picks up immediately where Escapement
left off literally so much so you'd almost think it was another case of the publisher ordering the book to be split up to reduce publishing costs. Well, that isn't the case. Why? To begin with, you get four new view point characters...
begins by giving us Boaz's viewpoint on matters, then it adds Wang's (the archivist from the Golden Bridge) as he is pressganged into opposing Mask Childress. It also gives us the viewpoint of a special clerk, Kitchens. For this novel, special clerk is synonymous with covert operative of the very red handed kind. Finally, it gives us the view of things from Gashansunu, a sorceress from the Southern Hemisphere. Hers is a unique viewpoint from a world so laden with symbolism as to be completely alien to me, almost mad, yet very rational and sane at the same time.
The plot weaves these new viewpoints in and around those from Escapement, with the Five Winds making a desperate run for England in an attempt to stop the Northern Hemisphere's first world war. It also has:
- Paolina's adventures in the Southern Hemisphere (and even an encounter with Hethor from Mainspring and the decision that takes her back to the Wall. Along the way she begins to learn to use her gleam without killing herself and those around her.
- Boaz's discovery of the founding of the Empire of Brass, the price it extracts from him and his growing humanity.
- Kitchens' dogged pursuit of his goals in the name of Queen and Country, and then the realization that duty sometimes transcends patriotism.
- Gashansunu's desire to rid the Southern Hemisphere of Paolina and her gleam.
- Wang's conscription by the Silent Order to oppose the White Birds and Mask Childress and where that takes him.
- Childress and Al-Wazir's flight with the Five Winds.
Of these all, Kitchens' story is the most powerful, as it ultimately catches up the rest of them in it, braiding the novel out of the individual stories. Not out of intrigue, plotting or planning, but desperation as he pursues his first goal and recognizes the true goal set before him by the Queen.
Pinion is a pretty good book for me. I particularly liked the peek at Queen Victoria and the hints at the politics running England. I also liked the better look at the Southern Hemisphere than we had in Mainspring
. Boaz's evolving humanity was another plus. And I'll save the rest for Likes and Dislikes. Did I like it as much as Escapement? Yes, and I know I liked it more than Mainspring
. It definitely closed out the series nicely with a climatic ending, and then a happy epilogue. Call it three stars ().
Boaz slowly becoming more human; The peeks at the operations of the Silent Order and the White Birds headquarters and methods; More of a look at the Southern Hemisphere besides something to get through or the wildlife; Kitchens; Paolina's lessons with the gleam; Wang's interactions with the monk (and who ultimately sent her); The world building.
We still don't know the fate of Brass; The death of sympathetic characters; The despair of the latest English expedition to the wall.
Fans of Steampunk and gaslamp fantasy (that's Girl Genius folks); Fans of unusual world building in their fantasy, non-traditional fantasy fans and Jay Lake fans.