Steampunk adventure with an environmental point. After a daring chase across the globe, Tim Barnabas and Clara Calland have brought Clara's scientist father's secret formula to Westralia. Here, much of Australia is simply too hot to be habitable by day. Duke Malcolm, of the Imperial Security Service, transports Claras rebel-father to a prison in Eastern Australia, hoping tSteampunk adventure with an environmental point. After a daring chase across the globe, Tim Barnabas and Clara Calland have brought Clara's scientist father's secret formula to Westralia. Here, much of Australia is simply too hot to be habitable by day. Duke Malcolm, of the Imperial Security Service, transports Claras rebel-father to a prison in Eastern Australia, hoping to bait her into attempting a rescue. Clara looks to Tim for help, only to find he has fled a racist incident into the desert. She takes a burrowing machine know as a "steam mole" in search of him. The two head to Eastern Australia, where they discover an invading force with plans to take Westralia....
|Title||:||The Steam Mole|
|Number of Pages||:||300 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Steam Mole Reviews
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? No. Yet more character impersonators (and that kid looks nothing like how I imagine Tim), and it's just kind of boring.Characters: The two protagonists have actually improved since Cuttlefish. Tim doesn't harp on the race issue nearly as much as he did in the previous book, and Clara has abandoned her feminist attitude, while still maintaining her adventurous and resourceful streak. Linda would have been a good addition to the cast, except she was, in so many ways, so much like Clara that the two blended together, and neither of them ended up seeming special. I don't normally like it when a kid protagonist's parents are thrown into an adventure, because the parents will always try to keep their kids from doing fun stuff, but Clara's father and mother seemed to accept pretty readily that Clara was going to do what needed to be done, and so found ways for her to help in the "big picture" that wouldn't see her flat-out killed, rather than trying to wholly protect her. Linda's father was much the same way. In terms of villains, however, The Steam Mole is lacking. Duke Malcolm just isn't that threatening, and his brothers are so incompetent that the scenes where the villains are plotting and planning their dastardly schemes begin to feel like a comedy routine.The Romance: Clara and Tim spend the majority of the book separated, and when they do finally meet up, they're too busy surviving to spend too much time romancing. I was extremely happy. Tim didn't get really annoying in Cuttlefish until he started "noticing" Clara.Plot: It isn't as good as Cuttlefish. The "superobjective" is a bit more tenuous - okay, a lot more tenuous. The villains have some plans to do away with Clara's mother, but there's this plan to use Clara as leverage, and then their plans are somehow thwarted by no purposeful intent on the heroes' parts; it just happens. Characters spend a lot of time wandering through the Australian outback, literally just missing each other by a couple of miles, and then finally find each other. Meanwhile, Clara's father is learning about how mistreated the Aboriginals are (because this is somehow necessary to the plot), and the British Empire has some plans to take over Westralia, but the villains are so ridiculous and the heroes so lucky that . . . Well, let's just say that I was embarrassed for the villains.Believability: This is what continually saves this Author's books. I still find his steampunk world being based in a world affected by Global Warming because coal is still in wide use absolutely ridiculous, and I still have to wonder how it is that clothing fashions remain in the Victorian era when it's the 1970s (the alternate history of this world wouldn't affect that). But the Author's steam contraptions are just so bloody fascinating - and so bloody believable. I just positively enjoy them, so much so that it actually makes up for the disappointing plot (that could have been super, but wasn't). The submarine was awesome enough, but here we have tunneling machines and air ships - how cool is that?!Writing Style: The Author still persists in using ". . ." in downright weird places (in the middle of sentences, at the beginning of sentences, at the end, in the middle of the middle), and at times his style lacks beauty, and sounds almost shamefully cliche and childish (mostly during the "dastardly scheming" scenes; I just had the hardest time taking his villains seriously). But at other times, it was actually very nice, and he has a way with conveying technical details in a very coherent fashion. I could envision his steam contraptions perfectly.Content: None.Conclusion: In a word: anticlimactic. Very anticlimactic. I don't know if he's going to write another sequel - I certainly think he should, though I don't think it would save The Steam Mole's ending. With the British Empire invading Westralia, one would expect a really exciting ending. Think again. The heroes are reunited, they cobble together a plan that just happens to work perfectly in their favor, racism is on the road to being vanquished, and the villains are humiliated. I actually ended up missing the actual moment of triumph because I blinked, and then, when I got to finis, I had to go back and find where exactly the heroes won. And then I was like, That's it?! So, in some ways The Steam Mole was better than Cuttlefish: Tim and Clara were more likable, there were some more awesome contraptions, and the politics of the world were coherent. But in other ways - namely, the plot - it was worse.Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, fourteen-and-up (younger than that just might find it a little boring). Steampunk and alternate history fans will probably enjoy this pretty well, though it definitely isn't the world's best steampunk novel.
