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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk that works!
I didn't think I was going to enjoy this - I'd originally bought it for my OH - so included it on my TBR Challenge for this year. I'd had an earlier, relatively unsuccessful foray into steampunk so I approached this with some trepidation.....

It's London under Victoria's reign, but ground trains and electric hansom cabs run along the streets, and airships rule...
Published on 28 Jun 2011 by SazzyMCH

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars By-The-Numbers and not as 'steampunk' as it thinks it is...
Recipe for a steampunk novel: You will need:

1 victorian London - present.
A variety of steam-driven machines - present.
Several improbably capable clockwork automata - present.
Lots and lots of airships - check.

But:

1 involving 'ripping yarn' of a plot - missing
several interesting characters - absent
plenty of...
Published on 3 Dec 2011 by J. D. Burnell


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars By-The-Numbers and not as 'steampunk' as it thinks it is..., 3 Dec 2011
By 
J. D. Burnell - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
Recipe for a steampunk novel: You will need:

1 victorian London - present.
A variety of steam-driven machines - present.
Several improbably capable clockwork automata - present.
Lots and lots of airships - check.

But:

1 involving 'ripping yarn' of a plot - missing
several interesting characters - absent
plenty of atmosphere - nope
a handful of plot twists the reader can't spot a mile off - uh uh.

This just doesn't work.

Dialogue: others have noted the dreadfully non-victorian dialogue; here's another example: people in the nineteenth century didn't say "How the devil are you?" - that's what modern people say if they are pretending to be cod-victorians.

Scene-setting: I never once believed I was in victorian London - even a steampunk version of it. There's no scenery, no colour, nothing to put me in the place. Compare Pullman's Sally Lockhart stories for how to do that really well.

Technology: I'm not convinced Mann knows his history of science and engineering. An example: one of the main characters goes back to her apartment and lights a gas grill to make some toast. In 1901? Not (completely) chronologically impossible, but it's hugely unlikely, and certainly unusual enough for it to be commented on in the text, if the writer had realised that and wasn't just being lazy.

He also never really talks about the way technology has changed society, except in banner-waving statements about clockwork robots putting people out of work, and that's never examined in any more detail. So even the technology he does discuss comes across as a two-dimensional maguffin - it's just 'Oo look! There's a steam taxi! Right, on with the plot.'

Even that I could cope with if the plot cracked on enough, but it doesn't. It plods, and when you don't really care about the two-dimensional characters that's not something you can get away with.

The cover sums up the whole book - superficially steampunk but look closer and you'll be disappointed. It's desperately trying to be steampunk, but the main image is a stock shot of a zeppelin with a very simple, non-victorian and not-very-well-drawn gondola tacked on badly at the bottom.

Avoid.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 14 May 2009
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
Like others I bought this on the strength of the excellent cover, having no knowledge of the author - and overall I enjoyed it. Whilst the characters and the setting are familiar and the debt to Sherlock Holmes etc is clear, thats OK with me - its SF! The plot is nicely put together, with everything from zombies to airships thrown into the mix and I can forgive any implausibilties such as the lead characters powers of regeneration.

There are the makings of a nice series here and the author knows it, eg references to other adventures such as the 'Hambleton affair'. I wish him luck. For me though the writing style was the real problem and never drew me in. Some of the dialogue really grated (eg "you can choose to help us or choose to create a situation for yourself" - in 1901?).

I can't recommend this book overall. I think the reviewer who classed this book as a missed opportunity pretty much summed it up. I hope that the author can round out the characters in future episodes, as the setting should give him plenty of room to play in.

I never thought that this book would be my first Amazon review. What prompted me was this: I can't be the first to wonder whether the reviewer Lou Anders is the same quoted on the front cover of my copy ("I absolutely loved it"), and thanked by the author in his acknowledgements. I feel that somehow he should have mentioned this in his review, if true.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too sure about this one, 2 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
This was my first experience of a steam punk novel, not sure if it will be my last. The story revolves around the the investigation into an airship crash in Victorian London, with zombies clockwork robots and glowing ghostly policeman thrown in for good measure. heading up this investigation is the partnership between Sir Maurice Newbury and his female assistant Hobbes.

Now obviously the main protagonist has to have a major failing, he just wouldn't be a detective if he didn't have some failing. In this case it is an addiction to laudanum. Here in lies my first problem with this book, why does he have to have an addiction, especially laudanum, this seems to de the drug of choice for Victorian detectives.

Secondly, everything bar the Kitchen sink is thrown into the mix, secret meetings with the monarchy, clockwork powered robots, a slightly dubious scientist, a power mad business man, and lets not forget fog shrouded streets of London. Yet for all these things Mann, never to truly capture any sense or fell of Victorian London, regardless of its steam punk leanings. Reading this novel it was hard pushed to imagine the characters walking around London, even though all that was missing was a young boy shouting "shine your shoes guv'nor.

The novel read flat, at no point did I feel compelled to turn the page. Yet, this is where it becomes murky, would I recommend this novel to someone else, no I wouldn't, but will I buy the sequel, probably. There is a really good pulp novel sitting here, waiting to be edited and rewritten in to leaner more fast paced story. Hopefully the second novel sees a progression in the writing, with a few off the clichés thrown out in favour of some more original thoughts and ideas.

This novels deserve 2 and half outr of five.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk Detective Desperately Seeks Editor, 10 Jun 2010
By 
Woolgatherer (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
This was an interesting concept, spoiled by some sloppy writing and poor plotting.

If an author is trying to create an alternative world, I think that it is important to make sure the details are credible to maintain the illusion.

