If it weren’t for the strength of the last book and Colfer’s series in general, the opening line of this novel might’ve made me turn back! I originally requested a copy of this from the publisher and you can read about my issues here (last paragraph under Books and Bookish – yes I’m naming and shaming now).
However, given the opening lines “meh” and the fact this is a second book in a series (almost always “meh”) this book turned out to be almost as good as The Reluctant Assassin the first of the W.A.R.P. series.
Part of the struggle, for me, with this novel is that the first one came out early last year and I’ve read so many books since then! Add in that this book starts in an alternative present and it took a few chapters to really start remembering characters and what happened in the previous book. I’m not sure if every book will be like this and I’m pretty sure not with the way this ended but there was a Chekhov gun introduced that I’m assuming will span the series (or at least another book)!
The story, regardless of my confusion, was well written and entertaining. One of the things I truly appreciate about Colfer’s writing is that he doesn’t write down to young adults. There are words in his books that I have to use context clues in order to verify it means what I think it means and I love that. And I’m not talking about the Victorian language, I’m talking $10 words you learn to spell in English class growing up and promptly forget.
Colfer did a better job of keeping the technical jargon to a minimum in this book, but there were still a few moments where I had to pause, but then a character explained it in a super simple way. I wasn’t so sure about the (presumed) steampunk back-formation of technology but it definitely worked within the history and the alternative future/present.
Recommendation: Definitely worth a read, especially if you read it immediately (or near after) The Reluctant Assassin. It will be interesting to see where Colfer goes with how this book ends. I will be checking out the next book in the series when it is released (I would guess early-to-mid 2015), that’s for sure.
Opening Line: “What Might Have Been… Toward the end of the twentieth century, Scottish professor Charles Smart succeeded in stabilizing a time tunnel to Victorian London (constructed from exotic matter with negative energy density, duh).”
Closing Line: “It was the best they could hope for, given the circumstance.” (Whited out.)