Steamline Review: Camera Obscura

Pardon for the time away, sometimes things can get rather hectic. In any case, I return with a review of one of a variety of Steampunk books that well be featured from time to time in this column. This work Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar is the second book in a series started by The Bookman.  However, from what I could tell, it is not a direct sequel therefore it’s not necessary for the first book to be read in order to understand this one. Although, checking the first book out might be on my to-do list especially after seeing how much I enjoyed this read.

As for the story, the book revolves around the adventures of Milady de Winter who has been working for the Quiet Council.  It starts off with her investigating a murder but quickly has her diving into a wide-spread conspiracy that results in her meeting many peculiar figures in her travels. Her mission? To find an object that could potentially mean the end of humanity as they know it. Of course, that’s a simple summary of what takes place which doesn’t quite cover how thrilling the story really is.

From the start, I was thrown into the world that this story takes place and was thrilled to find many references to figures both from the Victorian era and from other works of fiction. While it does jump at times to a completely different person in the story, the reader so finds out exactly why this other person is so important as the story progresses.  Milady de Winter though is a character  I really did enjoy reading about though there were points were I was quite certain that she was done for in one way or another, only to return in some fashion.  One particular revival, I found really interesting but that would spoil a major point so I’ll refrain from mentioning that too much. I did find myself more engrossed in the story, the more I found out how many events and people were related.

Though I have already mention that there are references to figures based in the Victorian era, real or fictional, I can’t go on enough about how many characters that added color and background to the story. I do take some pleasure in finding out the previous relationships de Winter has had with others and finding about new characters that may have quite the affect on her journey. And I never really have a problem with lizard people and machines.

So all in all, I would certainly recommend this book for anyone game for a story that has quite a bit of adventure and spirit. The story is fast-paced and grabs your attention right away. The only main thing I could really find fault with is that how the absolute climax ended up so close to end of the story. It might have wrapped up right quickly for my taste but it did leave me wanting to read more.  I really did enjoy the writing and the story quite a bit.  Therefore, Camera Obscura is certainly one of the books I would suggest telling anyone and everyone you know about it.

For now, that’s it for this edition of Steamline. I bid you a fond farewell and will be sure to report again.

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