Friday, November 20, 2009

PastWorld by Ian Beck

Pastworld is the greatest theme park ever devised. It's London - the real London - transformed into a living, breathing re-creation of the Victorian Era.

To Eve, a lifelong resident of Pastworld, horse-drawn carriages and gas lamps are modern technology. Eve doesn't even know she's living in a simulation - until she is forced to flee the only home she's ever know and to confront the truth about her city and herself.

To Caleb, a tourist visiting Pastworld, the theme park is the perfect antidote to the stifling conformity and regulation of 2048. The gritty wildness of the past is thrilling - until he finds himself at the scene of a murder, holding the knife, and suddenly becomes a fugitive from an antiquated justice system.

And in the midst of it all, in the thick London fog, a dark and deadly figure prowls, claiming victim after victim. He's the Fantom, a creature both of the past and of the future in whose dark purposed Caleb and Eve will find their destinies combined.

I have never been a big YA fan until fairly recently so I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of YA books I've either won or bent sent for review so I was a little hesitant to read this book. I figured I would hang onto it for a while then read it sometime in the future. However, after reading the first 5 pages I was pretty hooked.

I recently discovered "steam punk" books about a year ago but this is the first time I've ran across a YA book in the genre. Now some may say it's not really "steam punk" because it doesn't take place in Victorian England. Since this takes place in a setting that is for all purposes Victorian England and it involved genetic engineering, robotics, and modern science, I think it qualifies.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It plays around with the whole concept of family in quite a different way. What make a family and the relationships between family members are equally explored throughout this book in such a way that it makes you think about what the future has in store for the human race. The character development was strong and stayed front and center for most of the book. The character of Eve is a fascinating one to me for she seemed to grow as a character but still managed to stay two dimensional to me. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not but it somehow works with the story.

My only qualm about the book was the character of The Fantom, the new Jack the Ripper. I felt that there was so much more to explore with this character that was simply ignored in the book. I wish we could have had a little bit more of him and his development.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a solid YA, "steam punk", of SciFi novel.


Stephanie said...

Sounds like a good book!! Will have to add this to my TBR list!

Alexia561 said...

So glad to hear that you liked this one, as it's sitting on the table next to me, calling my name! Thanks for the great review!

Cecelia said...

I've been meaning to read this one...

The concept sounds fascinating, the cover is pretty, and it's YA steampunk! Adding it to my Christmas list... :)

bookmagic said...

I've never heard of steam punk. Am I uncool? But the book looks good, I tried to win it

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one as well. I have it on my list to get it, also thanks to Krista.

I am now going to have to go get this one.

Another great review Ryan!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book with an interesting premise. I don't tend toward YA, but it does sounds like it might be worth a look.