Whitechapel Gods isn't bad, and once you realize its a first novel, its pretty good for a first novel. The concept is that the gods Mother Engine and Grandfather Clock have walled off the Whitechapel section of London from the rest of the Empire for the better part of a century. Its also where the laws of nature don't quite work as they do elsewhere. People come down with 'the clanks' where they sprout mechanical parts. Others have their hearts replaced with boilers and still live. And on and on. Its steam punk meets body horror, or a variation on screampunk.
Within, its Whitechapel on its worst days, cubed. Its dark, dirty and dangerous. The dangers? Clickrats, clockhounds and nesses are the mechanical wildlife. Then there are the 'secret' police of the Black Cloaks (adherents of Mother Engine) and Gold Cloaks (followers of Grandfather Clock). And above them all there is John Scared.
The story follows several characters over three days or so as the situation builds to a head and either the death of gods, or their spreading beyond Whitechapel. The viewpoint characters it follows are:
Oliver Sumner - Revolutionary, leader of the failed Uprising, now working with the English government to overthrow Engine and Grandfather Clock.
Michelle 'Missy' Planetegenet - up and coming rebel, and member of Oliver's crew. She also has secrets and a bloodlust that pushes things along.
Bergen Keuper - German big game hunter with a secret.
John Scared - the most feared man in Whitechapel.
Aaron Bolden - inside man in the Gods' service.
There are others, but they are the viewpoint characters.
So, did I like it? Sort of. Its got some neat gothic steampunk bits there, but it almost feels like cheating by the inclusion of supernatural elements. Characters feel a bit flat, but have more depth than many other efforts. The oddly irritating bits to me were the combats the author tried to describe - they were confusing, lacked key detail and show the author doesn't know his subject (and apparently doesn't know people who know the subject (hint - talk to soldiers, hunters, martial artists and cops)). I t could have been better, but it shows that Peters has a promising future, especially once he gets some experience under his belt.
Likes: Interesting world building bits, the conflicting loyalties and what it attempted to do. Having one of the most famous villains of all turn up.
Dislikes: That it failed in the attempt. The fight scenes were confused and didn't make sense. Characters could have had a more depth.