Review: The Immorality Engine

Posted: September 30, 2011 by in Books We Love (5/5 single_star) Meta: George Mann, Steampunk

I’ve come to a point in my reading life where I start planning the books I’m going to read well in advance. A new Dresden Files novel in the Spring. New Erikson & Esslemont novels in the Fall/Winter. A new Joe Ledger novel around February/March. Since starting this whole review gig, I’ve added George Mann to my list. For whatever reason, he work always entertains me.

Now, I dig Mann’s Ghost series, I really do. But I get REALLY excited for the Newbury and Hobbes novels. This series just pushes all the right buttons for me. A copy of THE IMMORALITY ENGINE (Amazon) finally came to my doorstep, and I ignored everyone and everything while I started and finished it in virtually one sitting.

I absolutely love the setting and the blatant parallels to Sherlock Holmes. Sir Maurice Newbury is one of my more favorite characters to read, and his assistant Veronica Hobbes is his perfect match. You’ll recall (and if you don’t, this is where I remind you) that one of my main complaints for this series has been the small amount of screen time given to Hobbes. She was such an interesting character, but I never really felt like I was allowed to understander her from a reader’s perspective. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Mann was reading my mind (or my reviews… whichever makes more sense). This book is told almost primarily from Hobbes’ eyes. And it is awesome.

There are a lot of questions for readers going into this novel. What is the Queen’s real goal? What is the deal with Hobbes’ sister? Can Newbury keep it together without falling completely under the spell of opium? For the most part all these questions are addressed and answered. It was quite refreshing actually. What the readers end up with is a fairly solid trilogy that answers a ton of questions while setting up further story.

Again, I can’t stress enough how great it was for me to get a majority of PoV sections from Veronica Hobbes. I just find her character so extremely interesting. She is very much a woman ahead of her time, and in this specific Steampunk setting it works absolutely perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, I love Newbury. I love his Sherlock Holmes persona. I love his toughness. But Hobbes? For me she is excellent. I could read another novel right now from her PoV and be totally immersed.

You’ll notice I haven’t said much about the actual plot. The thing is, readers want to know if a series maintains its quality through the whole ride before starting it. All of you awesome readers want to read a review for one of the latter books in the series without having the earlier books spoiled. I get it, I really do. For the most part I can make that work. So, here is what you need to know:

THE IMMORALITY ENGINE is terrific in every single way. Once you read this book, the whole series will take on a different light. The real villains will seem more intelligent and more frightening. The main protagonists will seem more human. Suddenly a ton of small details from the first two books will pop out. George Mann did an amazing job making this novel work.

THE IMMORALITY ENGINE is about pure enjoyment while reading--there's mystery, action, a little romance, and even something supernatural.

And seriously, look at this cover of the US edition. A mechanical horse with a Gatling gun on the side? If that doesn’t make you want to read the book you are dead inside, and I pity you.

What else can I say to get you to read this book and this series? THE IMMORALITY ENGINE (and the prior novels) is about pure enjoyment and fun while reading. You get mystery, action, a little romance, Steampunk and supernatural stuff all wrapped up in one novel. I love this book, and I will endeavor to give George Mann a huge hug should I ever see him.

  • Recommended Age: 15+
  • Language: Very, very light. Almost none.
  • Violence: To me, this was the most violent novel of the series, but there still wasn't a ton. This series is about the mystery.
  • Sex: None

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