Infernal Devices – Steampunk goodness

Infernal Devices has been out of print since the late 1980’s. Thanks to Angry Robot, it’s once again available! I’m on a bit of a steampunk kick at the moment, so as soon as I saw the cover, and the title, I requested it for review from netgalley.

Release Date: 26th April, 2011.
Author: K. W. Jeter


But George has little talent for watches and other infernal devices. When someone tries to steal an old device from the premises, George finds himself embroiled in a mystery of time travel, music and sexual intrigue. The classic steampunk tale from the master of the genre.

With a new introduction by the author, and an afterword by Jeff VanderMeer.

I took my time reading this novel – it’s one of those books you want to dwell in a little. There is plenty of action, lots of great stuff going on, but I really think that in order to get the most from it, you should take your time.

George, the narrator, is a man who doesn’t get worked up over much. Despite everything thrown at him, he tends to keep his wits about him, even though for the most part he has absolutely no-idea whats going on. When we come into his life he is fumbling along as best as he can, but he is already out of his depth, making a mess of his fathers legacy. Very quickly, we are introduced to a few new characters, who drag George into mayhem. Once you get through the first bit, the reading gets much easier and you are in for a great ride.

There is a solid cast of characters, all with their own quirks, no-one quite as they might first seem. A really great example of each and every character having their own history, wants and needs, all driving forward the main plot and leaving our narrator one very confused man. (For that reason, I would recommend this book to writers, even those who aren’t into steampunk – there is a lot to be learned here about creating a rich and complex world, about building characters that are in no way cardboard.)

The writing style is convincingly Victorian (to me, anyways). I could easily believe this was written back in those days and never once felt like I got jarred out of the story. It’s just so well done!

I can’t really say much more, without giving away too many details, or ruining it for anyone. If you like steampunk novels, if you like complex, intelligent story lines, why not check it out?



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