Friday, 21 November 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Revolutions - Felix Gilman

Release Date: 18/09/14
Publisher:  Corsair


THE REVOLUTIONS is a fantasy of the occult scene in fin de siecle London, the celestial spheres, and mystical Martian exploration. It follows two young lovers separated by the schemes and blundering of rival occultists, from the drawing rooms of spiritualist societies, through shady enterprises in Deptford warehouses, and magical war on the Isle of Dogs, and out to a hallucinatory, doomed Mars drawn from the fantasies of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the imaginings of Aleister Crowley, and the speculations of Victorian astronomers. Praise for Felix Gilman: "[Gilman] takes the brutality of the wild west and twists it into an epic fantasy that left me staggered. It brings the sense of wonder back to fantasy by creating a complex and visceral world unlike anything I've read...stunning." Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Shades of Milk and Honey "Refreshingly unlike any other novel I've read. Felix Gilman writes like a modern-day Dickens drunk on rich invention and insane war." Stephen Donaldson, author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant "A fantasy that Mark Twain would have been proud to write...Never has fantasy been darker, cleverer, more sly, or more touching in its refraction of our own world. I scratch my head in awe." Francis Spufford, author of Red Plenty "Gilman is one of the essential modern fantasists, and his latest book lives up to the expectations generated by his previous successes." Benjamin Wald, SF Revu "Like The Half-Made World that came before it, The Rise of Ransom City brings us a re-imagined tale of America's Old West, mixing steampunk and magic realism to great effect." Kirkus Reviews "Felix Gilman has a sly wit and an assured hand. He is a fresh and original voice in fantasy." Lavie Tidhar, author of Osama "Vivid and accurate prose, a gripping, imaginative story, a terrifically inventive setting, a hard-bitten, indestructible hero, and an intelligent, fully adult heroine---we haven't had a science-fiction novel like this for a long time." Ursula K. Le Guin


I’m a huge reader and for me the blurb really sold the title, I loved the sound of Victoriana Martian invasions and when you throw a love aspect into the tale, it’s a book that really should have been a magical experience from start to finish. However that said, the book was sadly disappointing. Why?

Well it started out well enough, the prose was decent, the characters were reasonable and the pace worked wonderfully well, however a good way through, the book fell apart as the tale took a turn from the incredulous to the completely unbelievable which all round ruined the experience. Whether the evolution was due to helping expand the page count, I’m not sure but personally speaking the way that it changed really felt like it would have been way better had it ended sooner becoming more of a novella rather than the farce it felt like by the tales conclusion. All round, sadly a great disappointment for me.

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