As seen on Stumptown Books
I don't feel qualified to write a review for this. It's a real
book - it transcends being labeled as "fantasy." And that makes me throw up my hands soothingly and say, "I didn't mean it, you know better, trust what they say over there!" I'm going to try to put down how I felt about it but I find it very hard.
First thing, both covers are gorgeous, and the one I had (the yellow and black) helped me understand what the hell he was talking about when it came to describing the "clock work book." Angelmaker
is written beautifully. The language is emotive and evocative. A few times I found myself wanting to read aloud certain paragraphs to whomever was in the room at the time, exclaiming over how pretty it was. The language and structure is so advanced, in fact, that anytime I actually got a reference I would be so proud of myself for understanding what he was talking about. I would then immediately feel stupid because that meant there were dozens of other references going right over my head. I also never understood "the apprehension engine" nor how it was transmitted by bees. Say what? How do you make someone an angel with bees again? I think I'm missing something here.
I actually didn't mind the shifting narratives, and I quite enjoyed Edie's sordid past. I think I liked the flashbacks more than the current events actually. You give me one big baddie with the awesome name "The Opium Khan," and I can picture him and know he is evil, and that is that. But the main story got so convoluted with bad guys and good guys and then THE BIG REVEAL at the end had me shrugging my shoulders with apathy. The best words I've heard applied to the characters is "Dickensian plotting." Which is really just perfect, because every character that you meet in the first 400 pages is guaranteed to show up for the big finish. Every side story is wrapped up conveniently in the denouement.
Unfortunately, I didn't think it was funny. At all. Like, I never even cracked a smile. Maybe it was because of all those references going over my head, or maybe it's because I don't really understand British humor, but I didn't even know it was considered a comedy until I read through some other reviews upon finishing it.
As a nerd, I find it my duty to watch through nerd shows. If you name any Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, I can probably rattle off a quick synopsis, or vice versa. So last year I decided I really need to see what all this hoop-la about Dr. Who is about. It is now a year later and I am only now finishing up season 2, because I find the show completely unbearable. No matter what happens, it is always, as I have come to call it, Dr.Who-ex-machina, or Deus-ex-Dr.Who, depending on my mood. A wave of the sonic screwdriver and all is fixed. Not to mention that all he has to do is show up and every woman for 10 miles around swoons and wishes she were as lucky as Rose Tyler.
Ok, I know, this isn't a review of Dr. Who, and yes, I am going to continue watching the series because I really REALLY want to understand why people like it so much. But if you, like me, are perhaps not the biggest Dr. Who fan, then you will understand why I didn't like Angelmaker
. It also probably works the other way I'm guessing, in that if you love Dr. Who, you would probably love Angelmaker
. The same tropes appear, and that is why I have begun to suspect I just don't get it because it's British. Joe Spork magically saves us with some sort of mechanical miracle that I still don't completely understand. He's a clueless nobody with nothing but good intentions, but he manages to bag the hottest girl around, with very little preamble except, "Amazing sex, you are now my life partner."
Man oh man, Polly Cradle: the love interest. She was so perfect, she became a caricature of herself. How convenient that she falls in love with our reluctant hero when neither one of them does anything the least bit romantic. She is basically around to convince us, the readers, that Joe Spork is in fact turning into a man. I'm not convinced, and Polly telling me it is so does not make it so.
This book will speak to the right person. I, however, just didn't get it.