Friday, June 17, 2011

Review of STEAM QUEEN by Jack Hessey

2 of 5 stars

STEAM QUEEN is a steam punk novel about a group of mercenaries aboard a steam engine who are tricked into serving in a war with a maniacal general. The war is between the traditional Steamers and the up and coming Dieslers and the fate of Europe is dependent on the outcome of the war. Both leaders have no compunction about using weapons of mass destruction in order to win. It's an intriguing premise and I was excited to read this book.

The main character, Erica, is forced to serve as a mercenary aboard the STEAM QUEEN because of the trouble she has caused in her hometown. Her father, for whom she has a deep love, is the only one she will listen to about curtailing her antics, but even he's at the end of his rope with her. It’s either get out of town or go to jail.  Unfortunately, I found Erica unlikeable, a sociopath, with no redeeming qualities. Granted she had some horrendous experiences as a child with bullies, but I would have expected to see some shift in her personality as the book went on.  Instead she ramped up her "punishments" as the story unfolded and her acts of aggression become more and more gruesome. As a reader, I found I didn’t care what happened to her as the book went on. The plot is intriguing, but once again there is no resolution to the problems presented. There is no back story for any of the other characters in the book nor was there any world building to speak of beyond a sentence or two.  

While this book has an original plot, it was rife with typos and wrong word selections to the point that I was continually jarred out of the story.  I found myself focusing more on the typos than on the story. This book could definitely use the eyes of an editor and more world building to really draw the reader into the story.

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