Friday, June 25, 2010
Review: Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer
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]
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!