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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

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Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

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Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

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Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

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Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

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Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
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REVIEW | The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman (Tor)

There are some books you enter knowing exactly what to expect, which can be good. Sort of like sitting in your favorite chair. Nice and cozy. Than there are those books that immediately jar you into realizing how different they are, which are few and far between. The Half-Made World is decidedly in the second camp evoking a sense of isolation while exploring a world so big that its western regions are still forming into existence yet has a history of thousands of years.

From the very first chapter the tone is set for a vivid adventure involving a general of a dead republic lost in his own mind, a psychologist out of her depth, and a man who has done evil things for decades. The Half-Made World is filled with magical realism, magical people, and the warring factions of possessed guns and thinking engines of destruction both on control. There are even religious groups such as the Smilers who just want you to be happy. The Half-Made World takes you on a journey so strange and wondrous that you will be left spellbound by the world in a literary surreal dream of another plane.

The story is being marketed as a Steam Western, but it is all New Weird in a Western-like setting. Images of the Australian outback often came to mind in this story of Progress versus Chaos; Anarchy versus Order; and Technology versus Faith. There is a large machine/industrial element, but done so it appears to be more magic. This is not a light read by any stretch. It is challenging, but worth it as the tapestry Gilman created comes together. The Half-Made World left me feeling a bit grimy. Like the dirt from the roads the characters trod upon infects your own skin and under your nails.

The Half-Made World is a very complex story. The characters aren't good or bad and it would be a stretch to call them grey. They just are what they are making their way through life. The dialogue between the two main characters is perfect and each have distinctive voices that make them.  Each goes through so much as their journey progresses and many have untold layers, which are slowly peeled back as Gilman gives us a peek into their soul. Gilman drips out the world-building at a languid pace never giving you more than needed to understand the scenery and current happenings. At times I found this frustrating, but as everything progressed I admired this approach instead of long descriptive paragraphs that would have only slowed down the pace of action. There is a section that tends to drag on too long, but once through things pickup dramatically.

The Half-Made World will stay with you long after you close the cover. The Half-Made World has more in common with other New Weird books such as Nights of Villjamur or The Last Page than most of the Steampunk that is out there. But if you like your books weird, wild, well nuanced The Half-Made World will fill you as full as a good hearty chicken soup on a cold day. It is nothing like you've seen before filled with original elements that will leave your mind gasping. I give The Half-Made World 8.5 out of 10 hats. Be sure to go back and read the prologue again after a hundred pages or so as it will make a lot more sense.

The Half-Made World is the first in a duology. The story stands decently on its own so I don't hesitate recommending to check it out sooner than later, but a lot of work has been laid for plenty more.  Many things are left vague such as the origin of the different factions, which I hope are revealed in the future.  No word on the sequel yet except it will probably be finished sometime in 2011 so don't expect it before 2012.

You Might Also Like:
The Old West Brings the Steam by Felix Gilman
The Future of Steampunk by Paul Jessup
REVIEW | The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
INTERVIEW Anthony Huso author of The Last Page


Anonymous said...

I just finished this book yesterday and plan on posting my review tomorrow. Your review is VERY well done. I loved this book and you covered the good and not-so-good things very nicely. :)

redhead said...

you had me at "New Weird".

Ryan said...

Great review...I really want to read this book, it sounds like something I'd really love.