Data : Finished some time around the end of May 2007
Brief, spoiler free review : I believe the most vital bit of wisdom I leave this book with is: "Be careful what I wish for." See, I came by this book through a friend with whom I pleaded and begged a reading recommendation from. When asked for what I wanted, I firmly replied with these two facts: "An interesting villain" and "cruelty toward the characters." The first I found makes every good book great and every pithy book bearable. The second is something I don't run across often and am interested in. The lack of cruelty is no doubt simply a symptom of my predominantly fantasy based reading diet- dragons, magic, perhaps the occasional strong female lead, and always a happy ending. Mind you, this particular search had already been narrowed down to the genre of "steampunk". Not only does this book nail my request, it repeatedly beats me over the head with them, nearly leaving me to whimper and regret I asked for them in the first place. Nearly. I came away from the book immensely pleased with the blend of fantasy and clockwork tech, still reeling from the actions within it, and with a ravenous need for more by that author. If you can stomach the nauseous blend of depressing, vicious actions and puffed up pretentious language, I highly recommend it.