It's Book Review Wednesday, and I'm so thrilled to be bringing to you the latest in The Great Iron War steampunk series by Dean Wilson. I've reviewed Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, and Book 4 in the series, and I'm stoked to see how we're getting close to the end of the epic adventure!
Every victory is its own defeat. General Rommond's efforts to amass technological superiority over the enemy has resulted in the creation of a weapon that could destroy everything, and a faction just mad enough to use it.
The Armageddon Brigade has awoken from its deep slumber, and it seeks to wake the world with it. Attracting the brightest, and most unstable, of minds, this splinter group of the Resistance has become the greatest thorn in Rommond's side.
The Resistance and the Regime must unite to defeat a foe that answers to neither of them. Yet their deep divisions and long-held suspicions threaten to end the Great Iron War once and for all—by ending everything.
My Review: 4 Stars
As always, Dean sparks our imaginations with his creative use of steam-powered machines. This time, it's steam-powered airplanes!
I enjoyed the latest adventure of Rommond, Jacob, Whistler, and Taberah, with its high stakes, clever dialogue, well-developed characters, and intriguing story. I was thrilled to see the Resistance finally start getting serious about taking the fight to the Iron Empire. I can't wait to read Book 6 and find out how the story ends.
That being said, I had a bit of a harder time with this book than with others. While the previous four gave me a very clear sense of location, I found my mind sort of drifting as he described the aerial battles and particularly their attack on the flying bomber. While his previous machines (Hopebreaker, Lifemaker, Skyshaker, and Landquaker) were all described in excellent detail, we didn't get much description of the bomber airplane. It made it a bit hard for me to visualize what was going on.
But I loved the supporting characters introduced in this book, and the ending was beautifully satisfying. Definitely a good book, but less immersive than the previous ones.
Here's a Taste:
As the Regime and Resistance planes approached the Dreamdevil, it became clear that there would be another problem. On the giant wings of the aeroplane, men and women walked to and fro, as if they were unaware that they were thousands of feet up in the air. More of them clambered out of a hatch on top of the plane, racing up a small ladder placed precariously at the front of the wings. They all had backpacks on, but they did not contain parachutes. They contained wings.
“Hell,” Jacob said. “And I thought flying inside
this thing was bad enough.”
One of the wingwalkers pulled down sharply on the strings attached to his backpack, and the wooden wings unfurled. They opened out like one of the fans used by the royalty of old, thin wooden slats held together with paper. The wings did not look any more durable.
It seemed as though the aerial daredevils were preparing to leap off, but Rommond pushed open the glass canopy of his plane, stood up, and pointed his pistol at one of the wingwalkers. He fired, and the man stumbled backwards off the wing, plummeting to the ground.
Rommond ducked back inside to stabilise his aircraft, pulling the canopy door shut. As he did so, Armax opened fire on the wingwalkers on the other wing, using the monoplane's built-in machine guns. The bullets struck several wingwalkers, but they also struck the wing and hull of the plane itself.
“For God's sake, don't shoot!” Rommond cried. “The last thing we need right now is a spray of bullets flying towards that bomb.”
“But you just—”
“I know what I did, and I know what I'm doing,” Rommond barked. “If you can fire a perfect shot with a pistol, then fire away. Otherwise, keep your gun muzzled, and your mouth too.”
The moment came, and the first of the wingwalkers leapt off. Some dove, opening their wings as they fell, while others let the wind catch their already unfurled feathers, drifting and floating with the aerial tide.
“Here they come,” Jacob said.
One of the wingwalkers raced towards him, but he turned sharply to get out of the way. He could see others heading for the other planes, but his mirror showed that his own attacker was also turning to catch him.
Jacob veered right, then left, but the wingwalker was more agile than his aircraft, following it with ease. While he turned sharply, his assailant turned agilely, and it was clear from the controlled folding and unfurling of the wooden feathers that the Armageddon Brigade had tested them thoroughly.
The wingwalker closed on him, so much so that he could see the man's grin in the mirror. Then he heard the cheer of Armax on the radio, and saw his comrade fly his plane straight into the wingwalker, crushing it like a fly against a windscreen.
“Too easy!” Armax boasted. “You should've made windshield wipers on these!”
As Jacob dove, he saw another wingwalker diving towards Whistler's plane, but the boy performed a swift barrel roll to avoid it, and it flew onwards to seek out an easier target. Then another came, this time from the side, but Whistler performed another roll, striking the aerial acrobat with the wing of his plane. The man fell, dazed, and his feathers fluttered and broke apart in his descent. Yet Whistler had little time to celebrate, for another wingwalker managed to land upon the edge of his wing. He tumbled again, but the wingwalker held on, and the boy was getting dizzy.
“Hold on, kid,” Jacob said over the radio as he flew down to slightly above the same height. He could see Whistler looking back at him, and looking anxiously at the wingwalker clambering up the wing. He turned sharply on his side, sending the attacker sliding down, but he never tumbled off, always seizing the edge just in time. Yet this constant throwing helped bide the boy some time as Jacob's aeroplane approached.
“He won't fall off,” Whistler said.
“I'll need you to keep it steady,” Jacob replied.
“I'm trying to shake him!”
Whistler must have had a lot of trust in Jacob, because he immediately steadied his aircraft, giving the wingwalker a level footing towards the cockpit. The man closed up his wings and ran, but even as he neared the glass canopy, Jacob's plane flew in, and the wing narrowly passed over the airfoil of Whistler's vessel, knocking the wingwalker off. They watched as he tried to open his feathers in the drop, but plummeted instead.
About the Author:
Dean F. Wilson was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1987. He started writing at age 11, when he began his first (unpublished) novel, entitled The Power Source. He won a TAP Educational Award from Trinity College Dublin for an early draft of The Call of Agon (then called Protos Mythos) in 2001.
He is the author of the Children of Telm epic fantasy trilogy and the Great Iron War steampunk series.
Dean also works as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, VR-Zone, ITProPortal, TechRadar Pro, and The Inquirer
Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GK94YYC/
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