Monday 17 February 2014

Review on Dawn of Steam #1 First Light

In 1815, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, two of England's wealthiest lords place a high-stakes wager on whether a popular set of books, which claim that the author has travelled to many unknown corners of the globe, are truth or, more likely, wild fiction. Former aide-de-camp, Gregory Conan Watts tells the story through a series of letters and journal entries, describing his adventures travelling aboard an airship with his crew, which include a wide variety of characters, including the airship's owner, war hero, genius, and literal knight in steam-powered armour Sir James Coltrane. The crew are in a race against time, as the crew hired by the other side of the wager seem willing to win by any means necessary.

I have not had much experience with Steam Punk novels, so when I was asked to review this book I was unsure of what to expect. Although it started off slow, it picked up it's pace once the crew had been assembled together and the main part of the adventure had started. Being an epistolary novel, the story is told from the protagonists point of view through the writing of letters to his fiancée and boss, and his own personal journal. The writing style varies slightly depending on who Gregory's intended reader is, which gives the story some variety. There is little dialogue between Gregory and other characters, which makes it difficult to understand what the crews thoughts and feelings are. However, the lack of dialogue is compromised slightly by some of the other characters writing their own letters home. I adored the character of Sam Bowe from the start, and although soon after joining the crew there was a plot twist involving this character that I was not expecting, Sam has remained my favourite character throughout the novel. As the novel is set in 1815, it is interesting that the gender roles of the characters are not set in stone, e.g , Harriet is a good mechanic, while another female member of the crew is a true heroine, and is just as good at fighting, if not better, than some of the male crew members. Most strong female characters in both books and movies are sexualised, but with this book, it was not the case, which I loved. I feel as if their adventure could have been more widespread, as it was limited to England and America, but as it is the first book in the series, I am sure the sequels will cover a larger area of the world.

First Light will be available to purchase from February 28th

For more information on this series please visit

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