Author: Timothy Black
Series: Gearteeth Trilogy #1
Published: 9 August 2012 by Red Rose Publishing
Length: 607 pages
Warnings: violence, racism
Other info: Timothy wrote us a guest post on squick. Gearteeth is the start of a trilogy.
Summary : "In 1890 a disease that turned sane men into ravenous werewolves erupted in the United States and soon spread to the rest of the world. On the brink of humanity's extinction, Nikola Tesla and a secret order of scientists known as the Tellurians revealed a bold plan: the uninfected would abandon the Earth's surface by rising up in floating salvation cities, iron and steel metropolises that carried tens of thousands of refugees above the savage apocalypse. The remnants of mankind huddled fearfully in the clouds, waiting for the werewolves to devour each other. Yet twenty years later only one salvation city remains aloft, while the beasts still rule the world below. Time has taken its toll on the miraculous machinery of the city, and soon the last of the survivors will plummet to their doom. But when Elijah Kelly, a brakeman aboard the largest of the city's Thunder Trains, is infected by the werewolf virus he discovers a secret world of lies and horrific experiments that hide the disturbing truth about the Tellurians. When the beast in his blood surges forth Elijah must choose between the lives of those he loves and the city that is humanity's last hope of survival."
Review: In a world where people have fled to the sky to escape the werewolves down below, Elijah Kelly is a teenager working on a thunder train when an attack claims friend Henry, and infects Elijah. Choosing to leave his home for the safety of his fellow citizens, Elijah soon comes across secrets concerning the Tellurians, the scientists that got them up there, and the safety of society.
This is an amazingly imaginative steampunk setting. The trains and goggles and gear are typical steampunk fare, the derelict cities and the savageness of the werewolves aren’t. Everything has a spin on it, and my favourite part was seeing the flips side of prosperity and the technology reflecting that.
The characters are cool. My favourite one by far is Maude, Elijah’s grandmother, who is clever and completely off the scale badass. Elijah is clever, with a good heart, and a character you keep rooting for after getting attached. Also, this got me realising how little diversity there is in steampunk in terms of mixed-race/asian/non white main characters, and therefore points to Gearteeth. Maggie, the girl who we meet halfway through, stuck up for herself a lot. The Tellurians and werewolves are very interesting. All the characters are interesting, and you always want to know more about them.
There’s a lot of action. Really, a lot. It’s all well written and gripping and easily imaginable. The world is drawn very vividly, and you can easily imagine the point of canon divergence and how that affected this world, and you can see the roots and realistic issues such as the extreme poverty and horrible conditions, and the backstory fuelled by racism in rural areas.
This is very much in the horror genre as well as the steampunk one. There’s the werewolves, the Tellurians and the reason for their masks, and then a particularly memorable scene involving wolves and a young girl with a metal attachment in her brain. Yeah.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a novel bringing more awesomeness to multiple genres.