by Jeffrey Cook
Oftentimes, I find myself wondering how I could recount the events of my life. Be it episodic and sequential, or random happenings that present themselves, times that are important to me (and quite frankly, deserve to be told) should be written down. I am not an author, let’s be clear about that. Nevertheless, the manner in which events are told is critical to the flow of the story. A bad flow can easily disrupt the reader, whilst the opposite can serve to enhance characters, and may even; in some instances, cover weaker plot points. There are no weak plot points to this tale.
The Dawn of Steam: First Light is a book reminiscent of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, not necessarily from a content perspective but rather in flow delivery. It is written simply, in the form of a diary with journalistic entries. And that’s cool. It made me happy. In fact, so happy that I ate chocolate with my wine... and trust me, I never, ever do that.
For a time, the book sets up a narrative found in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, told 65 years later, by the wife of Gregory Watts (the supporting protagonist of the story). The plot surrounds events that lead up to the launch of a steampunk-esque airship and the crew assembled, embarking on an unplanned trip to a Spanish fort, and across America.
Since it is the first in a sequence of events, the book's title appropriately includes First Light. There are a couple of sub-plots buried within the pages; however, I think I will leave it to the reader to discover these hidden gems. But as a final point, the book feels historic. Perhaps it is the way the journalistic writings are presented, although I think it has more to do with the sense of time that is portrayed by the crew.
The recruitment of the crew is an intriguing part of the book. Whilst some may find it mundane, the interesting nature of the characters kept me engaged. For instance, one such member is Harriet, a smart looking girl who makes a conscious effort to be a proper lady, just like her cousin. Although many pages are spent on character building, I was enthralled with the details, and the wonderful nature of these characters.
I hope the second installment will be just as entertaining as the first!
Available on Amazon
Reviewed by Matt