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Posted February 8, 2012
Abney Park was my first exposure to the genre of Steampunk, their music captivated and inspired my imagination and has become ingrained into my inner soundtrack as I move throughout my days. So when I heard that Captain Robert had written a book I could hardly contain my excitement. “The Wrath of Fates” is a fantastic time travel Steampunk adventure that blends history and science fiction in a very unique way. The story follows Captain Robert Brown and his wife Kristina as they find themselves aboard the HMS Ophelia in a very chaotic situation. Taking control Captain Robert leads the HMS Ophelia and its crew on an epic journey through time and back again. The tale is written from the point of view of Captain Robert, which gives the reader a glimpse into the workings of his mind and the motives behind the decisions that he makes. We see his confidence grow as he takes on the role of Captain and the struggles that he and his crew face with each adventure. One of the things I found myself wanting a bit more depth to the crew of the HMS Ophelia, there some very colorful characters that I wanted more of. As this is book one in “The Airship Pirate Chronicles” then I am sure we will see the supporting characters fleshed out a bit more. As a fan of Abney Park, I was thrilled to see how cleverly Captain Robert blended the music of Abney Park and the storyline of the book. This was the first time reading a book that I found myself singing as I read, for me this was a unique experience. Abney Park’s music is the perfect background for this swashbuckling adventure! As if the book didn’t need anything else to make better, the illustrations by Juan Pablo Valdecantos Anfuso are just amazing and add another layer of creativity to this tale, which go hand in hand with the music and writing of Captain Robert Brown. All in all this book that Abney Park fans will devour, and a MUST read for those who are fans of the Steampunk Genre as well as those who love a good old fashioned adventure story. I for one am looking forward to reading more from Captain Robert and his adventures aboard the HMS Ophelia. I give this book 5 stars!
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Posted February 7, 2012
With his first novel, “Captain” Robert Brown skilfully blends together elements of science fiction and history. That’s been done before, but the uniqueness of this book comes when the author sprinkles in bits of his own real life as lead singer for the steampunk band Abney Park. The mix makes for a story that will appeal both to readers unfamilar with the band and to fans who will appreciate the references.
Our narrator (a slightly larger-than-life version of Brown himself) first appears as a wounded man, whose life has come down to a continual struggle to make ends meet. Then, through a mysterious device called a Chronofax, he receives a message from his younger self. The gap between “Robbie’s” expectations for his adult life and Robert’s reality provides the jolt he needs to try to change his life.
Meanwhile (if we can use that word for events that take place 100 years previously), the mysterious Doctor Calgori is preparing for what at first seems to be an ocean voyage aboard the HMS Ophelia. But the Doctor’s and Robert’s paths intersect not on the sea, but in the skies somewhere over Idaho. Robert suddenly finds himself in the midst of all the adventure he could ever wish for, as he takes over the captaincy of the Ophelia and begins using the Doctor’s time-travel technology to “right the wrongs of history.” Along the way he has time to reflect on the nature of heroism and adventure, occasionally finding that they aren’t quite what he expected. Unlike many narrators who serve as fictional stand-ins for their authors, Robert has a keen sense of his own fallibility: when he makes a mistake or a bad decision, he’s the first to admit it.
Descriptive details abound throughout the novel; Brown clearly knows exactly what his fictional world looks like and doesn’t hesitate to share with the reader. He also shows a strong grasp of the underpinnings of both history and mythology as his narrator messes about with both. If I have any complaints about the novel, they’re mainly concerned with the editing, which seems to lessen in quality the further one reads. It’s as if the author either grew tired of the job or (as seems more likely) was in too much of a hurry to publish the final product. Some of the supporting characters make their presences strongly known in the first third or so of the book, only to fade into near-invisibility behind the narrator for much of the story’s remainder. Some descriptive facts are repeated unnecessarily. Overall, though, these are details which don’t seriously detract from the story.
When the sky pirates’ adventures turn sour through bad luck, accidents and treachery, they find themselves with a broken airship in a broken future – one they may have had a hand in breaking. Now the crew’s goal is not retroactive justice, but simple survival – and perhaps to correct their own mistakes.
Before publication Brown promoted the book as the story behind the lyrics of Abney Park’s songs, and it certainly does not disappoint. Whether seen as a work of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, steampunk or even fictionalized autobiography, The Wrath of Fate fleshes out the story promised by those songs, and will make readers who were previously unfamiliar with them eager to seek them out. By the end Brown has tied together the threads of several seemingly separate song-narratives, but left the story untidy in the most delightful sense: with enough loose ends to indicate a new chapter on the horizon.
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Posted May 17, 2012
I started reading this book because I'm an Abney Park fan, and I was hoping that a book linking their songs would be awesome. I finished reading it because I feel I owe it to my fellow fans, and the rest of the reading world, to give a true review to this book. I am writing this with no spoilers.
It took me a while to realize what it was about the book that wasn't working. It's easy to list off the things that it doesn't do, or does badly, but at the end the one fatal flaw of this book is that it reads like the Cliff's Notes version of a book series, or at least a set of short stories. That doesn't necessarily make it not worth reading, if you are interested in the stories behind the music, but you have to know going in that that is all you are getting - the stories.
What the stories are missing are a web that underlies any good tale. The web consists of introductions to the stories, vivid detail of events, descriptions of emotions riding through the narrator's head, and denouement. All the essential bits of the stories are there, but none of the glue is.
I'm glad I read it to the end, because the guts of the stories were interesting. But I'd really like to see Robert rework this book with some help from someone good at doing the glue, because right now it's not a book I'd recommend to anyone but a rabid fan, and even then, I'd make them read this review before reading the book.
Posted April 10, 2012
I knew of Steampunk before hearing of Abney Park, but I started listening to their music a few years ago. I fell in love with their industrial/dance sound, and I've been a loyal listener ever since. I have been waiting for Robert to write a book since listening to their lyrics, and when I found out that he was going to, I saved up money until I could buy the book. I bought it today and read it in one sitting. The writing was good, the characters were excellent and identifiable, and the turn of phrase magnificent. Good job! If you like science fiction/fantasy, read this book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 14, 2012
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Posted July 9, 2012
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