Review by Misa
Yes, I’m reviewing another Hall story. Perhaps I have become something of a fangirl, but damn the man can write, so can you blame me?
I knew I would love PROSPERITY the moment I read its blurb. Then I saw the cover. Being a Steampunk myself, I love the worldbuilding Hall employs; there are just enough details to pull you in while still managing to tantalise you.
Piccadilly is a young man who cheats a crime lord at cards. During the ensuing chase, Dil is shot and ends up on the Shadowless – an aethership. There he meets the ship’s oddly assorted crew… and comes face to face with his would-be killer.
Hall creates every character on the Shadowless with depth and complicity. Byron Kae, the captain, is genderfluid and somehow tied to his ship. Miss Grey is their navigator, able to sense shifts in the aether, and also the presence of krackens. Ruben Crowe is the clergyman tormented by his past and determined to save every soul he meets, even those that don’t wish to be saved. Which leads me to Milord.
I was only a few pages into PROSPERITY when I fell in love with Milord. Of course, I shouldn’t have done; after all, he almost killed our hero, and isn’t terribly nice. But his dry wit, turn of phrase, and the fact he was clearly damaged meant I found him irresistible. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a tortured antihero. I’m happy to know that there is another tale featuring him and Ruben, though less pleased that this is not yet on my Kindle.
Talking of, Riptide provided a PDF, but I need to be able to enlarge the text because my eyesight is dreadful. I ran it through Calibre and the result was… a little messy. But reading it, I quickly didn’t care and devoured PROSPERITY despite the occasional tangle of text. You know a book is good when that happens.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS
Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life . . . and his heart.
Thrill! As our hero battles dreadful kraken above Prosperity. Gasp! As the miracles of clockwork engineering allow a dead man to wreak his vengeance upon the living. Marvel! At the aerial escapades of the aethership, Shadowless.
Beware! The licentious and unchristian example set by the opium-addled navigatress, Miss Grey. Disapprove Strongly! Of the utter moral iniquity of the dastardly crime prince, Milord. Swoon! At the dashing skycaptain, Byron Kae. Swoon Again! At the tormented clergyman, Ruben Crowe.
This volume (available in print, and for the first time on mechanical book-reading devices) contains the complete original text of Piccadilly’s memoirs as first serialised in All the Year Round. Some passages may prove unsettling to unmarried gentlemen of a sensitive disposition.
Release Date: 27 October 2014
Genre: Steampunk, Alternate Earth
Primary Book Format: e-format
Publisher/Imprint: Riptide Publishing
Smart Girls Rating: 5 stars
Blush Quota: Pink
Available at: Riptide Publishing