The Blurb on Other People’s Words – The Sauder Diaries

December 27, 2011 at 3:59 am (Reviews, writing) (, , , , , )

The Sauder Diaries: By Any Other Name – Michel R. Vaillancourt

I read this first novel in The Sauder Diaries series chapter by chapter, before it had been published in ebook form, and despite not being a usual reader of steampunk, I truly enjoyed the adventures of Mr. Sauder and told Mr. Vaillancourt that he should seriously consider having his book published. The story is well thought out, his writing style is both comfortable and nevertheless gripping, and his characters are multi-dimensional, realistically flawed, and delightful.

The story follows our hero who finds himself on an airship, somewhat involuntarily recruited to its crew after he has recovered from injuries. He starts making friends and allies on the ship, such as his supervisor, Arietta, whom he also finds attractive, and the doctor who helped restore him to health. He also starts learning the ship politics and what is needed to fit in. Then, he faces his first exposure to battle.

Mr. Sauder has a very noble and gentlemanly outlook on life, which affects his interaction with others, particularly the ladies. As time goes on his relationships deepen, he becomes immersed in the life on the ship and he eventually becomes torn between the life he has built there versus his duty to his family and his need to return to them.

I liked the format and even the extensive description – Mr. Vaillancourt is masterful at capturing a scene, although my tastes are for a story with more sparse description so that you never lose sight of the plot. With the exception of a couple of spots where I found my attention waning a little because of overly detailed description of fashion or engineering, no doubt to make sure the story appealed to avid steampunk fans who thrive on that part of the genre, the descriptions rarely distracted much from the tale.

I particularly liked his characterization. The protagonist is immediately both interesting and likeable. I also particularly enjoyed the doctor and the protagonist’s female counterparts. They are quirky and amusing – nobody could suggest that the characters in this novel are flat. They strike me as intricate, multi-faceted and well-developed.

This book has already received several five star reviews and it is certainly deserving of them. I’m thankful to hear that Mr. Vaillancourt is currently working on a sequel.


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