Attack of the Giant Sea Spiders (Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates) by Gareth P Jones
|Attack of the Giant Sea Spiders (Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates) by Gareth P Jones|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A humorous world of robotic seafarers and many malicious machinations. It could have been punchier in drama and humour, but is well worth a look.|
|Buy? YES||Borrow? YES|
|Pages: 160||Date: May 2015|
|Publisher: Stripes Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
It's a three-way battle in the Slurring Mariner pub. On the one hand, four Steampunk Pirates – a fine mix of vicious, nefarious and metallic mariners who would make any passing human gulp (which is more than you could ever say of the beer). On another, the Dread Captain Inkybeard, who is married to a squid who lives on his head and keeps his facial hair dark. On the third, a ridiculously rich, ridiculously French and ridiculously successful recruiter – but to just what is he taking so many seamen? Whatever it is, it's enough to get the Pirates and Inkybeard working together (ish) to solve the problem – but someone else might just be controlling the whole farrago…
While not on board for the first book in this series I can say this was a very easy juncture at which to join in. I don't see the lack of explanation for the Steampunk Pirates as an issue – one can just get on with accepting their existence (and if you can't do that, you'll really struggle with accepting someone like Inkybeard). True, I have no idea why nobody seems to realise the cabin boy is a female, but many things are secondary. And more importantly, the merits of this title are certainly enough that one wants to go back and read more – and of course read on, with imminent titles advertised already.
For the adult, certainly, this is a brisk read – many chapters barely reaching ten pages in length, all of which are introduced by one of those old-fashioned clipped summaries of their contents. There aren't actually that many illustrations to speed things along – and too many are painfully invisible in the centre fold of the book – but on whole proceedings are very child-friendly. I did wonder before opening it how actually steampunk it would be, and in all honesty it isn't much at all, and the titular weapons are barely present. But what it is is successfully enjoyable, with easily identifiable characters among the Pirates, a reasonable peppering of quick and witty gags and a decent build up from the completely weird and unknown until we can see the full plot revealed.
Perhaps things concluded in a way that could have been punchier, and there was always a chance of things being funnier than they were all round, but the balance of weirdness and sensible storytelling was, for me, a fine one. I think this series has a chance of being worth your pieces of eight.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy. We also have a review of Rise of the Slippery Sea Monster (Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates) by Gareth P Jones.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Attack of the Giant Sea Spiders (Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates) by Gareth P Jones at Amazon.com.
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