The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Railroad!

July 26, 2011 at 1:18 am (writing)

I’m not a big fan of steampunk. I enjoy well written stories in this genre and I have read some very good ones, but I value excellent characterization and an exciting plot over attention to detail and environment. Since it is historical accuracy and technological and fashion detail which are the keystones to the genre, the things I value are sometimes overlooked. That doesn’t mean I’m not willing to take a chance on a writer I know I like. That’s why I agreed to review Railroad!

Railroad! Volume One: Rodger Dodger (a steampunk western) – by Tonia Brown

 

Enter Dodger, our leading man, looking for a job. When opportunity presents itself, or rather forces itself upon him, he embarks on the adventure of playing professional gunman for train security.

Rairoad! does have the attention to detail characteristic of steampunk. There is a vivid description of the train, Sleipnir, in the intro chapter, and similar description continues throughout the tale, but the characterization is appealing also. Dodger (aka Mr. Carpenter) is a well-developed protagonist. He is bold, quirky and interesting. Mr. Torque, the clockwork man, is an effective contrast with his stiff and regulated ways, Ched, the chief engineer is oddly frightening, and the professor is on the extreme end of eccentric, making Dodger seem more like the typical everyman despite his quirks.

The western theme interwoven into the plot gives the story spirit, and keeps it fun amongst the fiddly technological references (which the average steampunk fan loves, but I don’t enjoy as much.) It plays out in the storyline and the dialogue, and gives the tale some buoyancy. Dodger brings with him his own set of problems, which leads to gunfights, chases and other action-filled excitement. Once the spooky aspect is thrown in, along with a ghost and a romantic interest, I was definitely taken with this.

All in all, I think this is a very clever introduction to the series and its outlandish main character. I also find it amusing that the railroad reference applies to the train itself. It’s steampunk stories like this one, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which keep me interested in revisiting the genre. Five stars from me.

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