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Thomas Riley (Steampunk Novels) [Paperback]

Nick Valentino
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.45
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Product details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Echelon Press Publishing (1 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590807006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590807002
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.5 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,398,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good steampunk adventure 25 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
I quite liked this book. The first few pages didn't quite grip me but I liked how the story developed from there, and the plot is a simple, straightforward romp which makes for good, lighthearted reading.

I really loved the attention to details and the inclusion of nice scenes like the mechanical bear or the ghost people - background touches that work both as world building and possible hooks for sequels, without burdening the story with dangling subplots.
Thomas and Cynthia also work very well as a duo, and you can easily believe they have been working together for some time. Cynthia in particular, while being absent for a good while for the second part of the novel, leaves a remarkable impression as a strong-willed capable woman with distinct shades of Emma Peel - especially in her attention to a comfortable yet stylish wardrobe!

There are however a few things that didn't work for me: the obsession on describing characters and their clothing bring to the occasional halt in the narration, and the use of some real-world terms like Gatling felt sometimes out of place.

Overall a very nice YA book, good for young and not-so-young readers. Here's to hoping for a sequel!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it 18 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
There is only really one word to describe this book for me: Incredible. I have been captivated throughout my entire read of this book. I love it very much and I highly recommend it to anybody with an enthusiastic attitude or interest toward steampunk and to general fantasy lovers alike.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good fast moving adventure. 23 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
Just got into steampunk and this is the first book I have read so far. I thought it was a very good fast moving adventure story. I realy loved the inventions and tech made by Riley. Altho it has a simple plot the world he creates keeps you inverested. Look forward to more like this from Nick Valentino.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What to do with a trapped soul and two lost weapons masters 23 Jan 2010
By Jessie Potts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thomas Riley is a splendid mixture of fantasy, steampunk, weapons, bombs, weird gelatinous masses, crazy alchemists, trapped souls, a two decade long war, and ingenuity. Nick Valentino has perfected the clipped british dialogue and humorous characters. I dare say I want to go out and buy a pair of googles for myself.

Thomas and Cynthia are weapons masters. They are doing quite fine in their lab trying to find the antidote to a bacteria when soldiers rush them. Along with the soldiers is the Duke's almost dead daughter. Thomas is ordered to perform Lifeblood (an alchemey) that never goes right. Sure enough the Duke's daughter ends up taking up residence in Cynthia's body. The only thing for the two to do is kidnap their enemy's alchemist. Who by the way is a crazy little bugger. Their entire journey from there is pure luck, bad events, and some misfortune. At no time was I bored or wishing that the plot would move along. The scene changes were detailed, from the air ship to the enemy palace. I also loved the attention to detail in regards to the different weapons Thomas and Cynthia created. I felt like although they were fantastical I could see what they might have looked like if they did exist.

The ending is ambiguous. I'm not sure if there will be a second novel, but enough of the plot was left open for that to be a possibility. I would like to find out what Cyn and Thom decide to do with themselves and their new 'situation'. All in all it was quick, mechanical and fun to read.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vanity Publishing at its Finest! 28 Nov 2010
By D. Baer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Poor spelling!

Poor grammar!

Improper punctuation!

Missing words!

Flat characters!

Incomplete threads!

If these thrill you to your core, then this is the novel for you! If the author spent half as much time developing his characters as he did describing their attire, this might have been a fair novel. As was, it was a prime example of a manuscript that got bounced from every editor until the author elected to self-publish it.

I stuck it out to the very end, only to find that he set it up for a sequel. Oh, joy.

If you are an English Composition professor, I can highly recommend this novel as your text book of how to write fiction poorly. As for reading--it is annoying. I spent more time mentally correcting the manuscript. I don't know that it is self-published for certain, but it definitely reads as if an editor never proofed it

Hint for the author: next time you want to write about how something you are describing is "like" something else (as you did over, and over), don't do it. Go wash some dishes.

In conclusion, I take back that one star I gave it. The author owes his readers stars.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really? 19 Sep 2010
By Cassaundra Grace - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I love steam-punk, but this did not make the mark. I found grammer, spelling and punctuation errors. The characters seem to be schizophrenic or bipolar. One minute the main character, Thomas, is a typical quiet scientist and the next a trained military man brazenly taking chances. Everyone has almost the same diction and a modern diction at that. In an alternate reality similar to our Victorian England, people should not be saying "okay" and " we were an item." These are entirely modern phrases. Just because this was geared towards young adults doesn't mean it has to be so dumbed down. I must say, I was sorely disappointed by this steam-punk novel.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good intro to Steampunk 7 Jun 2010
By Hank Harwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In one of the strangest turns of events I ever experienced, I was a winner in a contest promoting the new young adult steampunk novel, Thomas Riley. Included in my winnings was a signed copy of the book, which I read just after Christmas. The book itself was quite a fast read (as I would expect one marketed to the YA audience would be), and I was able to breeze through the pages quickly.

The story is about Thomas Riley, a celebrated engineer and alchemist who, with his assistant Cynthia, is a weapons designer. Riley's nation has been at war with a rival for the last 20 years, with neither side gaining much of an advantage. Riley's weapons have been instrumental in keeping the other side from affecting life at home much. But then an attack nearby forces Riley to engage in a dangerous experiment, and when the process fails, he and Cynthia must infiltrate enemy territory to reverse the mistake. As they do so they must not only avoid enemy soldiers, but also notorious sky pirates.

The book has some not-so-great things and some really good things about it. I'll start with the not-so-great, as I feel that there are more things to like than not.

The narrative voice was a little jarring at first. I had read an anthology of steampunk fiction, and my 'ear' was tuned to the way the fiction was written for that book. When I read Thomas Riley, it didn't match what I had read in the anthology. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but it wasn't what I had expected.

The pacing at first seemed a little off, as well. Once the experiment failed and the the mission really began, however, it really began to pick up. I also wasn't crazy about the body count. This seemed to be out of character for a YA novel. Perhaps it has been too long since I last read something from that section of the bookstore.

The author, Nick Valentino, could have benefited from a little tighter editing. There was one chapter where Thomas Riley is stated as having three special grenades, and then he uses at least four of these grenades! Also, a character was portrayed as speaking with a 'British accent,' despite presumption that the story was set on an alternate earth, with no indication that Great Britain existed at all.

In short, these are minor quibbles that would temporarily take me out of the story, but it wasn't hard for me to jump right back in. I found the characters to be fun and engaging. There was a good mix of courage, ingenuity and frailty present, and the supporting players seemed to have other functions rather than simply to set the leads up for more heroics.

The steam gadgets were inventive and well-placed. The 'technical' jargon was kept to a minimum, which allows the reader to follow what is happening without having to try to figure out what was just said first.

Finally, Valentino includes several 'jumping-off' points in the story that allows for sequels, without requiring them. It will be interesting to follow the series and see how it progresses.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, bad writing 28 Dec 2010
By Sherry S - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to say, with all the glowing reviews I expected a lot more out of this novel. The premise is good, and the world of Thomas and Cynthia is intriguing, but it is so badly written I had trouble sticking with it. Numerous spelling and grammatical errors are distracting. The continuous shift of point of view from character to character makes it difficult to know who is thinking what. This could have been a great book; was it dumbed down for YA readers? I'd give them more credit for wanting an exciting book that reads well too.
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