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'Angelmaker' - Nick Harkaway

Reason for reading: I read and very much enjoyed his first novel, The Gone-Away World, which was SF set after an apocalypse caused by bombs that destroy the information content of their targets. It was wonderfully weird and frequently hilarious, so when I saw a proof of his next book in Oxfam, I bought and read it immediately.

Synposis: Joe Spork is a gentle man living a quiet life repairing clockwork devices until an unusual commission draws the attention of some extremely dangerous people. Being spoiler-averse I don't want to say much more about the plot, but the book contains old-school gangsters, steampunk monks, many conspiracies and secret societies, fighting elephants, an immortal villain, a manic pixie dream girl scientist trying to invent something to make everyone better, an incredibly bad-ass old lady (with flashbacks to her war career as a schoolgirl spy) and a clockwork threat to reality itself.

Review: As I mentioned earlier, I find it much harder to write about good books. Not only is it intimidating to write about good writing, but I also find harder to convey enthusiasm than contempt, and I worry more about spoiling aspects of the book for potential readers. Also, in this case, I don't have my copy because I've lent it one of the list of my friends who were as eager to read it as I was, so I might just going to cop out and say that I really liked it. It's about ordinary people (albeit with extraordinary pasts) facing the sort of shit that you'd normally need Doom Patrol to fix. It's larger than life, but it's consistent about it so the world feels cohesive and real. It also had some cool secret London stuff which read like Neil Gaiman was into pulp adventure instead of fairy tales.

Illustrative excerpt from Amazon review:
2 stars
Too whimsical for my taste, like a second rate Dickens



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2012 09:36 am (UTC)
I really liked the Gone Away World so this is an easy sell. Actually the more I read your reviews the more I think a description of the type of book it is and an opinion is all you need from a reviewer you know. The reason many reviewers need to say much more is that the reader doesn't know the personality of the reviewer.
Mar. 15th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
Ah, so that's the Angelmaker that coalescent has been talking about on Twitter. Not this similarly-titled one written by an LJ friend of mine, on a rather different subject...
Mar. 15th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
It had a very good review in teh Graun. I was going to put it on my wishlist but now I may ask you if I can borrow it instead.
Mar. 19th, 2012 04:29 am (UTC)
This sounds pretty much amazing.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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