Davidison has created quite a world here, including enough early steampunk plot points for several books: a unified Europe, a Civil War won by the American south, hydrogen engines with drinking water as their only by-product, a terrorist plot, Stepford wife-ish compulsory national service for ‘pretty-enough’ girls, transistor radios and telegraph machines that channel the voices of the dead, and more. It builds slowly, becoming more and more exciting until . . . it ends. No resolution, incomplete explanations, not even a clear picture of what is going on or why, other than a minister’s wish that Scotland go to war and a great aunt’s willingness to sacrifice all for patriotism. I’ll have to read the sequel to find out, and that bugs me a bunch. You know I think of splitting one story into 2 books for the sake of have a ‘series’ to be a cheap and annoying publishing ploy. I will revise to more stars if the sequel fills in some of the gaps. Davidson is definitely creative.
Note: Special fondness for the concept of the eyeball of the newly dead recording an image of the last person seen while alive. This was also recently on Dr. Who.