This review was written by Rebecca Muir for Dark Matter Zine. This and more reviews, interviews etc are on Dark Matter Zine, an online magazine. http://www.darkmatterzine.com. The Steam Mole is the sequel to Dave Freer’s alternate history novel, Cuttlefish. The world of Cuttlefish and The Steam Mole diverged from ours with a quarrel between two scientists who were engaged to be married. In our world, they were married and developed a process to synthesise ammonia. In Dave Freer’s world, the marriage was called off and the process was not discovered. The implications of this have been widespread, with the world a very different place in terms of society, politics, the environment and technological development.In Cuttlefish, Mary, the daughter of the female scientist, has followed her mother into Chemistry, and she has developed the ammonia process that her mother did in our world. Realising the enormous global significance of this, she has been chased across the world by the British Empire to the rebel state of Westralia, with her daughter Clara. They were brought there in the coal powered submarine, the Cuttlefish.The Steam Mole picks up where Cuttlefish left off. The crew of the Cuttlefish have dispersed across the country to work while the submarine is being repaired. Tim, a young man Clara got to know and like very much on the Cuttlefish, has gone to work on the undercover railway lines in the north. He meets trouble because his dark skin causes him to be taken for an aboriginal in a place where racism is rife. Meanwhile, Mary falls ill, and Clara sets off to find Tim and ask for his help. She has received word that her father, a political prisoner of the British Empire, is now in Eastern Australia. She wants Tim to help her find him. Adventures ensue for all in the inhospitable outback of Westralia: There are friends to be rescued, a plot by the British Empire to invade Westralia to be thwarted, and the greed and unlawful activities of powerful Westralian corporations to be brought to justice.The Steam Mole builds on the character development started in the Cuttlefish, particularly of the two young protagonists, Tim and Clara. Other lively characters are also introduced. Dave Freer has created some vivid and likeable heroes for his books. [Spoilers, Sweetie] The ending felt a bit like “and everyone lived happily ever after”, but because I was drawn to the characters so much, anything else would have been a disappointment. [Spoiler ends]The alternate world Dave Freer has created is well thought out and intriguing. It is believable – he has thought about the implications of his changes and the technology he describes sounds like it would actually work. Against this backdrop he has written a fun and gripping story, filled with interesting characters who have to fight to save the world. He has also explored some important themes such as racism, friendship, the role of women in society and the injustice that can occur when big corporations start to think they are above the law.I think this book will appeal to a wide range of people, from young adults to older readers. Fans of science fiction will find the alternate world fascinating, but those who don’t normally go for sci-fi should also find it accessible and interesting. I would definitely read Cuttlefish first. Both books get a big thumbs up from me – they will be earning a place on my “books to reread and enjoy again” shelf.
Dave Freer's Cuttlefish laid the perfect foundation to Clara and Tim's story, from their blooming friendship to their dangerous adventure. After many days dodging Duke Malcolm's army, Clara and the other residents of the Cuttlefish have finally made it to the Republic of Westralia. Their journey begins anew in The Steam Mole as they adapt to life on land and all the trials that follow.What I love about Cuttlefish and The Steam Mole is how consistent Freer remains with the steampunk and science-fiction elements. Clara is no longer confined to an illegal, coal powered submarine, but Freer easily introduces another intricate, and quite important, machine: the steam mole. The steam mole is a central part of the novel that intrigued me because it took the biggest scenes of adventure underground. It's like exploring a whole new world with the same suspenseful aura and complex storyline.Freer extends our view of Clara's world. With her mother's sudden illness, and the fragile hope that her father is imprisoned nearby, the story's plots and subplots diverge. New characters are thrown into the growing pile of perspectives like Lampy, the young aboriginal with a dark past and bright future. Lampy reminded me of Tim because of their similar backgrounds and temperaments; both know how to survive in the most unlikeliest situations and both are the victims of prejudice based on the color of their skin. This aspect brings a certain cultural awareness that is highly overlooked in young adult literature. That it's found in a steampunk, sci-fi novel is even more of a draw.While I did enjoy The Steam Mole and it's perfectly pieced together conclusion, I have to say that it wasn't quite the sequel to Cuttlefish that I'd been expecting. By the end of the story I got the impression that the characters were settling in their new lives, not gearing up for a possible future adventure. When the subplots finally converged and the wrongs set right, the outcome felt as though forced. Freer made it too easy and not as nerve-wrecking as the explosive conclusion of Cuttlefish. I really love Clara and Tim, their ability to tough it out is awesome, I'm hoping to find their story continue in another novel. Hopefully, one with just as much action and alternate history!*Book provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Graded By: AlixCover Story: Electric BoogalooBFF Charm: Make It RainSwoonworthy Scale: 7.5Talky Talk: Action Packed, with a Touch of Mockingjay SyndromeBonus Factors: Alternative History, Paul RevereAnti-Bonus Factor: RacismRelationship Status: Going SteadyRead the full book report here.
Love. This. Book.Just plain fun. The kids continue their adventures, fleeing the British empire and having brushes with death and dipsticks right, left and center. Freer's ability to keep you engaged with characters is second to none.
These books are super fun. Clara is such a BAMF. Read my full review at Forever Young Adult.
Well, this book certainly immersed me in the Australian desert! I enjoyed it as much as I did Cuttlefish.
3.5 stars - it took a little while to get started but once it did it moved along nicely. The ending was a bit facile but I can handle that.