The continuing adventures of naval crew and girl-in-disguise Deryn and secret-heir-to-the-Austro-Hungarian-Empire Alex. This time, in Istanbul! With a continued mix of steampunky ships and genetically engineered beasties, including giant airships. And bats who poop razors. Plucky kids in their early teens, battling to take down empires!
It's, you know, fun. Not much more, and it still feels like there's something lacking I haven't quite put my finger on, but fun.
Well, there's that review done!
*dusts off hands*
No? That's not nearly long enough to suit my inner reviewer? Dammit. So, what else do I want to say about this book?
Well, you all know how I like fictional dogs? And cats? Well, there's neither of those here, but there's a new beastie, a Perspicacious Loris, who is pretty endearing. He parrots people, but not unthinkingly. They may not be listening, but he's saying important things. He's cute.
The mechs that the Turkish rebels have are actually very interesting - they're mostly shaped like mythological beings, and the descriptions (and drawings) of them are beautiful. The rebels themselves are moderately interesting.
Oh, we're just coming down to the fact that nothing in this book really grabbed me. I'm struggling to remember what I thought of it, and I finished it less than a week ago. I enjoyed it perfectly well while I was reading it, but there wasn't a moment that made me excited or eager to read more, right away.
Which, given that it's a book about the start of a steampunk World War I, shouldn't really be the case. It shouldn't be this hard to engage with the characters, or care about their fates. I found myself not really caring whether or not Alex found out that Deryn was female, although the minor subplot where another female character had a crush on Deryn was moderately fun.
I think that's the best way to sum up this book. Moderately fun. There's nothing bothersome about it, there's just not enough right. It's fine. And if that isn't damning with faint praise, I don't know what is. I don't know if I'll go on to the others in the series. Given how hard it was to write this review, I suspect not.