[Reading] ➮ Worldshaker ➶ Richard Harland – Agedanna.info
I ve been having difficulty writing a review for this book, though I m not sure why.In short, I thought it was an enjoyable romp, even if many of the elements were rather familiar Mr Harland captures the stuffiness of Victorian principles well, and yet manages to make some of his upper class characters empathetic His writing is crisp, and he generally kept things moving forward at a good clip, while managing to toss in some character development.Are there cliches involved, and has Mr Harland liberally thieved from a number of sources Well, yes At it s core, Worldshaker is a Romeo and Juliet story with a revolution thrown in I ve avoided Les Miserables, but I suspect this would seem much the same in many ways There is a bit of My Fair Lady for those who know it, and some of the characters are cut from very comfortable bits of cloth the bossy older sister, the monarchs who are truly down to earth, the pompous grandfather who is patriarch of the family and rules with an iron fist, the ineffectual parents who somehow manage to produce very effective children Still, many of these might not be so time worn to the target audience of teens, and the main characters will certainly be familiar in a good way Col is the adolescent trying to find his own identity and make the right choices along the way while dealing with bullies, and a family who stifles him , Riff is the smart, sassy and still quite attractive love interest Some might suggest that Col falls for her too quickly but haven t most of us experienced that first hard crush, and the heady swiftness of teen love In any case, it was a fun, well crafted summer read even for this aging adult I read this when I was quite young but I did really enjoy it.It s Young Adult, and it s about two kids who are living on a huge airship, and it s presented as a microcosm of the United Kingdom.I really liked it because this author actually presented issues of class and gender and those relationships in quite a thoughtful way It felt like a mature book to me, and I appreciated the idea that just because it s a Young Adult novel, doesn t mean it can t be serious or present big ideas.This was my first real steampunk novel and I absolutely love the setting The airship becomes a character as well and it s just cool to see how the environment interacts with and informs the characters.The sci fi element of this book wasn t too unfamiliar to me and it had a historical element that I was familiar with Overall if you like sci fi, steampunk, YA historical novels with a little bit of seriousness, you might really like this book c Col Is A Wealthy Child Of Privilege Raised To Succeed His Grandfather As The Supreme Commander Of The Juggernaut Worldshaker, He Has Lived A Pampered Life On The Upper Decks He Has Never Questioned His Place In The World Or His Bright And Illustrious Future But When A Filthy Girl Stows Away In His Cabin, Suddenly Nothing Is Clear Any Quick And Clever, Riff Is Nothing Like The Filthies That Col Always Learned About The Dumb, Slow, Less Than Human Folk Who Toil Away Below, Keeping Worldshaker Moving Filthies Are Supposed To Be Animal Like, Without The Power Of Speech Or The Ability To Think For Themselves But Riff Is Clever And Quick And Outspoken, And Col Is Drawn To Her Despite HimselfAs Col Begins To Secretly Spend Time With Riff, He Begins To Question Everything He Was Raised To Believe Was True, And Realizes That If Riff Is Right, Then Everything He Was Raised To Believe Is A Lie And Col Himself May Be The Only Person In A Position To Do Something About It Even If It Means Risking His Future I should probably declare that Richard Harland is a good friend of mine and so I really, really wanted to like this book Luckily, I loved it I ve been told it s a YA steam punk novel steam punk is not a new genre but it s hot at the moment and once I realised it simply meant books set in a sort of alternative Victorian world with lots of steam propelled gadgets and frockcoats and corsets, I knew I d enjoy it It s an action packed novel full of humour and drama and Dickensian characters and it really deserves its success Rating 2.5 starsBoy this book took me ages to read, and it feels great having finished it My thoughts The story took place in such a rich steampunk centric sort of setting with juggernauts and steam engines and tailcoats and was a lovely mash of traditional and technological which is fabulous However the things that let me down was the characters The characters I did like were barely in the story Col was just such a bland character and because the story was told through his voice I was just constantly bored with his vanilla brain The book has so much potential, I absolutely LOVE steampunk and the setting was wonderful but I couldn t get into it, or frankly, care about the characters much It was also massively predictable, so the exciting bits just weren t exciting, it was a massive let down One thing i did love, however, was the weaving of the history of the juggernaut and its backstory with our history It