Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer

Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer

Rating:  3/5

Source: review copy provided by the publisher

Imprisoned aboard a zeppelin floating high above a steampunk metropolis, greeting card writer Harold Winslow is composing his memoir. His companions are the only woman he has ever loved and the cryogenically frozen body of her father, the devilish genius Prospero Taligent.

Amidst a world where deserted islands exist within skyscrapers, where the well-heeled have mechanical men for servants, and where the world of fairy tales can be built from scratch, Harold Winslow heads toward a final, desperate confrontation with the mad inventor. And all the while, he is an unwitting participant in the creation of the greatest invention of them all - the perpetual motion machine. [book blurb]

My Thoughts:
This was a strange book.

None of the characters were particularly appealing; from the unlikable Harold Winslow, to the spoiled and unhappy Miranda, to Harold's unpleasant sister Astrid, to the mad genius Prospero Taligent. All of these were interesting characters, but I couldn't find anyone to root for or care about. Yet despite that, I couldn't stop reading either.

Harold is the narrator, and he shares his life story with us while trapped aboard the zeppelin. He has no one but Miranda's voice for company, as the ship is staffed with mechanical men. He refuses to speak to Miranda, ignoring her pleas, and despite constant search, Harold cannot locate her hiding place.

We learn about Harold's childhood and how he first met Miranda. Then fast forward to when they briefly met again as adults. The last part deals with how Harold wound up as a prisoner on the zeppelin. Very strange, but also strangely interesting.

Gave this a 3/5 rating as while I didn't love it, it was still readable and I wanted to know what happened next. This was my first steampunk novel, but won't be my last. Now I'm curious about the genre, and want to explore it more in depth. Was different than my usual type of book, and different is always good.

Please let me know if you've read this book, as I'd love to hear what you thought! And if you have any steampunk recommendations you think I might enjoy, would love to hear those as well!

Happy reading!


  1. Someone added this to their Friday Finds post today.

    I don't do steampunk, not interested.

    Reading with Tequila has read a few.

  2. Oh dear, I so loved the cover of this, not too sure I'd enjoy the book though.

  3. Marce - This was my first steampunk and have to admit that I'm now intrigued. Not sure how much I'll like the genre, but it's peaked my curiousity. :)

    Petty Witer - I'm a sucker for cool covers too, and this one is kind of eye catching!

  4. For some reason I'm finding myself becoming addicted to books that while enjoyable don't have any likeable characters. There is something so wonderous about that combination. Great review.

  5. Thanks for participating in The Saturday Network!

    Ouch, those sound like EXTREMELY annoying characters to me. I know what you mean about those rare books that you still can't stop reading though, lol. Great review!

  6. Ryan - It is fascinating, isn't it?

    Jenn - Thanks Jenn!

  7. Good review and although it may not have been an incredible read you were fair in your comments. I do admire the cover and I'd be tempted to buy it just for that.

    thanks for the heads up on the book.

  8. sounds interesting! I like the steampunk angle even though it does sound a bit strange!

  9. I have been curious about this book, but yet not 100% convinced to go get it yet. Thanks for the review. That does sound like a strange combination of not really liking or connecting with the characters yet still not being able to stop reading. :)

  10. PK Reeves - Thank you! I try to be fair and explain why I did or didn't care for a book. This one wasn't bad, just different than what I'm used to.

    Carrie - I'm definitely interested in exploring steampunk now!

    Melissa - It was oddly compelling, so while I didn't love it, I still liked it well enough. If you do decide to read it, will be interested in comparing notes!

  11. I've never heard of steampunk before. :) I guess I am behind.