This is a book review of The Steampunk Club by E. A. Deverell, available here.
This is a most eccentric and peculiar little novella and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, to be honest.
It felt a lot like a plot sketch, the idea of a book rather than a book in its own right. What could have been a rich and complex backdrop was in fact very superficial and it really lost something there. I loved the concept of the book, despite being taken a little bit by surprise at it. It wasn’t at all what I expected when I read the synopsis.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s set in the Victorian Era. It’s set in the modern day with the characters all being members of a steampunk club where they dress in costume and hang out under the fake gaslight and drink sherry.
I wanted to know more. The story skims along the surface of the plot, barely pausing here and there for a scene or two, which is a real shame. You don’t get any sense of the characters and the whole romantic element of it was so rushed that it seemed to come out of nowhere. What you do see of the characters is very likeable but they needed more depth and background.
The biggest issue of this for me was that the author had set up this little blackmail mystery and then did the equivalent of typing “and then she woke up and it was all a dream…”. It was incredibly frustrating.
Overall I’m really not sure how to feel about this. I think that if the author actually took this concept and filled it out with detail and complexity and background, it would make a great novel. It felt like a wasted opportunity. There’s a gem here but it needs some cutting and polishing and a little more thought into the resolution of the mystery.
I will check out other work by this author. It maybe be that their other books are less rushed and lacking in dimension.