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Steampunk is Dead: (Book Two) (The Feedback Loop 2) Kindle Edition
|Length: 341 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Going along with the adventure is most of the fun in this type of book, so I will try not to include any spoilers in this review. Needless to say, Quantum has moved out of the feedback loop which he was previously trapped; in book one. He now faces an even more difficult world, more powerful nemesis, and more lasting relationships. All this culminates into a light-hearted tromp onto a science fiction subgenre involving Steampunk; a world called Steam. I’m not a huge steampunk fan, but I enjoyed all the new experiences, machines, and limitations one faced in this type of world. Steam everywhere, unique weapons, and ultimate flying machines galore. Add to this the quite exclusive clothing comprised of leather everywhere, tight corsets, high heels, googles, and yes; so much steam. This is a different world for our main character and he has to put his trust in others to survive. From start to finish, the book maintains the original cyberpunk feel of the first, but on top of all that there is so much steampunk; which is not a bad thing.
As with the first book, the author does a superb job of weaving in modern humor and puns that those who game clearly get, and others will still find funny. There are also a number of included references or saying from the 80’s and 90s periods often hard to miss. I often found myself laughing out loud at a few of the one-liners, quips, and snarky comments the author threw into the storyline. I will say, I was happy that the author did not abuse or misuse them as some authors have in the genre. I also found it thought-provoking that it was often difficult for Quantum to distinguish the differences between the many virtual worlds from the real world. Things had changed so much while he was trapped in the Feedback Loop that the physical world, with all of its advancements, became so much like one of the many virtual ones. Did I mention the interesting clothing? I did, but I found this aspect of the book fascinating because I’m not one who fully comprehended this subgenre before listening to this book.
Quantum has not changed much from the first book. He packs the same cocky attitude of shooting first and ask questions later. His first thought it to apply a level of violence to any situation, but his friends have to show him there are other ways of solving one’s issues before doing any harm. We have an expanded inventory from the first as Quantum has acquired a few new toys. I thought the technology penalty to one’s life counter in Steam was an interesting twist. You could bring in any weapon type, but if it was not powered by steam, your health would diminish the moment you began to use it. Who would not like to have a steampunked cat as a pet? Quantum is still focused on the many glories of food options he has in both the physical and virtual worlds. However, with the FDA now the enforcer of preventing obesity, he has to find ways of enjoying his latest passion of food and drink.
Let me turn to the audio narration. As stated earlier, Jeff Hays is the narrator I measure all the other narrators I listen to against. He is the standards setter when it comes to audiobook narration. He even hosts a Twitch channel where one can watch him performing his narration; give it a watch some time. You cannot go wrong if you are looking for someone that puts in the extra effort making a book come to life than Jeff does. The work is polished, professional, read with a passion, and as with all his other works, he flawlessly is able to maintain the many different characters and keep them distinct and interesting. There were no noticeable audio artifacts detected while listening, no swallows, clicks, page turns, etc.
As with the first, a note to parents and young readers, this book contains vulgar language, sexual references along with some innuendos, and at times elements of crude humor. The language used in this book is a bit stronger and flowing then what was used in the first book. So, if these are a concern, I would recommend you find a different book series to enjoy.
In summary, the second book in the series is well worth your time and Audible credit. It is more polished, more exciting, and more of everything that made the first book so much fun. After listening to the first book, I dove right into the second book and devoured it nearly as quickly. I’m looking forward to the third book, which I will be reviewing shortly. I’m sure it is also just as well done as the first two.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
This Kindle e-book was approximately 218 printed pages and sold for $2.27 at time of writing this review.
Please Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I'd strongly advise anyone thinking of reading this second book in the series, to read "The Feedback Loop" first. This second instalment will make little sense without knowledge contained in the initial book.
General Theme (minor spoilers)
Our hero, Quantum Hughes, has finally returned to the real world after several years trapped in an endless loop of the virtual world of 'Cyber Noir'. As happy as he is to have finally escaped, he begins to slowly realize he misses some of the people and 'situations', associated with his now-defunked fantasy setting. In essence he misses the ongoing excitement of his old territory. Well fear not, his period of boredom is about to end for he's about to enter the fantasy world of steampunk and all the trappings it entails.
Some thoughts on "Steampunk is Dead"...
1.) well written (brilliantly written in many areas... see below) and edited.
2.) many exciting encounters, graphically described.
3.) action... almost the entire last quarter of this book is non-stop action and mayhem.
4.) vocabulary and diction... I don't think I've ever read another author with the endless variety of vocabulary and terminology that Harmon Cooper possesses.
5.) humour... many snickers and chuckles, and even several laugh out loud moments.
I liked this book, but not as much as the first... I'll tell you why in a moment.
But first, this is a really different book with an exceptional hero in the character of Quantum Hughes... a character whose verbosity, when you initially meet him has you thinking to yourself... 'this guy is manic'. But not so. As author Cooper explains in his back-of-the-book notes...
' <... you’ve like(ly) noticed my obsession with word play and unique words. We share a language that increases in vastness daily... >'
He (the author) has has taken great pains to present the reader with a plethora of odd words and word-plays... a vocabulary of unique and singularly used, in what only could be called, diction experiences. And what is the truly amazing, is that none of these words or devices are used more than once... AND they fit the situation in which they occur. Incredible, considering the book is filled with these occurrences from start to finish.
And now, back to my first statement, why I liked this book less than the first. Simply put, I felt the end sequence was a bit over the top... just too busy. Where just a little less might have been better. Kind of reminded me of a keystone cops caper... even silly at some points. A person and subjective opinion on my part I realize... others I'm sure will differ.
As it is... 4 1/2 Stars.
The inclusion of many of the characters from the first book, in a different context and different relationships with the main character for many of them, really worked well. The main character's struggle with the recent changes in his life added an excellent dimension to the story line. The contrast between virtual worlds and the real world nicely echoed some of the themes that I have been comparing between the 4th book in the Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the short story "The Circular Ruins" by Jeorge Borges. This book also asks the question of what truly is reality and hints at the questions; do we just make our own reality? Do we actually exist anywhere other than in a virtual sense, whether it be in our own imaginations, or inside a computer?
I would have liked the story line to have resolved itself to a better point before the end of this book, as it does a bit of cliff-hanger type of thing, but I look forward to reading the next in the series.