Queen Rat. Book ReviewComments Off
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins
Princess Ratiana Clementine Saint John of the submersible Victoriana is about to become a queen. Unfortunately to do so she has to get married and that is way down on her list of priorities behind learning to run the Victoriana, learning to fight with proficiency and most of all, vexing her parents. At 14 she is now old enough to become queen and awaits the arrival of her betrothed.
The Aesthetes are perceived as weak, precious perhaps, and Rat, as she likes to call herself, simply can’t imagine Prince Simeon being at all suited to her. It seems the prince has the same opinion of Princess Rat, with her boyish clothes and manners to match. The betrothal has to begin with a series of trials set by the four submerged communities, and Rat and Simeon will have to learn to work hand in hand if they are to triumph.
A young adult steampunk novella wouldn’t fall into my usual reading wish list but I’m always open to new suggestions and I have to say I’m glad I got hold of this book. It was a quick and enjoyable read and a pure run of escapism. The worldbuilding is its biggest strength by far and I found myself in a world where something as simple as looking at the time becomes a beautifully descriptive piece of prose.
Considering the length of the piece, the characters, even the supporting cast, are surprisingly well detailed and likeable in their not always favorable portrayal. The relationship between the two heirs is forced to develop as the trials go on and the result is a story that perhaps whilst not as tension-filled as it could be, is well told and blends elements of steampunk and our own world perfectly to create a believable alternate reality.
New SFFH festival for 2012 – Discover FestivalComments Off
The Discover Festival is a new event for 2012 which takes place over the weekend of 18 – 20 May at Snibston Discovery Museum, Coalville, Leicestershire. It offers a weekend filled with panels, workshops, readings, Q+As and much more, in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror.
First guests announced are Peter F. Hamilton, Graham Masterton, Mark Chadbourn, Gav Thorpe, Kim Lakin-Smith, Fred Warrington and Gavin Smith, so it’s all shaping up to be a great event!
Full details HERE
House of Murky Depths to launch YA imprintComments Off
For almost as long as Murky Depths has been in print, its publishers – The House of Murky Depths – has been considering producing a series of YA or children’s books. Now that they have made the decision to close Murky Depths they are intent on making an impact with the teenage reader and consequently have launched a new YA imprint called Murkee which will publish similar genres to its parent, i.e. science fiction, horror and fantasy. The books will initially be at the lower end of the novella range at around 20k words with a cover price of between £3.99 and £4.99.
The first book will be launched at the SFX Weekender at Pontin’s, Prestatyn Sands Holiday Park, from 2 – 5 February 2012. It is a steampunk story called Queen Rat from the pen of Kim Lakin-Smith. Whereas most steampunk stories feature dirigibles, Lakin-Smith’s story is set in the submersible world of the Free Ocean where 14-year-old Princess Ratiana Clementine Saint John of the submersible Victoriana is to be wed to Prince Simeon of the Aesthetes. Not only are neither of them keen on the match but to add insult to injury they have no option but to fulfil several life-threatening Grand Rites together before the knot can be tied. As their trials unfold we learn more about their world and they learn more about each other, but will they survive?