Recent DNF Crankiness

As usual, I’m going to avoid mentioning details that might make it easy to identify these books!

1. A steampunky steampunk. Yes, definitely steampunk. In case you missed it.

This book which I didn’t finish had perfectly fine prose. It had decent worldbuilding, as in, it had Steampunky Things that were presented gradually as part of the action. It had good characterization. Alas, it had All The Steampunky Things That Are Steampunk. As in, if you were reading this and playing Steampunk Bingo, everybody would win in about twenty pages. Probably less. In other words, it was all the same as every other steampunk novel that I’ve tried to read. My lack of interest built up like steam in a boiler that’s having digestive issues.

2. What! Steampunk/Romance/Flavor of the Month Sub-Genre?!

The writing was good in this one, too. However, see above. There were All the Steampunky Things. Even though the Steampunky Things were clearly just window-dressing. Apparently the author thought a story could not claim to be steampunk without them. In an attempt at mitigation, the narrator admitted the Steampunky Things made no sense in the society as presented…more than once. And we hadn’t even got to the flavor-of-the-month sub-genre. Also? A clever mashup tag line does not a story make. So I stopped reading.

3. At least this one wasn’t steampunk.

Active heroine? Alas, no. Only a martyred one, with stereotypically troublesome family. It may have improved later. I didn’t stick around to find out.

4. Same old, same old.


5. Ummm…interesting biology you have, there.

It’s true this book was in the middle of a series I hadn’t read. But still. The biology didn’t make sense, except to create plenty of angst. I mean, it really really didn’t make sense. So I guess the series will eventually end because the species won’t survive. I didn’t stick around to find out.

6. I don’t usually nitpick historicals, but really, no self-respecting researcher of World War One would fail to note this mistake.

Steampunk story set in 1880s, in an England with only tiny differences from reality. Not one but two characters are wearing trench coats. *buzzer*

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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