If you’re an avid reader of steampunk books and haven’t read any of the Alex Acks’ yet — get them!
These collections of steam-powered short stories are fresh, fun and star a merry band of colorful (literally) characters you’ll come to love in no time. (Bar a few, the villains are properly loathsome.)
I recommend reading Murder on the Titania first. It introduces several characters that will continue to play a major role throughout and it will give you a proper sense of chronology. You can read the stories in any order, but from start to (a hopefully temporary) finish is still best. You may be left with a lot of questions if you delve into Wireless first.
Now let’s talk about the setting, and why I think it’s the best thing to have happened in recent steampunk literature.
In a Victoriana-style America, the United States are replaced by a collection of duchies and a vile plague has scourged the land. Captain Marta Ramos and her crew scour rail and skies to steal from the rich.
That may sound like a steampunk, gender-bent take on Robin Hood, but it’s much more than that.
Marta Ramos is an amazing lead character, and Acks has made sure that the supporting cast is just as well developed. Not all the elements may be original in themselves, but the way the story is told just works so, so well.
The story isn’t just about piracy. A myriad of layers of the society of this semi-dystopian USA are addressed, and very well at that. There’s mystery and, sometimes, exceedingly small dogs.
If you want to know what that means, read the book!
Three cheers for Alex Acks. Let’s hope he will write more!