My thanks to Chris Solaas at http://christianindiebookreviews.blogspot.co.uk for his review of “The Rocks of Aserol.”
The review will be published everywhere when the book goes live, meantime I reproduce it here for you.
Norlandia is a country in the midst of a technological explosion. since the development of machines of Brass and Steel, powered by Steam and Gas, it has become a force in the World.
Now Horis Strongman, from the Ministry of Coal is given a job by his superior, “Find out what’s happening at the Waster Mine.” It means a long journey over a holiday, so he thinks he’s been given the job because he’s the junior. But other, darker forces are at work, and he finds himself involved as the scapegoat for a terrible crime.
With his new found friends, and unsure who he can trust, he sets off to clear his name, but for all his efforts there will be a price to pay.
As he discovers more, he comes to see a bigger picture, corruption and the ruthless use of power to keep the status quo.
Now it becomes a race to save everything, and Horis will need all his wits about him to survive.
Set against a background of strange new things, in a world how ours might have been, from the Ocean to the Mines and the Skies above, the Rocks of Aserol could change the World.
Dee has created an immersive world of steampunk in this delightful novel. His descriptions of the technology and contraptions in the city and its comparison to the relative rural primitive nature of the mining town of Aserol are full of dimension.
The characters in the book were likeable as well, and in the final analysis, just as deep. The innocent perspective Horis puts on life at the beginning, and his dependence on the law and structure, is reminiscent of Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, without any of the bald arrogance. It makes for a captivating contrast to the ex-military jadedness of Maloney and his friends, and the naivete of Grace, who plays the part of the Damsel a bit too well.
In the end, Grace proves quite resourceful, and Horis rides a painful and jarring character arc to a clear understanding of the criminals he works for and the lengths they will go to.
PG – There is a significant amount of drinking in this book, wine and ale, and a discussion between the soldiers of whether to stay at a particular inn because they refused to serve ale.
PG-13 – There are several violent scenes in the book, one where a person is shot to death, one stabbing, and an attack by dragons (Drogans) where several people are decapitated, and several burn to death.
PG – There is very little swearing in the book, but there is some.
PG-13. There is a scene where two people who have just met have sex in a hotel room. The act is not described but it’s enough for me to bump it past PG.
Well, not any, really. There is significant homage of a god named Bal. (A little close to Baal for my taste, your mileage may vary.) This god seems to be Lord of the Harvest and a provider. The good characters seem to be believers in Bal, and try to live their lives honestly. There is no real spiritual attack or help.
The Rocks of Aserol is an entertaining read, full of intrigue, action, and a liberal dose of steampunk. It is well-written and immersive, with a love story full of romance and rescue. Five Stars.
Now I have one proper review I feel a lot better about the prospects for the book. Don’t forget the next Flash Fiction, due on June 16th.