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5.0 out of 5 stars A story that ranges far - far away
A good story well plotted, continuing with the characters from "The Martian Ambassador" these are further developed, with a well honed plot in the alternative Victorian Empire the characters inhabit to far distant planets ravage by "The Feaster of the Stars" A good read.
Published 9 months ago by Bondy4822

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but...
A hundred years ago, Robert W Chambers wrote his pioneering stories featuring the rumour of The King in Yellow, the subject of a play, fragments of which were enough to drive readers insane. These are chilling, disturbing stories, clear precursors to much 20th century Lovecraftian and other "weird" fiction.

In "The Feaster from the Stars", Baker takes and...
Published on 18 Nov 2011 by D. Harris


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but..., 18 Nov 2011
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Feaster from the Stars (Hardcover)
A hundred years ago, Robert W Chambers wrote his pioneering stories featuring the rumour of The King in Yellow, the subject of a play, fragments of which were enough to drive readers insane. These are chilling, disturbing stories, clear precursors to much 20th century Lovecraftian and other "weird" fiction.

In "The Feaster from the Stars", Baker takes and develops this mythology, pitting his investigators Thomas Blackwood and Sophia Harrington, inhabitants of a steampunk Victorian world replete with ghosts, faeries and Martian visitors (think HG Wells's Martians, but peaceful) against the eponymous King, which now threatens Earth. The story is told with great zest and pace and is certainly a page-turner. As a contribution to the alt-Victorian genre it is OK - better than The Affinity Bridge perhaps, maybe not quite as good as The Bookman - but I'm bothered by the use to which Chambers' disturbing vision is put. In his stories the King is only hinted at. We don't really know what he is, or where Carcosa is, or what has happened to produce such horror. However, Baker can't help but be much more specific, and that, frankly, takes away a degree of the horror. "You must not let daylight in upon magic" wrote Walter Bagehot and I think that also goes for nameless-evils-from-beyond-the stars. "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming". Don't wake Him up, in case He simply looks silly.

So I'd say this is amusing enough, but perhaps diminishes its source material rather. Which is a pity, because Chambers' originals are well worth a read, true brooding classics. (If you do read them, and I'd really urge you to, do beware that he only wrote a few King in Yellow stories, and Chambers anthologies therefore tend to be padded out with other, much inferior stuff which really isn't worth bothering about.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A story that ranges far - far away, 4 Oct 2013
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A good story well plotted, continuing with the characters from "The Martian Ambassador" these are further developed, with a well honed plot in the alternative Victorian Empire the characters inhabit to far distant planets ravage by "The Feaster of the Stars" A good read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Loved the first book, hated this, 5 Dec 2012
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M. Notman "northernfag" (sheffield uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Feaster from the Stars (Blackwood & Harrington Mystery) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed the first book in this series- its not in any way groundbreaking (ive read at least two other steam-punk series with very similar plots) but it was at least well written and pretty entertaining. This follow up on the other hand has appallingly stilted dialogue, terrible cliches left right and centre, awful plot..etc. Its like the author has allowed his dog to randomly select sentences to slot into the book. A terrible dissapointment!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD QUAL. ITEM - WELL PACKED - ARRIVED IN PERFECTLY GOOD TIME - WILL USE AGAIN, 16 Jan 2013
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K. J. STEVENSON "Stevo Bookserpent" (CUMBRIA U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Feaster from the Stars (Blackwood & Harrington Mystery) (Paperback)
GOOD QUAL. ITEM - WELL PACKED - ARRIVED IN PERFECTLY GOOD TIME - WILL USE AGAIN
Fascinating, well written, illuminating, good research results emphasise points. Anyone interested in how the mind works and the tricks it plays should enjoy this
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not on a par with the first in the series but still highly enjoyable!, 12 Jan 2012
"The Martian Ambassador" was, for me, a real find last year. A really excellent work. This sequel sees the return of the two lead characters from that book. For me its the chemistry between the two leads that sets this series above, say, George Mann's works (The Affinity bridge, etc).

