Saturday, August 10, 2013
Review: Automatic Woman
Automatic Woman by Nathan Yocum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Steampunk thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of steampunk, pontificating
Trigger Warnings: violence, fighting, murder, assassination, killing
My Thoughts: This was an interesting one, written in first-person dialogue narrative; that is, it's in first person and that person is telling the story to someone else, unlike many first-person books where the book is narrative, like the person talking is writing it down. I hope that makes sense outside my head! In any event, it sort of reminded me of Dolores Claiborne, where the book is basically one long dialogue from the MC. It's a style I don't see too often, so I tend to enjoy it when I do.
This is no great work of literature, but there are a few layers to it that I think other discerning readers will find, mostly about how great men will use lesser men in their plotting with no regards to the needs or desires of those being used, and the sorts of repercussions that this sort of attitude can lead to. There are a lot of famous people used as characters in this book, many of whom would not have had any contact, or are being used outside of their own time periods. Still, it's all in the aid of fiction, so no sense worrying over it too much. There is much pontificating from Charles Darwin, and a most interesting fable told by Bram Stoker about the origins of the world and society that I quite enjoyed.
The main character, Jolly, is a fairly simple man with simple needs, but a much more complex mind and with more ability than he is given credit for. Mary Reilly is also a great character, as is Willy's mum who, while a minor character, made a big impact on me (and Jolly). At any rate, it's a bit less of an adventure than I think most steampunk books, but I enjoyed it. I laughed quite a lot at several of Jolly's sayings, including such gems as “Why did God make creatures as complex as women for creatures as simple as men?” and “The man couldn't find his own arsehole with a map, a donkey, and two Sherpas.” If it sounds like the sort of book you would like, by all means, seek it out.
Disclosure: I received an e-galley from Curiosity Quills via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: There are no simple cases. Jacob “Jolly” Fellows knows this.
The London of 1888, the London of steam engines, Victorian intrigue, and horseless carriages is not a safe place nor simple place… but it’s his place. Jolly is a thief catcher, a door-crashing thug for the prestigious Bow Street Firm, assigned to track down a life sized automatic ballerina. But when theft turns to murder and murder turns to conspiracy, can Jolly keep his head above water? Can a thief catcher catch a killer?
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