Thursday, September 09, 2010

Book Review- Worldshaker by Richard Harland

Richard Harland’s steampunk novel Worldshaker has a unique premise: an ever-moving city, two and a half miles long and three quarters of a mile wide, with 53 decks and a population of over 10,000 people. This doesn’t include the “Filthies”—the two thousand or so poor souls forced to live in the bowels of Worldshaker, keeping it running.

Colbert Porpentine, groomed to be the next supreme commander by his grandfather, Sir Mormus, meets Riff, a Filthy girl who has given security the slip, and is hiding under the bed in Colbert’s room. He doesn’t turn her in, and so begins his journey into discovering the real world that exists beyond his upper-class upbringing.

Col helps her find a way back to the Below, but they meet again as his curiosity gets the best of him and it gets him in trouble. This shakes his (and the Porpentine families’) standing in the community. He learns the Filthies aren’t dumb, mute animals, and that the polite façade of those around him can’t hide their planning and scheming. The constant emphasis on class and social status may seem a bit over the top, even downright offensive in this day and age. But as Col’s anger grows at the injustices of Worldshaker’s society, the action and suspense grows. I had to push myself in the beginning to keep reading, but then found myself racing to the end. It may not have the usual airships and advanced gadgets of traditional steampunk, but it’s still worth a spin.

-By Debra B. at CCL

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