Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Mainspring by Jay Lake

Mainspring by Jay Lake
Tor Books, June 2007
Genre: Alternate History, Steampunk
Format Read: Kindle

Book Description:
Jay Lake's first trade novel is an astounding work of creation. Lake has envisioned a clockwork solar system, where the planets move in a vast system of gears around the lamp of the Sun. It is a universe where the hand of the Creator is visible to anyone who simply looks up into the sky, and sees the track of the heavens, the wheels of the Moon, and the great Equatorial gears of the Earth itself.

Mainspring is the story of a young clockmaker's apprentice, who is visited by the Archangel Gabriel. He is told that he must take the Key Perilous and rewind the Mainspring of the Earth. It is running down, and disaster to the planet will ensue if it's not rewound. From innocence and ignorance to power and self-knowledge, the young man will make the long and perilous journey to the South Polar Axis, to fulfill the commandment of his God.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading Mainspring but it had some flaws that detracted from my enjoyment.

Mainspring takes place in an alternate universe with a Clockwork Creator. The religion bears similarity to the Christian tradition but the actual differences are never explained to my satisfaction. Some of that may be due to trying to only reveal what is known to the main character but it leaves the reader's understanding of the world lacking. It was clear that there was some really interesting world-building being done behind the scenes but it would have been nice to see more of it.

One of my biggest complaints was that until the last quarter of the story, the main character was just being carried along by events. He wasn't making any choices about what was happening in his life and once he starts making choices it's because there's no one left to make the decisions for him. None of the small conflicts seemed to have any effect on the greater story arc.

Mainspring had really interesting world-building that I would have liked to see more fully developed and revealed. The main character had an interesting journey both physically and character arc-wise but it felt like there was something missing. I probably won't read Mainspring again and I might recommend it based on the world-building but I'm not sure that the strengths outweigh the flaws. It was an interesting look into a Steampunk world but there wasn't enough tension for my tastes.

 Relevant Links:Mainspring on Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment