Review: Prosperity by Alexis Hall00:00
Author: Alexis Hall
Date of publication: 27 Oct 2014
Genre: Steampunk, M/M
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My rating: 5 Stars
A breathtaking tale of passion and adventure in the untamed skies!
Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life . . . and his heart.
Thrill! As our hero battles dreadful kraken above Prosperity. Gasp! As the miracles of clockwork engineering allow a dead man to wreak his vengeance upon the living. Marvel! At the aerial escapades of the aethership, Shadowless.
Beware! The licentious and unchristian example set by the opium-addled navigatress, Miss Grey. Disapprove Strongly! Of the utter moral iniquity of the dastardly crime prince, Milord. Swoon! At the dashing skycaptain, Byron Kae. Swoon Again! At the tormented clergyman, Ruben Crowe.
This volume (available in print, and for the first time on mechanical book-reading devices) contains the complete original text of Piccadilly’s memoirs as first serialised in All the Year Round. Some passages may prove unsettling to unmarried gentlemen of a sensitive disposition.
It is a unique book, like nothing I have read before and I loved so much that it's really difficult for me to write a proper review. I'll start by trying to define its genre/style - for me it's a steampunk, adventure, m/m romance, coming of age, fantasy love story. Mr Hall spins a complex, whimsical, profound and most of all beautiful tale of the life and sorrows and loves of one Piccadilly.
This is my first book by this author and I was drawn to it by the steampunk in the blurb and the krakens (I recently read Meljean Brooks’ The Kraken King and I absolutely loved it). The storie don't have much in common, though. Even the krakens are different, yet in the end I loved Prosperity very much as well.
I wasn’t sure what to expect initially and at the beginning it took me some time to get used to the writing style and language used. I was drawn into the story right from the start, a sort of memoirs of the hero, told by him in a curious mixture of street slang, made-up words and high-brow literary style.
The message of the strength of love coming in all shapes and forms was a strong one throughout all the misfortunes and the rare happy times for Piccadilly. There is a lot of humour along with the philosophical messages. The characters are all unique and you get invested in them despite or rather, because of their flaws and failings. They all seem the have hidden inside them hearts of gold, even the ruthless Milord.
It was fantastical, beautifully written journey that I couldn't put down till the very end. I'm more than happy that there will be more stories about this characters in a series of novellas set in this semi-mythical, semi-realistic universe of rainbows, aethermancy and sky cities.
It's a recommended read for anyone who is looking for something different than traditional romance. Now, I'm going back to read Mr. Hall contemporary M/M romance, Glitterland, which my GR friends have rated very highly.
There a campaign going on this October - QueerRomanceMonth - where authors and fans share their thoughts on the queer romance. I strongly recommend checking it out if you are a fan or just curious about this topic.