October 15, 2015
A Vanishing Glow, by Alexis Radcliff
It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife. Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost?
I had to let A Vanishing Glowpermeate before writing this review. I don’t know the history behind the story, but Shattered Dreams (vol 1) was radically different from Dark Omens (vol 2.) I almost stopped reading twice while reading Shattered Dreams. It was just so slow. When I stopped reading at the end of Shattered Dreams, I let out a Keanu Reeves-style “whoa!”
I consumed the Dark Omens rapidly. I was a swiping fool. I think it took me four days to read Shattered Dreams, and two to read Dark Omens. The political intrigue, action, and the tension of Dark Omens is excellent. There was no funky sentence structure that took me out of the story, and I was fully engrossed and committed to finding out where the story would lead me.
Both volumes defy genre. It’s kind of steampunk with a dash of cyberpunk, and a smattering of magick fantasy… But it’s none of those as well. I would recommend Dark Omens, and rate it four stars, but only three starts for Shattered Dreams.
Which brings me to the Goodreads & Amazon conundrum: How do I rate A Vanishing Glow? Of course the star ratings are different. I definitely liked Dark Omens, but Shattered Dreams was just okay. I’m gonna say 3.5 stars, and rate it 3 stars on both sites for consistency. I would definitely read a third volume.
Alexis Radcliff is an author, gamer, unashamed geek, and history junkie who spent the better part of a decade working in tech before dedicating herself to her first love, literature. A VANISHING GLOW, her debut novel, is the opening book in her MYSTECH ARCANUM series, an exciting blend of steampunk and flintlock fantasy with mature themes. Alexis lives and works in the Portland area with her adorable (if surly) cat and her equally adorable fiancé. When not writing, she spends her time reading, running, playing way too many videogames, and thinking too much about everything.