Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones

A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones
A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones by Claire Robyns

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

One would assume that people would have had a suffiency of foolish romances. But, looking around one, one perceives that this is not, in fact, the case.

If only this book had been written like the above sentences, I might have forgiven the silly romance and the way in which it got in the way of the adventure. Sadly, the writing was less than competent. I only got 42% of the way through, and noted the following: "she slipped passed" (instead of past), "I'll never get my full" (instead of fill), "Browning's" as the plural, "peddling" (repeatedly) when it should be "pedaling", the names of types of tree and types of carriage unnecessarily capitalized, "the room her and McAllister were ensconced in" (should be "she and McAllister), "a la Lily style", "diffuse" for "defuse" and "the inter-leading door". There are multiple references to "risque sports", which appears to mean "extreme sports", but "risque" usually has a sexual implication that is apparently not intended here.

The setting is 19th-century Britain, but the language is modern American. "How come?" "Are you okay?" "Get the hell away" "It will come find you" "Who all knows?" Oddly, given that Americans don't use the metric system any more than the 19th-century British did, the measure of an area of land is given in hectares.

The very prim and proper mid-Victorian heroine not only says "get the hell away" but "damn and blast". And even when the language isn't actually wrong (either for the time or the character, or for anyone at any time), it's bland and clumsy. "Lily would've had to admit defeat before her new philosophy on embracing life-defying acts had taken its first step forward." Three cliches (one of them garbled) and a mixed metaphor in a single sentence.

It's hard to find good steampunk, and I'm afraid that if you care much about language, know much about history, or don't like your adventure plot obscured by romancebabble of the "oh, his muscles are so hard. But I mustn't think that! I'm really not attracted to him!" kind, you won't find it here. At least, I didn't.

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