Review: Whitechapel Gods by S. M. Peters

Whitechapel Gods by S. M. Peters
Whitechapel Gods by S. M. Peters

Whitechapel Gods
S. M. Peters
Roc, 2008

Whitechapel Gods marks my first foray into the steampunk genre during my steampunk extravaganza this month.  It is perhaps a bit of an odd book for a first choice since it is entirely lacking in airships and heavier on horror then adventure but it is rife with clockwork automatons and steam powered weaponry.  In truth Whitechapel Gods is something like steampunk as envisioned by H. P. Lovecraft or Stephen King.

In a post-industrial London, Whitecapel has been walled off by the strange deific figure known as Grandfather Clock, inscrutible and unwilling consort to the even more unfathomable Mama Engine.  Smoke and toxic gases turn the already dingy atmosphere of Whitechapel into a hostile place while a horrid clockwork disease transforms citizens into horrid amalgams of man and machine; robbing them of any hope of death.  Men given over to Grandfather Clock collect citizens to be added to a monstrous construction of man and machine while silent automatons known as the Boiler Men enforce Grandfather Clocks will and stamps out rebellion.  Amidst this oppressive atmosphere a rag-tag bunch of criminals and patriots seek to kill both gods and free the downtrodden citizens of Whitechapel.  Whitechapel Gods is a novel rife with familiar sights twisted into horrific visages and though the novel suffers from some issues with pacing manages to ensnare its reader with that imagery.

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