Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Read: Heart of Veridon - Tim Akers

Due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews it received upon its release and thereafter for being an excellent example of steampunk's potential, I have started off my reading list with Tim Akers' debut novel Heart of Veridon.

First Impression: After reading the first chapter I am left with several thoughts about the writing stlye Mr. Akers has chosen here. The book is written in a first person POV (point of view) from the main character, Jacob. He's a former Pilot and from what I've gathered is a freelance criminal at this point. Now, first off, I'm not very fond of first person as it is, so it's difficult for me to get into a book written in it. Not only does the POV here effect the lens we see the story through (and therefore the voice the story is told in), but also how much we learn about the items involved in Akers' world. I feel as though Mr. Akers expects those reading his story to be familiar with terms involved with airships and the steampunk genre as a whole going in, but as I am totally new to all of this (as I've said), I feel as though this novel will, in the end, have been much more satisfying had I grown more familiar with the genre first. 

Thoughts Halfway: Mr. Akers sure has a  way with story telling. The story is unfolding at quite the perfect pace and what I thought would be very hard for me to get into (the first person POV) has probably been a major aspect as to why the story is as great as it is. Jacob Burn is a snarky, sarcastic main character in the underground crime business with the kinds of friends you would expect from such a person. This in mind, he tells what happens like he sees it, his sentences often cut down and voiced like one would expect. The problem I had before has been mostly resolved at this point; Akers has a habit of bringing things up several times before it becomes imperative that he describe it, whereupon Jacob proceeds to explain the workings of whatever the thing is. His descriptions still aren't always the clearest, and therefore leaves much to the reader's imagination. The characters are quite humorous and quirky, which are the characters that I love most: quirky and fickle characters that, often without meaning to, make you laugh. Akers is a steampunk world builder, which is a little uncommon from what I have seen. Imagined and new settings and cultures and everything else in between is more my style, and so I am definitely more inclined to like those kinds of stories. This is, no doubt, one of those, and I love the world Akers has created here. It's very noticeable that a lot of time and thought went into its creation, and I am thoroughly surprised and pleased at the complexity of the plot within it. Onwards to the end, then. 

Final Verdict: I promise to keep this as short as possible, both to save time and avoid spoilers. Mr. Akers has here a beautiful steampunk creation. Airships, cogwork implants, cog automatons, it's all here. I have to say, this book was quite an interesting thing for me. As my first experience with steampunk novels, this will be a hard measure to live up to for the rest. There's just so much raw creativity that you can tell was loaded into here. You really get to know Jacob in the last half of the book; so much of his past and his character is revealed, you feel more justified reading from his perspective. The story's seemingly crazy details and all of the different parties involved in the thing Jacob's gotten himself wrapped into are, one and all, dragged together in the end with one final encounter and a beautiful conclusion. It seemed a little abrupt reading it, but satisfies nonetheless, and Jacob is finally able to begin the restoration of his life and everything else that was destroyed throughout the plot. I am enormously glad I read this one and I would gladly recommend it to anyone who was willing to listen to me. (In other words, you should go buy this if steampunk interests you even in the slightest!)