Shove Off and The Magnetron Chronicles

frontcoverIn this blog post were going to take a look at steampunk. In case you’re not familiar with the genre, steampunk is usually set in the 19th century Victorian era or wild west and features steam-powered technology. This is demonstrated in the first episode in the William’s Hunt series called: Shove Off by Krista L. Cagg.

The story follows the crew of The William’s Hunt, a time traveling chronos ship that was stolen from the Naviwerks fleet of ships which are used to retrieve historic artifacts to sell in the present day. Naviwerks is selling the artifacts to make a profit and they are also manipulating the timeline for their own gain. The pirate crew of The William’s Hunt plans on stopping the evil corporation that is Naviwerks and changing history to what it was supposed to be before it was altered.

The captain of the William’s Hunt is Captain Alexandria De Sade and she has assembled a crew of unique characters. One of them is the ship’s horotech who makes it possible to travel through time. The man in charge of the engine is Laurence Kane who couldn’t get a job on another ship but is now counted on to make sure things run smoothly. The rest of the crew includes Geri Reynolds – Security; Angel Flynn – Pilot; Dr. Hennessey – Medical and Lord Nigel Wellington III – Historian. The crew is dedicated to their captain and won’t rest until all of the stolen historical objects are returned to the correct time period.

This book was short and sweet with a lot of action. The story is told in episodes that are scheduled to come out monthly and are around 50 pages. The best part of the story are the characters, who are very diverse and nothing like people you would meet in everyday life. Laurence is very proper and is shocked when Nigel is rude to the captain, but Alexandria takes it all in stride and proves that she has everything under control. I liked how Laurence is surprised at the beauty and intelligence of the captain and the beginning of a love story is hinted at.

In addition to the characters I also thought Krista Cagg  did a great job of describing how the time ship works and the look of the ship. She also brings the past to life in great detail. In Shove Off  The William’s Hunt is headed back to Italy in 1490. Their mission is to retrieve a statue made by Da Vinci before Naviwerks gets it. It’s obvious a lot of research went into to Shove Off and I look forward to reading more in The William’s Hunt Series.

15752050Shove Off isn’t the only steampunk series out there.  The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum by D.L. Mackenzie is the first book in The Magnetron Chronicles.   The story is told by 19th century inventor Phineas J. Magnetron. He is a member of the Hogalum Society which is a group of humans with special talents that fight crime, are dedicated to going on adventures and protecting mankind from evil.

The year is 1877 and things aren’t good for the Hogalum Society as their founder dies under mysterious circumstances. Against the wishes of the rest of the group Phineas decides to bring their comrade back from the dead. Needless to say, things don’t go well and a mystery is uncovered.

This book was excellent, its funny and the way the story is told and the language used make it a must read. One thing that every steamunk story I’ve read has is some really interesting characters and this one is no exception.  The story is told  in the first person by Phineas Magnetron who is a bit of a mad scientist and has visions of  life in the future. This story moves along quickly, I find some stories told in first person don’t come across as exciting but this one does. I loved how the Hogalum Society is brought together and despite Phineas  describing them as being superior to others. He also describes how some members fight among themselves  and  have issues with dealing with the stress of protecting the world.

The Hogalum society is like a 19th century Justice League or like The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. The story made me want to read more science fiction from the likes of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  I also liked how D.L. Mackenzie describes everything in the book, he brings Phineas’s world to life in stunning detail. This book is a self-contained story but there are three books after it that follow the adventures of the Hogalum Society. The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum was a fun read and a great beginning to what looks to be an excellent series.