Ghost in the Machine (Steam and Cyber Series #1)

Ghost in the Machine

Summary:

Josephine, Bodhi, and Caroline, live in a scientifically advanced Victorian London as the Industrial Revolution is in full swing. Infrared goggles, dirigibles, and analog computers exist alongside bustles, parasols, and high tea. On the grounds of an Old Saxon church, three strange net-runners arrive from a future where everyone is assigned a barcode from the moment of birth. What you buy, what you read, your health care history, your bank accounts, your measured intelligence, are all captured by this barcode and sent to the feed of OmniCorp. Human data mining forms the basis of a massive Industrial Complex, a thinly veiled profit center, based on the control of human behavior. To interrupt the inception of OmniCorp, the net-runners, a subversive underground group, enlist the aid of the steampunk Victorians to thwart a meeting between two men, who hundreds of years 
earlier, laid the foundation for OmniCorp. Extraordinary figures race toward a rendezvous with history, weave in and out of time, fight evil steampunk automatons, hide in Victorian brothels, fight Indian mutinies, and take refuge in dystopian cyberpunk pawnshops, to insure a future where personal privacy is protected over corporate power.  (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion courtesy of Emma Michaels.

Review:

This is a book that I think had a lot of potential, but just wasn’t quite executed in a way that made it all clear to me.  I still enjoyed the book, I just had some moments of confusion.  I loved the steam punk aspects and I loved the contrast with the future world of OmniCorp.  Both worlds were vivid and intriguing.  The confusion came due to the narration because it is told from multiple perspectives and jumps back and forth through time.  I didn’t realize this at first and found myself completely confused until I went back and saw the different dates at the beginning of the chapters.

Once I started figuring out the timeline, I began to enjoy the characters a lot more.  In some ways reading it is like “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” – the oddities make sense later in the book when you see what actually happened!  I’ll still keep an eye out for future books from this author, I think there’s a lot of potential for improvement.

Warning: Contains repeated drug use and some violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Steampunk science fiction fans!