Sunday, November 1, 2009

Book Report: Escapement, by Jay Lake

This is my first Lake book, and I enjoyed it tremendously. It's the story of a girl with a gift who ranges far from home to find a place for herself and it in the world. She ends up finding her place both closer to home and farther away than she ever dreamed.

This is a sequel to Lake's Mainspring, which I have been unable to acquire (haven't tried too hard, mind you), but it seems to be an independent story with independent characters, and shares only the world and the situation with the previous book.

And what a world.

Taking steampunk thought a little further than I ever bothered to imagine, Lake imagines an Earth divided at the equator by a wall. This wall rises straight up into space where it forms a gear by which Earth fits into the clockwork of the solar system. At night, the characters are able to look up into the heavens and see the distant massive cogs that form their Universe. That's a perspective that would definitely impact your world view.

My least-favorite part of the book is the plot, I'm afraid. Perhaps things would fit together better for me if I read Mainspring. Perhaps not. I was left at the end with so many questions: what happened to the English attempt to drill through the wall? What happened to Boaz, the metal man, or the Mask Childress and her renegade Chinese submarine crew?

This leaves a great deal of room for a sequel, but I was disappointed that in a book which seemed to have so little direct follow-on from its predecessor, so much would be left unresolved.

Still, a great book. Lake's prose is wonderful, providing the perfect concrete details that make his world come to life.

Ulysses Rating: 4 - I loved this.

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