, anyway, the storytelling is so thrilling, the characters so captivating, that you won’t even notice that, at times (especially in the early chapters), you’re not entirely sure what’s going on. A clever, exceedingly well-written adventure. --David Pitt


Praise for Aurorama:

Selected for Io9's 'Ten recent science fiction books that make great gifts'

"He is funny, intelligent, lyrically precise, and frequently self-aware." —JAMES WOOD, The New Yorker

"Aurorarama is a magnificent achievement, balancing serious intent with arch humour. It's also beautifully stylish, replete with inventive steampunk iconography and fantastical characters in a stunning polar setting." —The Guardian

"Aurorarama mesmerizes." —Bookforum

"The novel glides on silver skates from the surreal to the absurd to the languorously decadent ... New Venice is irresistible." —LAURA MILLER, Salon

"Aurorarama is perhaps what Jules Verne would write if woken from the dead and offered a dose of mushrooms. An enjoyable amalgam of thriller, fantasy, and polar adventure, topped off with a sprinkling of anarchist intrigue." —The National

"Marvelous, perfect, and perfectly marvelous!... I can hardly wait for its sequels." —PAUL DI FILIPPO, The Barnes and Noble Review

"The most noteworthy contribution to steampunk in almost two decades." —Pornokitsch

"Combining Arctic adventure with Victorian fantasy, this page-turner is as sparkling and colorful as the northern lights." —The San Francisco Chronicle

"Aurorarama entrances and delights. You could spend years picking apart the sly references and the particular myths, poems, novels and songs that inspired Valtat, or you can simply enjoy it for the experience." —JESSA CRISPIN, NPR

"Aurorarama tells a tale of political intrigue (secret police! Eskimos! Prisoner-esque hovering airship!) with some truly lyrical prose." —io9

"A terrific storyteller, Valtat mixes humor and poetry, romance and politics into a surprisingly thoughtful page-turner about social revolution." —MATTHEW JAKUBOWSKI, Paste Magazine

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Product Details

  • Series: The Mysteries of New Venice
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161219141X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612191416
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,488,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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I haven't finished it yet, but it's great. I was worried the plot would be too different from the first book and I'd have to start all over again getting interested, but all the favorite characters are there and the transition of plot not only works super-well, but it tells the story you've wanted to hear from the first book. It's a real masterpiece of magical reality and history. The word choices are wonderful. I highly recommend it. Reading the first book before this one is pretty important, though. It's not a stand-along, and as a lover of Valtat's story and work, I wouldn't want it to be.
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I read Aurorama on a whim, and while I enjoyed it, I wouldn't say it was one of my favorite books. However, I liked it enough to want to read the next volume, and I'm very glad I did! Luminous Chaos is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, not only in narrative, but in style, as well. I often found myself stopping to wonder at the fact that someone who doesn't speak English as a first language is able to turn a phrase as masterfully as Valtat. Honestly, this would be worth reading just to revel in his prose, so the fact that the story is so engaging (and intricate) is almost a bonus. If I had one complaint, it's that things get even more convoluted than with your typical time travel conundrum, but the turn-of-the-century Paris that Valtat portrays is one I was as hesitant to leave as some of the characters in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and will now be anxiously awaiting the next volume.
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