Customer Reviews for

Power Under Pressure

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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  • Posted June 16, 2014

    A fine finale. I have enjoyed all three of the books in this ser

    A fine finale.
    I have enjoyed all three of the books in this series. They have interesting characters which includes a very resourceful young woman, fine evil villains, gallant young men, clever inventors, and mechanical wonders.
    The "steam punk" aspects work well.
    Nothing is resolved easily, that is for sure!

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  • Posted June 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I really did enjoy this final installment of Mayer's "Socie

    I really did enjoy this final installment of Mayer's "Society of Steam" trilogy. But I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous installments.

    The negatives first: to me, this story felt far more disjointed than the previous editions. In part, I'm sure this is due to the expanded size of the cast and more points-of-view to be represented, but it feels like Mayer handled the transitions much smoother in HEARTS OF SMOKE AND STEAM. I noticed this disjointed feeling especially in the second half of the book, where we shift a great deal not just in point-of-view but also in time; cliffhangers from one chapter are not resolved in the next but rather several chapters later after long periods of character-time have passed. This is a classic comic-book device and I don't begrudge Mayer using it, but there were a couple of times where the timing of events doesn't seem to line up when you go back and track the characters through these mini-flashbacks. I also don't remember Mayer using the device quite so heavily in previous books.

    I also felt like there was a heavy reliance on the insanity of Lord Eschathon as a plot device. Again, a classic comic book trope, and Mayer usually plays with these tropes capably. And again the problem crops up only in the second half of the book: Eschathon's insanity feels too conveniently escalated for not-very-clearly-explained reasons in the context of the events of the story (unless I missed something other than the off-hand assumption that his earlier injuries and fortified smoke inhalation led directly to his growing insanity; if that was the only explanation, then I think I wanted a bit more detail from someone's POV as to why one led to the other). Again, I feel like Mayer made a stronger and more character-centric case for Eschaton's insanity in book two.

    Now, the positives: Sarah Stanton is still a wonderfully strong character. Yes, she's at a low-point at this point in the story, but she climbs back up very well once it becomes necessary. Just like Tony Stark's original battle with alcoholism in the comic books of the 80's, we needed to see Sarah at her lowest to clearly see her through to the woman we've known she could be. Nathaniel's journey throughout the book made me feel more positively towards him than I had in either of the previous books. Both the background revelations and character growth for Anubis were welcome and really well paced out for maximum effect. I would have welcomed a bit more background detail for Emilio and Viola (building on what we got in book two) but I was happier that we got to see character progression for both of them (and rather heart-breaking progression, at that). And what really impresses me is the attention to character arcs for the secondary characters. Jenny and Grusser in particular get some strong moments in the story, and several of the secondary villains, like Jack Knife and The White Knight, get almost as much detail provided as the main characters get. (Not that it makes The White Knight any more likeable, mind you, but at least it puts his behavior in some kind of context.)

    While this is my least favorite book in the trilogy, I can honestly say I'd follow Andrew Mayer back to this world in a heart-beat. Whether he chooses to move forward with the Society of Steam or move backward to tell earlier stories of The Society of Paragons (in particular, I'd love to see some adventures of Sir Dennis Darby and The Sleuth), I'll be along for the ride.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    When I saw this book on the shelf, I loved the cover artwork rig

    When I saw this book on the shelf, I loved the cover artwork right away.
    I have started reading this series, and it's awesome!
    Definitely a must read!

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic Steampunk series!

    The finale to the Society of Steam trilogy was outstanding! If you like steampunk, and superheroes, this, with the other two books, is for you! Recommend highly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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