In the world of Altadas, there are no more human births. The Regime is replacing the unborn with demons, while the Resistance is trying to destroy a drug called Hope that the demons need to survive.
Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power.
When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.
Author: Dean F. Wilson
Publisher: Dioscuri Press
Release Date: 15/12/2014
Genre: Science Fiction/Steampunk
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of Hopebreaker: 3 out of 5
I really like both the cover and the blurb for Hopebreaker. The cover instantly makes me think it will be a fun-filled romp of a steampunk novel. The blurb gives me everything I need to dive right in.
I do, however, feel slightly betrayed by an author interview and a few reviews on Amazon stating that it is steampunk. I just don’t feel that it is. It simply has a Sci-Fi/fantasy war novel feel to me that uses steam here and there. It doesn’t feel like a full-on steampunk novel like say the Burton and Swinburne series did. Just because it features steam, in my eyes does not equal steampunk. Much in the same way a novel with lots of computers doesn’t make something cyberpunk. This is just my humble opinion, though, and I am sure there are many steampunk fans out there who love this book as a steampunk title.
Hopebreaker is a good, fun book to read. It’s easy to pick up and enjoy without needing to invest too much into it in order to not get lost in the plot. Sadly, for me, a ‘fun book’ is all it is. It doesn’t hit me on a deeper level and I did not feel in anyway attached to the characters. In fact, I struggled to find many characters that had their own personality. Everyone just seemed to either be distant or cocky. There is seldom a conversation that doesn’t start or end with some kind of cocky comment or innuendo. It just felt to me like the wrong kind of tone to take with a piece that is all about trying to stop demons from overthrowing the world. A little more seriousness would have gone a long way for me. Another aspect of the ‘tone’ I struggled to enjoy was how almost every page had a handful of lines that sounded as though they had been ripped from a quote book.
For the above reasons, I found it very hard to take anyone in command very seriously. Nobody felt like they should have had any form of sway over anyone else. Nobody felt as though they had legitimate authority. I may come across as being a little too harsh, but that’s just how it came across to me. Another character bugbear that I have is with Jacob, the main character. He goes through the entirety of the book telling the people he’s working with that he doesn’t owe them anything, and that he doesn’t see why he should do anything for them without some form of gain. Sadly, this is horrifically wrong. He owes everything to them. He’s like a dog in that he won’t do anything bad whilst someone is watching, but will act like a dick when someone leaves the room. For that reason I struggled to empathise with him and was constantly hoping he would fall off something high or catch something bad.
Having read that back, I feel like I am being overly negative. My take on Hopebreaker wasn’t all bad. Wilson writes his battle scenes, of which there are many, very well. The writing is detailed and descriptive and adds to the ‘fun’ aspect of the book I mentioned earlier. I often thought it would work well as an anime or something of the sort.
The only minor downside to the battle scenes was that I never felt that the main players were ever in any kind of real danger. I like to feel that the people I am trying to get attached to are going to be ripped away from me at some point. It adds to the whole bonding thing between reader and character.
Wilson has, with the end of the book, dropped a few plot points that will make the future instalments of the series very intriguing to read. The ending also leads beautifully into the next book in the series ‘Lifemaker’.
In short, Hopebreaker is a fun read that many people have and will enjoy. I just don’t feel it was entirely for me.