was done really well and was quite interesting with how it was constructed Towards the end, however, the pace of the story did pick up and I did enjoy myself I feel like younger Sana would have definitely loved the whole story If I had read the story, say about 5 to 6 years ago, I would have DEFINITELY rated it much higher. It was for school So yeah. I don t really know how I feel about this book I usually love dystopian novels but this whole story was hard to believe A ship the size of a city moves around the world with a variety of inhabitants onboard The population of people is made up of the upper class citizens including Colbert the main male character , the menials the servants to the upper class and the filthies including Riff the main female character who are considered a different species Colbert is raised to believe that the upper class citizens are at the top and all others should bow to them Riff escapes the solitude of down below , where the filthies are kept, and ends up in Col s room A connection forms and Col begins to realize that maybe everything he thought he knew isn t true I couldn t seem to figure out what time frame this book takes place The information provided mentions that the ship has been around for 100 years and was created in the early 1700 s There are also parts that mention industrialized things like working cranes and automatic lights which leads me to believe they are in a later time period I was also confused as to what area this population of people come from Col s family members have an English accent and the work breeches is mentioned numerous times But then one of the filthies speaks like a country person These random details made it very hard to follow along with what was going on I like Col and Riff as individual characters but for the most part their personalities were very weak A romance sparks but I was left feeling very lackluster in regards to their chemistry. I had to read this book for school, and honestly I thought it would be super boring but the storyline and the fact that its so fast paced make it a great book Not something I would normally read at all but it impressed me. Harland s Worldshaker is a dystopian steampunk adventure aimed at young adult readers Although it is targeted at a younger audience, I found this novel to be an entertaining and worthwhile read that I finished in one sitting.A steampunk coming of age storyWorldshaker tells the story of Col Porpentine, grandson of Sir Mormus Porpentine, Supreme Commander of the industrial juggernaut Worldshaker Col lives a privileged yet sheltered life on the elite upper decks of the immense moving city while sub human workers known as Filthies toil below Chosen to succeed his grandfather one day and bring honor to his family, Col s life seems to be on track However, unbeknownst to him, his safe, stable world is doomed to fall apart when an escaped female Filthy chooses his cabin as a hiding place Despite her wild appearance and lack of personal hygiene, the Filthy, called Riff, doesn t seem that different from anyone else and, most shocking of all, she can speak No matter how hard he tries, Col cannot escape the knowledge that life as he knows it is based on a lie Further, he hasn t seen the last of the Filthies, and the events that follow will have him questioning everything he once believed in, both about his society, and himself.A familiar tale with a refreshing twistCombining elements of romance, satire and adventure, Worldshaker focuses on the relationship between the protagonists, Col and Riff, and Col s resultant awakening to the rampant injustice within his society While the concepts of star crossed love and a challenge to an individual s preconceived worldviews are hardly new to literature, Harland writes with such wit and humor that these familiar concepts feel fresh and exciting He also adds his own surprising twists to the familiar tale, ranging from the inevitable to the downright bizarre.Col and Riff are likeable yet believably flawed and are supported by a colorful cast of quirky secondary characters, each with their own unique charm Undoubtedly some exist for the sake of parody than others, drawing attention to various follies within society and human nature Nevertheless, while they may initially seem like humorous caricatures than real people, most develop greater depth as the story progresses, becoming much relatable as a result I also thought it was nice to see a Romeo and Juliet story where the traditional roles are reversed and Riff is the streetwise, kick ass heroine and Col, while educated and intelligent, is comparatively na ve in the ways of the world While Harland may not be the only writer to explore this variation on traditional gender roles, I thought it added another layer to the narrative and fit in well with the rest of the story.A quirky world with plenty of surprisesWorldshaker s setting is unique and fascinating despite the fact that the story takes place entirely within the self contained world of the industrial behemoth The upper decks are populated by stuffy upper class