Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Anubis Gates

I do know how this book made it on to my list   I saw an article about the origins of steampunk and it included this title, saying that it's also one of the best science-fiction books around.  Then I found it at a library book sale.  Done, and done!  Since I feel like I have a lot of random thoughts about it, let's just do a bulleted list:
  • The Anubis Gates reminded me of a book from earlier this year, Drood.  That book also has Egyptian cults and lots of subterranean London action, so maybe it's not so surprising.  Both books were also on the Dickensian side of things, although at least in The Anubis Gates, Dickens himself is not a character!
  • This is one of the just plain cleverest books I've gotten my hands on.  The plot zips in and around and over itself perfectly.  There are layers and layers behind what's happening and why.
  • The mystery of William Ashbless is a hoot.  You figure it out pretty quickly, but then find out that you really didn't know everything after all.
  • The ending is just fantastic.  One of the more perfect ones I've come across lately.
  • The part that happens in actual Egypt sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the book but it's one of the best parts.  So is the trip back to the 1600s.
  • When the book tips over into the horror side of things, it gets really horrific.  The idea of a body-switching werewolf is especially terrifying, not to mention an evil clown on stilts.
  • Who knew Samuel Taylor Coleridge had it in him!
  • This is one of the earliest examples of steampunk, and it's really interesting to compare it to the genre now.  For instance, aside from magic/sorcery/time travel, there really isn't much in the way of alternative history, or steam-driven technologies that didn't exist at the time.  No dirigibles, no protagonists running around with aviator goggles.  No people with mechanical eyes or other body parts.  But the atmosphere is there, for sure.  The high action, the humor, the tongue-in-cheek feel to the plots you sometimes get.  It also reminds me very much of the Parasol Protectorate books, minus the technological fancies.
  • It's really wordy!  I found a long paragraph that was actually one sentence!
Final call:
I'd give this book the time of day, any day.  And I don't think you have to be a sci-fi or fantasy nut to enjoy it. 

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