The title (The Feaster From The Stars) conjours images of lovecraftian entities out of space and time and that's exactly what we get here.

That said, this lacked that certain lovecraftian "something" and also certainly struggled to live up to the first excellent book in the series. I personally think this reflects that some of the excellent scene setting that took place in the first book had been pretty much set aside here - eg Earth and Martian/Venusian politics took very much a back seat and were not really moved forwards at all. Rather the autor has taken the well established characters and cast them into a wholly new situation - rather than continiong their story arc, although I am perhaps being slightly unfair as the relationship between the two main characters does develop in this book.

For anyone who enjoyed the first in the series this is pretty much a must read. If you haven't read the Martian Ambassador then I would recomend that you give that a try first.

So hey, maybe the plot in this sequel was perhaps a trifle too outlandish at times (eg the flying fairy galleon!) but I must admit I still enjoyed it immensly and am eagerly awaiting the next novel, which hopefully will represent a stronger entry in the ongoing series.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a Dogs Dinner, 10 Jan 2012
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Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Feaster from the Stars (Blackwood & Harrington Mystery) (Paperback)
I had great hopes for this novel, having thoroughly enjoyed Baker's first 'Blackwood and Harrington' novel. The Martian Ambassador is a standard Steampunk mystery with enough tweaks to remain interesting. It is comfortably familiar yet fresh. This second instalment promised the same shenanigans but this time on a steampunked London Underground - what's not to like? Sadly though, Baker failed to deliver on his promise. Instead he cranked the weird lever to full, but forget to inject any plot or characterisation.

The story is straightforward. A giant creature from another dimension is coming to Earth and it's going to absorb everyone. Oh yes, and it's mind bogglingly scary. No, it is! It's so scary it will unhinge your mind. There is no way you can comprehend how scary it is, without going insane. It's from another dimension, you see, and indescribable; you just can't describe how terrifying it is... And so it goes on. Such is Baker's insistence that his creation is terrifying, it becomes anything but. Blackwood and Harrington have to save the world from this unspeakable horror - and maybe they do...

FFTS is apparently based on some short stories by Robert W Chambers, a forerunner to Lovecraft. I've never been a fan of HP's particular brand of sauce, so perhaps I was never going to like this book. Pandimensional sci-fi just isn't my thing. 'The Martian Ambassador' worked so well, because though Baker has created an alternate world, much of the novel is rooted in reality. The central mystery took place in a well-defined area that the reader could identify with. In FFTS we are dealing with a creature on the far-side of the universe, that came from another universe, that exists in a dimension we can't possibly imagine (whatever that means). I just understood all this to mean that there were tentacles involved.

I have a suspicion, (though absolutely no evidence to back it up) that this an early novel, dusted off and hastily altered after the relative success of 'TMA'. The two novels are very different, and Blackwood and Harrington feel bolted on and very flat. Baker's prose is leaden compared to his first book. Sentence after sentence read like this '...a vast, amorphous mass which flapped and writhed hideously, like the gelatinous denizens which pulsated in the gelid darkness of Earth's deepest oceans.' It becomes extremely tiresome, and not remotely scary or exciting.

Much like its scary monster, FFTS is a flabby mess, with little to recommend it. This is a great shame, after such a promising debut. I sincerely hope this is a blip, and the promised third novel is a return to form. If not I shall be condemning Blackwood and Harrington to the Aether.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars flat......spoiler alert ,,,,,,,, 7 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Feaster from the Stars (Blackwood & Harrington Mystery) (Paperback)
its ok but the characters are a bit trying very british having a rather spiffing adventure which no doubt they will triumph oh and they did.there was only one suprising event when one of the main characters died in a very upper class way saving the empire only to reappear some nice descriptive pieces but i could,nt escape feeling rather bored reading it
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The Feaster from the Stars (Blackwood & Harrington Mystery)
The Feaster from the Stars (Blackwood & Harrington Mystery) by Alan K. Baker (Paperback - 1 Sep 2011)
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