by Nick Harkaway
2012 by Knopf
I loved Harkaway's "The Gone Away World", it was one of the most fun books that I have ever read. I had a lot of fun with this one too, but it wasn't quite as good. I still loved exploring his world and fascinating characters.
Joe Spork, the son of one of London's most successful criminals, wants nothing to do with his dead father's lifestyle. He just want to run his repair shop for clockwork machines. Unfortunately, his past catches up with him and he is thrust into an adventure that may involve him saving the world. Joe is an everyman character, not the most exciting person in the book, but the easiest to identify with. He is surrounded by a cast of amazing & strange people, including Edie Bannister, an 80 something former British super-spy and her aging, blind, and somewhat noxious pug.
This is a hard book to categorize, it is a mystery/thriller, science fiction, historical, love stories. "Angelmaker" and "Gone Away World" both are closer to a more grounded "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" then anything else I can think of. "Gone Away World" was a near perfect book in my opinion, this one seems a bit padded, but still was a great read. Here is one of my favorite quotes about it, from the author of one of my favorites from 2010: “A puzzle box of a novel as fascinating as the clockwork bees it contains, filled with intrigue, espionage and creative use of trains. As if that were not enough to win my literary affection, Harkaway went and gave me a raging crush on a fictional lawyer.” - Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus