Steam House by Jules Verne: Review

This story is dated a few years after the Indian Mutiny. A party of men travel many miles in a wonderful moving house, drawn by a marvellous steam elephant. Their many adventures, and the doings of Nana Sahib, the fiend of the Mutiny and his final overthrow, are very exciting.’

Introduction

The older the book, the more benefit of the doubt I give it. And for a book published originally in 1880, I give this book a lot of doubt. This is a LONG book, mostly made up of travelling through India without any tension or captivating motive. But…it’s not supposed to be. The author in 1880 wasn’t trying to write a book to fit into the expectation of the modern-day.

But that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it. I’m a modern-day kind of gal and I like my plots thrilling and emotional. And for a book written in first person (the closest kind of POV) there is no emotion or thought really throughout the book, much less a plot. Sure, there is a giant mechanical elephant, but it’s only used as shorthand for getting around India. But…that’s what the author set out to do. So, I can’t be angry at the author succeeding in what they wished to do but it doesn’t mean I like it.

Not really a story

If this is meant as a guide to 19th century India, then it is amazing at its job. There’s no real plot, not really, and scenes happen without reason, though it doesn’t feel jarring or unnecessary as it is just what happens in this slice of life. It loves its description and, in a book this big it makes it drag. That is not to say it isn’t gripping, I suddenly want to know about the smallest details of how to build mechanical elephants (I mean who wouldn’t?). It is more of a tour around 19th century India which is interesting, I like reading about India, it’s mountains, it’s animals just not for 700 pages.

Between the four wheels are all the machinery of cylinders, pistons, feed-pump, etc, covered by the body of the boiler.’

~I now know how to build my own elephant

A look back at the history of writing

What’s REALLY interesting about a book like this is the language used for the time. It was written while India was still under British rule and when reading for leisure wasn’t a mainstream or even commonplace occurrence. The language is slightly inaccessible and with huge paragraphs and an old-fashioned terminology, it isn’t a completely easy read by any means. It also refuses to hold your hand when it comes to the history and geography. The writing is slightly overdramatic in the way that Victorian Upper-Class men are often associated with.

Footnote: The translators beg to say that they are not responsible for any of the facts or sentiments contained in this account of the mutiny’

~Disclaimers haven’t changed much in 150 years

It’s the little grammatical and word differences that really excite me, (oh how boring I am):

“Fox! get all the guns, rifles and revolvers in good order!”

“But to-morrow it will be daylight again.”

It’s also really meta, in a way books just can’t be anymore, the author literally starts talking to the reader at several points:

We will leave them [the characters] for a time in their winter-quarters and devote a few pages to some other characters who have appeared in our story.

‘Now for a few words about the fort of Allahabad, which is well worth a visit.’

~Am I on Trip Advisor?

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Numen the Slayer (Review)

SynopsisNumen: Numen Magnus is heir to the castle of Magnus Keep, but has everything taken from him by a barbaric king. With his home destroyed and family murdered, Numen must fight to survive in the uncharted wilderness of Umbran. Along his journey, Numen discovers something significant about his heritage and seeks to turn his enemies to ash. Numen the Slayer is a fantasy underdog story where one young man can decide the fate of a kingdom. The Gold Phoenix rises!

Review: Numen the dragon slayer is the fantasy novel written by Grady P. Brown. The author clearly loves the world he has created as well the history of the characters’ that inhabit it and truly does wish for others to feel the same way. However this is the book’s own downfall. By trying to squeeze so many characters and so much lore in to the book, it does mean there isn’t a lot of time devoted to developing the emotions of the main characters. Despite this it isn’t a confusing book, the characters and their environments are so separate from one another that it’s easy to follow. The book does feel like it has it’s own world, it’s extensive, everything planned out from the environment to the economic income of each kingdom and the author does devote a lot of time to these kingdom developing them throughout the book. It’s a book for people who love worldbuilding over character development, which I’m certainly partial to.

Conclusion: I did enjoy this book, it is an easy read to get through and something nice to wind down with.

What do you think? Would you read it? Have you read it? Comment below!

Thanks to Grady P Brown for giving me a free copy for a honest review.

 

The Song of the Stork- review

Synopsis: Fifteen year-old Yael is on the run. The Jewish girl seeks shelter from the Germans on the farm of the village outcast. Aleksei is mute and solitary, but as the brutal winter advances, he reluctantly takes her in and a delicate relationship develops.

As her feelings towards Aleksei change, the war intrudes and Yael is forced to join a Jewish partisan group fighting in the woods.

Torn apart and fighting for her life, The Song of the Stork is Yael’s story of love, hope and survival. It is the story of one woman finding a voice as the voices around her are extinguished.

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Review: This book is an amazingly beautiful especially in displaying the bleakness of humanity. A lot of this book is spent talking about what is left of humanity when hope is gone and how evil anyone can become and this book never lets you forget how horrible the world is. It also creates incredicbly real, reable characters that truly drives the story. It isn’t a book of happy endings and romance, it is a book of harsh realities and this is what makes it so good.

I would recommend this book to anyone who can read and please tell me your own thoughts on the Song of the Stork.