What a surprise.
This feels like a very different book. The first few pages almost feel as if a different author was involved. It’s a reminder that just as singers and songwriters change their style over time so do authors. To begin with Homunculus felt a far harder wrestle than The Aylesford Skull. The writing was thicker and more complex.
A sign of a good author is when the style of prose draws you into the feel of the book and the tempo of the plot. That’s exactly what happened here with Homunculus. I found it easy to keep reading once I made it through the first few pages.
The surprises, however, keep on coming. This is a steampunk book but it’s also something of a zany comedy delivered in a deadpan style.
There’s a skeleton pirate flying a gondola around the skies of London. There are zombies and zombie preachers and a tiny man who may be an alien.
We’ve the hero Langdon St Ives, a man of science, the evil Dr Ignacio Narbondo, Shiloh the evangelist and the evil millionaire Kelso Drake as just some of the characters. At the same time we he a number of boxes, that look the same, but hold different treasures important to different people. Step forward confusion and scuffles.
Do watch out for confusion. With so many characters and twists in the plot it can be quite a challenge to keep up. Homunculus is a book that demands your attention.
I think I enjoyed Homunculus. It wasn’t the book I was expecting and I found it very hard to recover from the surprise. It strikes me that there is a good chance that the smarter you are the more likely you are to enjoy this steampunk comedy.
Disclaimer: My copy of the book was provided for the purpose of review. The latest edition of Homunculus is by Titan Press, £7.99, 2013.