Category Archives: Steampunk Book Review

Review: Discovering Aberration

Discovering Aberration: A Steampunk Adventure Novel
by S.C. Barrus

File Size: 1477 KB
Print Length: 436 pages
Publisher: Away & Away Publishing (February 17, 2014)
ASIN: B00IIGG32M

(Barry’s score 4 stars out of 5)
Discovering Aberration: A Steampunk Adventure Novel

Product description:

Thaddeus Lumpen’s archaeology career is near collapse, thanks to the machinations of rivals who would kill to claim a discovery for themselves. In desperation he turns to Freddy Fitzgerald, a rebellious writer who still maintains connections from his days as a street hooligan. For Lumpen to get ahead of his even less scrupulous competitors he must steal an ancient map and forge a path to an island where a lost civilization waits to be found. For Freddy, it’s a chance to sell the story of a lifetime.

But nothing is as simple as it appears from halfway across the world. Old acquaintances become enemies, professional rivalries turn violent, and a notorious gang lord wants his map back. The island itself holds dangers that Freddy and Lumpen couldn’t have prepared to face—and horrifying secrets that might be better left buried. Beset by wild beasts, cutthroat competitors, and dangers darker still, the two men fight not for glory, but their own survival… before the island pushes them to the brink of insanity.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Barrus’ “Discovering Aberration”.
On the upside, it’s a polished adventure story along the lines of Robert Louis Stevenson or Edgar Rice Burroughs with a touch of steampunk that reminds me of Scott Westerfeld. The characters are solid and well-fleshed out. The story, for the most part, moves along at a fast and enjoyable pace.

One the downside, the pace of the book sputters from time to time.

Having said that, I really enjoyed “Discovering Aberration” and hope to read a sequel some day.

I’m giving this one 4 stars out of 5 and I recommend it. It’s a great bang for the buck.

Review: The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes

casebook newburyhobbesThe Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes (Newbury & Hobbes Investigation)
by George Mann
Series: Newbury & Hobbes Investigation
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (September 24, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1781167427
ISBN-13: 978-1781167427

Available through Amazon
The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes (Newbury & Hobbes Investigation)

Book Description:

A collection of short stories detailing the supernatural steampunk adventures of detective duo, Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes.

Along with Chief Inspector Bainbridge, Newbury and Hobbes will face plague revenants, murderous peers, mechanical beasts, tentacled leviathans, reanimated pygmies, and an encounter with Sherlock Holmes.

My thoughts:

Okay, I think by now that everyone who has visited Gnostalgia is aware of my love of steampunk, detective stories, and the paranormal, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes. Having said that, I had already read “The case of the Nightcrawler” in Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (see my review of —link).

The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes is a collection of 15 short-stories from various times in the Newbury & Hobbes history. If you are not familiar with the characters or the stories, I don’t think that you will have any difficulty with these stories. Although, you would obviously enjoy the stories more having read:  “The Affinity Bridge”, “The Osiris Ritual”, “The Immorality Engine”, and “The Executioners Heart”.

Despite having read  “The case of the Nightcrawler”, it was by far my favorite story. Mann is an excellent story-teller, and in my opinion, is an essential  read for the Neo-Victorian, steampunk,  and Gothic fan. I give this collection of short-stories 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and highly recommend The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Titan Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Steampunk Style

Steampunk Style: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Contraptors, Gizmologists and Primocogglers Everywhere!

Titan Books: http://titanbooks.com/steampunk-style-the-complete-illustrated-guide-for-contraptors-gizmologists-and-primocogglers-everywhere-7148/

Amazon: Steampunk Style


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Titan Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: The Doctor and the Dinosaurs

A review of Mike Resnick’s “The Doctor and the Dinosaurs” published by Pyr.
http://www.pyrsf.com/DoctorandDinosaurs.html

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1616148616/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1616148616&linkCode=as2&tag=barryssandcastl

mailbox111813Series: A Weird West Tale

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Pyr
ISBN-10: 1616148616
ISBN-13: 978-1616148614

Book description:
The time is April, 1885. Doc Holliday lies in bed in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado, expecting never to leave his room again. But the medicine man and great chief Geronimo needs him for one last adventure. Renegade Comanche medicine men object to the newly-signed treaty with Theodore Roosevelt. They are venting their displeasure on two white men who are desecrating tribal territory in Wyoming. Geronimo must protect the men or renege on his agreement with Roosevelt. He offers Doc one year of restored health in exchange for taking on this mission.

Welcome to the birth of American paleontology, spearheaded by two brilliant men, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, two men whose genius is only exceeded by their hatred for each other’s guts.

Now, with the aid of Theodore Roosevelt, Cole Younger, and Buffalo Bill Cody, Doc Holliday must save Cope and Marsh not only from the Comanches, not only from living, breathing dinosaurs, but from each other. And that won’t be easy.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pyr. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: The Osiris Curse

The Osiris Curse: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure
by Paul Crilley

osiris curseAge Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Series: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure
Hardcover: 290 pages
Publisher: Pyr
ISBN-10: 1616148578
ISBN-13: 978-1616148577

Available at Amazon
The Osiris Curse: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure

(Barry’s score 3 stars out of 5)

My thoughts:

Barry says — good.

Clearly, The Osiris Curse: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure is targeted at the younger teenage crowd and should make a good stocking-stuffer this Christmas for the young steampunk enthusiast.  Even this 55 year-old enjoyed portions of this book.

It was a pleasant read that made me feel a little nostalgic for Scooby Doo.  I imagine that I would have loved this book at age 10.  The Osiris Curse: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure has some cute ideas and dialogue.