So, for example, we asked to believe that Miss Hobbes, who is described as having a, "dainty but full figure," (whatever that means), can break down a door and then drag an unconscious, fully grown man onto a bed. Later Miss Hobbes is distracted by a shouted warning, having managed to ignore Newbury crashing through a locked door to reach her (doors get smashed open fairly frequently, building standards are pretty poor in this alternative world).

Then there is use of language. For example we are told (twice) that Mrs Bradshaw has a Scottish accent, but at one point she says, "...I ain't about to try and find out." No Scot would say "ain't." Write idiomatically if you must, but at least choose the correct idiom. Similarly most of the time the characters speak over formally, but occasionally anachronistic (in its proper sense) language slips in, such as "are you okay".

Worst of all, any fan of Dr Who can work out the mystery pretty quickly, and the resolution is not due to Newbury's less than outstanding powers of deduction but to his ability to fight off various assailants.

After a while I was only reading this (I was trapped on a train) to spot its mistakes and infelicities. All in all, this was a poor effort designed to cash in on the popularity of this genre. Although Miss Hobbes is eminently fanciable (she has pearly white thighs and can put you to bed when you are comatose, what more could you want?), I won't be following her further adventures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I paid money for this?, 21 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
I'm sorry to say that I've given this book two stars rather than one because I have, in fact, read worse.

Story-wise, it's mildly intriguing, though I made the mistake of not consuming it in one fell swoop, and, having once put it down, found I wasn't sufficiently invested in either the plot or the characters to get back into it. Neither grabbed me. After I made the second mistake of reading the end, I had no desire to wade through what I'd missed.

There are problems with this book that I found insurmountable:
- leaden prose
- boring bits describing people doing perfectly mundane stuff that contributes nothing to the flow of the story
- characterisation straight from the GCSE handbook of how to write stories
- obviously very quickly written

AND...

Well, this was the final nail in the coffin for me: disgraceful copy-editing. It would be disappointing to know that a writer didn't know the difference between loathe/loath, or hanger/hangar, may/might, or belie/betray - to pick just four examples - but to have such grotesque mistakes (and more) make it into print is simply shoddy. I'm an editor, and since my work is to ensure that the text I work with is as perfect as it can be before the public reads it, I feel insulted to be confronted with this ... thing... when I've actually paid money for it.

In the "About the Author" section of the book, we learn that "George Mann is the head of a major SF/Fantasy publishing imprint." Is it too cynical of me to wonder whether this had anything to do with this novel making it to the sales floor in such an unworthy condition?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk that works!, 28 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
I didn't think I was going to enjoy this - I'd originally bought it for my OH - so included it on my TBR Challenge for this year. I'd had an earlier, relatively unsuccessful foray into steampunk so I approached this with some trepidation.....

It's London under Victoria's reign, but ground trains and electric hansom cabs run along the streets, and airships rule the skies.........and a plague like virus is making people zombie like (although for those of you who aren't zombie fans- or revenants as Mann calls them - don't fear, it's not the dominant story. I really enjoyed the detective duo - neither of whom are perfect and both have their secrets and darker sides - and I loved the murky and dark setting of a slightly off kilter Victorian London. The author did a great job of setting the scene just enough for my imagination to fill the rest of it in.

Wonderful book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover :), 1 Dec 2009
By 
J. Aylard "Leeds bookworm" (Leeds bookworm) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
I, like many of the other reviewers was drawn in by the books interesting cover and exciting blurb. The story itself is not bad but the writing is hideous, the plot is poorly paced and the characters are flat.If your stuck in an airport where all the shops are closed then this book might be worth a read, otherwise don't do it !
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ruined by clumsy writing, 5 Jan 2010
By 
Ian Mackenzie (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
I really wanted to like The Affinity Bridge. The cover looks great, the 'steampunk 'genre is enticing, the themes seemed right up my street.
George Mann's writing style lets him down, sadly - it's clunky and repetitive and peppered with errors. There are some real howlers that still make it past the editor somehow. A real shame, but Mann's style had me scowling and exclaiming out loud. The same things are described in the same words just too many times. I almost didn't finish the book, but plowed on and found that the plot ties up with enough loose threads to weave together another few books yet.
I WILL be giving George Mann another chance, and will check out his second (and maybe the forthcoming third) book.
I really wanted to like The Affinity Bridge, but in the end just found it 'tolerable'.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Affinity Bridge, 30 Nov 2009
By 
K. S. Hilton "Kirk Hilton" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
I really wanted to like this novel. There are currently only few good steampunk novels and "The Affinity Bridge" is perhaps one of the better known titles. But dear, oh dear it's a kitchen sink of a novel with so many ideas thrown into the mix, none of which are fully formed before the next new steampunk idea/cliche is thrown in. I could have accepted that short coming if that was the only short coming but I'm afraid, dear reader, the biggest problem with this novel is the dialogue. I know it's an alternative history novel but the language used just doesn't ring true, and as a result the characters are unbelievable and 2D. After 100 pages I had to give up on it, I threw it across the bedroom (perhaps it would have got better but life's too short to tolerate poor novels) I've now turned to Baxter's Time Ships - a much better written book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Yarn, 10 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Affinity Bridge (Paperback)
After reading and not enjoying The Necropolis Railway (see my separate review), I was hoping The Affinity Bridge would help confirm everything I had hoped the Steampunk genre would be. It did. And some. From the off I was totally into the characters of Newbury, Bainbridge and Hobbes (unlike Jim Stringer). The Affinity Bridge was one of my quickest reads, simply because I was unable to put it down. This morning I took deliver of the next two in the Newbury & Hobbes Investigation series - I'm looking forward to getting stuck into these ASAP.
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The Affinity Bridge
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann (Paperback - 1 Sep 2008)
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