English society with stiff manners and a rigid social class system In contrast, the lower decks are a perilous wasteland of coal, machinery and furnaces where a single slip could cost one their life We are also given some intriguing hints as to the history of Harland s world and the existence of similar moving cities, manned by the populations of different developed countries Overall, I was left with a strong desire to learn about the world outside Worldshaker which, without giving away too much, happily features prominently in the sequel Liberator Readers who prefer all aspects worldbuilding to be backed up with scientific explanation may be in for an unpleasant surprise, but those willing to suspend disbelief and have a bit of fun will enjoy the quirky humor and sharp, slightly satirical wit Much like the maze of hidden compartments and secret rooms that characterize Harland s juggernaut, the story itself contains some genuine surprises The plot itself is not shy in taking unforeseen directions, and characters you thought you knew frequently reveal new aspects of their personalities, both for the better and the worse.On a slightly darker note Don t make the mistake, however, of thinking that Worldshaker is nothing but a lighthearted romp There are serious concepts explored and darker moments throughout the novel Themes of betrayal, prejudice, revolution and oppression underlie the plot and even the humorous parts of the novel have a slightly darker edge than you might find in most books aimed at a similar age group.Why should you read this book I recommend Worldshaker to anyone with an interest in the steampunk genre, anyone who enjoys quirky stories with a healthy dose of humor, and conventional fantasy fans looking for a change of pace While the plot may seem a little simple for some older readers, I believe the unique writing style and wit provide adequate compensation I definitely consider Worldshaker a worthwhile read and the sequel Liberator, which I read immediately after, is even better. The fair thing for me to do would be to give this book three stars, not two It s not a bad book It s actually a pretty good book Butwell, there s so much to say I just hope I can remember everything I was thinking.ColI wasn t a huge fan of his character He s a wealthy, sheltered, naive teenage boy who didn t really have any personality, and none of that inspired affection in me Then he meets Riff, and he morphs into this sappy kid who s experiencing his first love He remembered the way her lips felt or He just wanted her to keep touching his hand or whatever No thanks It was too puppy dog for my tastes I prefer equal relationships Which brings up my next point Riff She could ve shown a little affection towards the boy who is apparently her love interest It was awfully one sided, I thought Col is smitten with her, and she almost never reciprocates But other than that, I loved Riff She was hilarious, which I appreciated, and Harland gave her some interesting features that helped me picture her clearly although how does black and blonde hair grow naturally She acted a little too high and mighty sometimes, but I got over it She was cool I thought the entire idea was interesting You ve got these two social classes, Upper Decks and Filthies, who are so separated, and whose reputations are so skewed by their opposites, that they originally believe they re different species How weird, if slightly unbelievable And then you ve got the idea of the juggernauts At first I pictured them as the ships in Kenneth Oppel s Airborn trilogy I thought juggernauts flew But then it hit me that they don t, and I had to switch gears The idea that the juggernauts just carve a path in the earth is fascinating and visually arresting, if you can picture it And the whole concept of revolution is great, especially when you ve got characters like Col caught in the middle The execution was pretty good, actually The writing was not too boring, not too short, whatever Not exceptional, not bad The story hit some dull spots, though I mean, a good portion of the book was spent following Col through his first weeks of school I understand if that s an event that needs to happen, but I don t really care about how his grandmother ordered his supplies for him That whole part could ve been ushered on a little faster One writing ploy I did like was the fight scenes Harland spent a lot of time on the fight scenes, both hand to hand and gunfights It was kind of awesome And I really enjoyed the climax, with the actual revolution and the guns and the crazy Mormus guy It was my favorite part, and I really don t have anything bad to say about it At the very end, Riff could ve been a bit nicer to Col, considering they re supposed to be a thing, but that s the epilogue, not the climax The climax rocked This book waspretty good I like steampunk, although the clothes kind of creep me out It s a good steampunk read, a good revolution dystopia read, a good action read Not a good romance or character development read, though So pick your criteria wisely when choosing this book.