I give The Osiris Curse: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure 3 stars out of 5 and recommend it for the kids.

Product description:

When Nikola Tesla is murdered and blueprints for his super weapons are stolen, Tweed and Nightingale are drawn into a global cat and mouse chase with his killers. What’s more, it seems that the people who shot Nikola Tesla are the same people responsible for Octavia’s mother’s disappearance. As the two cases intertwine, Tweed and Nightingale’s investigations lead them to a murdered archeologist and a secret society called The Hermetic Order of Osiris. Fleeing the cult’s wrath, they go undercover on the luxury airship, The Albion, setting out on her maiden voyage to Tutankhamen’s View, a five star hotel built in the hollowed-out and refurbished Great Pyramid of Giza.

In Egypt, the duo begin to unravel the terrible truth behind Tesla’s death, a secret so earth-shattering that if revealed it would mean rewriting the entire history of the world. But if the cult’s plans aren’t stopped, Britain may lose the future.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pyr. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Steampunk Originals: Volume 2

Steampunk Originals2Steampunk Originals: Volume 2
Editor: Mike Schneider
Publisher: Arcana Studio
ISBN: 978-1-77135-167-6

Available: January 2014

by Arcana Studios ( www.arcana.com )

My thoughts: Barry says — good

As with Steampunk Originals: Volume 1 (my review), Volume 2 is an anthology of steampunk stories. As with any anthology some stories are hits and some are misses.

The cover art was much better than Volume 1 and the transitions from story to story was much better. Some of the artwork as in the case of “Pristine” was freaking superb, and some of the stories like “Forged in Pride” were pretty solid.

A few misses were “Falling In Love”, and “The Case of the Dollman.” Did we really need several panels of mutilated women?

At any rate, there is a little something for everyone in this collection. I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

steampunk originals2a


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the editor, Mike Schneider. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread

Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread
by Elizabeth Watasin

Series: The Elle Black Penny Dreads
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: A-Girl Studio
ISBN-10: 193662205X
ISBN-13: 978-1936622054

Available at Amazon
Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread (The Elle Black Penny Dreads) (Volume 1)

(Barry’s score 5 stars out of 5)

My thoughts:

Barry says — excellent!

Okay, let me reveal my bias, I love Elizabeth Watasin. Bear that in mind when looking at my score of 5 stars. Watasin’s stories have a sort of Blaylock (The Aylesford Skull), George Mann (Newbury & Hobbes) or a Mark Hodder (Burton & Swinburne) dark paranormal, steampunk vibe. Having said that, Watasin creates strong female characters along the lines of Tardi’s Adèle Blanc-Sec or Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher.

In this case, Watasin’s Sundark character is a telekinetic agent named Elle Black. The story is a fast-paced fun read. I have to admit that the vampire tease at the end of Sundark really worked. I am ready for the next episode.

There is a list of names (a who’s who) at the back of the book that may help the reader. Watasin includes some nice artwork and there is a small tease for her book Bones. While Risen, Bones and Sundark are set in the same alternate reality, each book is a stand-alone story. Just between you and me, Sundark may be the best of Watasin’s stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I give Sundark a solid 5 stars out of 5. I mentioned Kerry Greenwood on Facebook when speaking about Watasin’s novel and Watasin replied, “who’s Kerry Greenwood?” While Greenwood may not be a household name now, she will be in a few years. The same may be said of Elizabeth Watasin, she may not be a household name next week or next month, but if she continues to produce great books …

Product description:

Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread, is the latest gaslamp fantasy from speculative fiction storyteller Elizabeth Watasin, who delights in bringing you shilling shockers immersed in Gothic Victorian mystery, women sleuths, and the eldritch vestiges of a steampunk, paranormal London. Enjoy this twist of lesbian historical fiction and look for more of Elle Black as she wrestles with the ‘small’, local horrors Secret Commission agents Artifice and Jim Dastard are too busy to take on.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Author Elizabeth Watasin. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: SteamPunk Originals Volume 1

SteamPunk Originals Volume 1

Edited by Mike Schneider

Series: Steampunk Originals

Paperback: 100 pages

Publisher: Arcana Studio

ISBN-10: 1771351160

ISBN-13: 978-1771351164

Available through Amazon:

SteamPunk Originals Volume 1

(Barry’s score 3 1/2 stars out of 5)

My thoughts: Barry says — good.

I have to admit that I was not impressed with the cover art of the first in a series. I really expected something a little more eye-popping. Some of the stories, at times, seemed to come to an awkward and sudden stop and the transitions as in the case with “Graveyard Shift” to “Gladiatrix” seemed very odd.

Having said that, I loved the cartoon zombies of “Graveyard Shift” and the beautiful illustrations of “Steaming Pile” and “Gargoyles.” There really is a little something for everyone in an anthology and this is a nice collection. As you might expect, some stories were hits while others were misses.

All in all, I thought Steampunk Originals Volume 1 was a good read and I was entertained. I give the first in this series 3 1/2 stars out of 5 and recommend it for the steampunk fan.

Product description:

Goggles, gadgets, and gears: considering Steampunk on those terms is no less absurd than imagining our reality populated solely by electricians, hackers, and astronauts. Imagine a reality where steam-based technology and 19th century culture persisted. The Confederacy holds to Southern traditions while industry flourishes in the Union. The west is wild as the Apache fight to take back their land. Japan remains feudal under the shogunate, China struggles with opium addiction, and India is oppressed by the East India Company. Rebellions run rampant across mainland Europe while the British Empire seeks to colonize the globe. Steampunk can be as rich and diverse as our own reality.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the editor, Mike Schneider. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”