Here’s the last in this series of Steampunk reviews. More Steampunk reviews here
Title – Liberator
Author – Richard Harland
Published in Australia by Allen & Unwin, by Helium in Frnce, Templar in the UK and Jacoby & Stuart in Germany. It’ll come out from Simon & Schuster in the US, but the release date there hasn’t arrived yet.
This is a good book and well worth a read, but read the sequel, ‘Worldshaker’ first. In it you’ll meet the juggernauts, huge machines on rollers or tracks that travel the world on steampower and use masses of coal. The jugernauts are basically cities on wheels and have a similar social strata as the real Victorian period.
The world Richard has created is quite amazing and well thought through. The machinery that runs these juggernauts are well described so that you get a sense of their enormous scale and complexity. The events in Le liberator take place post revolution and the problems now are inner power struggles and relations with the other juggernauts who are still under the old system. These issues are very realistic in terms of what happens in post revolution politics in the real world.
I love the names of the characters, and the desciptions of the upperclass characters are beautifully tongue in cheek, giving the book a lightness to balance the darker aspects of the book. There are no plot holes to annoy me and no hanging questions at the end. It’s a well crafted book.
As for the first in the series, the writing style is very straight forward with little internalisation of emotions, so I always feel as if I’m on the outside of the characters, the only downfall of this book for me. However, this style, along with Le Liberator’s focus on huge machines and crazy steampunk war machines, makes it very suitable for boys. It’s quite a young Young Adult book, I’d place it in the 10 to 14 year old category for girls and up to 16 for boys. I definitely recommend it for boys in that age group.