Tag: Scott E. Tarbet

+Book Review+ A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet (a Shakespearean re-telling)

Posted Saturday, 12 April, 2014 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

A MidSummer Night's Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet
Artwork Credit: Dale Pease (of Walking Stick Books) http://walkingstickbooks.com

Published By: Xchyler Publishing () 18 November, 2013
Official Editor WebsitesSite  | Twitter
Converse via: #AMidSummerNightsSteampunk
Genres: After the Canon | Classic Re-Telling | Shakespearean | Steampunk | Fantasy
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Page Count: 324


Acquired Book By: I contacted Xchyler Publishing about receiving books in exchange for honest reviews and was asked to pick the two books I’d like to request. Moments in Millennia was my second choice, as my first choice was A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk. My interest in this novel is based on a life-long love of William Shakespeare’s writings! I received a complimentary copy of “A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk” in exchange for an honest review direct from the publisher Xchyler Publishing. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On Appreciation of William Shakespeare:

As a participant of the A to Z Challenge this April, whereupon each blogger is undertaking 26 Essays | 26 Days, I elected to focus on my love and appreciation of Classical Literature on Day 3: Letter C. Therein, I discuss my fascination and affinity for William Shakespeare from the very first moment I first read his plays and Sonnets. I knew I had found a writer I would be reading for the rest of my life. He had this classic way of ebbing out the human sphere of emotion, psyche, and our living observations. He was the best at conveying each dynamical evocation of human emotions as well. A champion of wordsmiths, it was through his bar of sophisticated eloquence I tend to seek out in other writers. He always felt to me to give great pause before enduing his characters with action or dialogue. He wanted us to have a legacy of thought left behind and for this I am in his debt.

Imagine my happiness in finding there was an author out there who would not only take his own passion for Shakespeare to a new height of re-telling the magically laced “A MidSummer Night’s Dream” and retrofit it into a Steampunkified re-telling of the classic tale with the bentings of a scientific quality of theory!


Author Biography:

Scott E. TarbetScott Tarbet writes enthusiastically in several genres, sings opera, was married in full Elizabethan regalia, loves Steampunk waltzes, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah.

You can learn more about Mr. Tarbet through the Interview I conducted ahead of this book review! He shares his thoughts on Steampunk as a genre, his appreciation of Shakespeare, and a lot of keen bits for writers & readers alike!

Book Synopsis:

Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Pauline Spiegel, a master artificer like her mother before her, wants just one thing: to wed the love of her life, Alexander MacIntyre, a lowly undersecretary of the Royal Household. However, a long-term pact between her parents, and a noble House, stands between her and her happily ever after. When a priceless mechanoid of unfathomable power is stolen, Pauline finds herself entangled in skullduggery and international intrigue, upon which the fate of nations rest. Only with the help of her friends, and a brilliant scientist with a swarm of micromechanical insects, can Pauline survive the dark forces determined to destroy her. But will her betrothed and his rag-tag band of semi-mechanical soldiers reveal Alexander’s secrets as well?

 


To begin with a parting of prose:

A lover of quotations and bits of poetry, I am one reader who appreciated the warming of my reading palette with bobblements of poems greeting me at each interface! A lovely poem reminiscent of the innocence of fairies greets you before you reach the Prologue. And, yet another poem graces the upper corner of Chapter 1. A little nibbling of foreshadow in which I took the most delight! And off from here comes the divergence into a world of mechanisms and the air in which humanity’s door is slightly skewed towards automation. Rehabilitating veterans of war has been turnt on its heels to retrofit survivors into the most efficient entity of their trades. A fantastical yet questioningly haunting insight into how production and quantity can supersede plausibility and ethics.

Each chapter is lit with a piercing thought writ out through the hand of poets to help give heed to the next foray of intrigue!

My Review of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk:

As I nestled into the story of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk, I attempt to recollect if I had read the original play or if perchance, I had seen an adaptation of it instead? The corridors of my memory are a bit foggy at best, which is why I had to shift a bit of my fragmented memories and emerge into the sadistic fever of mechs who were created not necessarily for the well-being of their inhabitors but for the progression of automated industrialism as I aforesaid. The shockingly brutal rebuilding of a sentient being is off-set by the fact that the mechs do not seem to realise their individualistic freedoms have become abandoned on the whim of their creator.

The words in which Tarbet uses to create his universal pace is a pure delight to this wordsmith’s heart! He gives you a felicity of choice as you ease your way forward into the chapters which yield the most foreshadowing to satisfy your appetite for the action yet to transpire. Picking up where Shakespeare had left off is not an easy task, but to knit together a story which honours the canon and gives such a creative spark to Steampunk at the same time is a celebration of his writing style.

The forbearing inertia of caution is under-stitched into the story of the classic tale, giving a new appreciation for the choices humans have made since the Victorian age as each path chosen has turnt out a different avenue of progress. If we had opted instead to keep the heart of what Steampunk gives the reader, the age of steampower and gaslight we might have made deviations in other areas where the Industrial Revolution had yet to enlighten. By keeping Victorian technology in place, we see how devious the experiments can take inventors when their minds are wired for clockwork and automation. A little too much good for their own souls if you ask me!

At first I found it a bit tricky to ascertain how to proportionate the mech characters in my mind’s eye, as I’m quite new to Steampunk & Clockpunk alike. Then, all of a sudden whilst the mech men made their way through to central London, it dawned on me how to visualise them! From that moment forward, I had this envisioning shadow of how they were created and how they would stand out in ordinary streets of London! I think if there were illustrative plates for this particular piece it might have helped me out a bit. Character sketches to off-set the lack of baseline recognition! Except to say, Tarbet expertly gives such a vivid viewing of each of the mech’s mannerisms to purport an honest impression of how they can be perceived! I am such a visual learner that at times, when I step outside a world I’ve previously visited, I must adjust my eyes to a new one! In this, I celebrated my ability to see visually in my mind’s eye what Tarbet was attempting all of us to embrace!

A clever re-telling by far, as he has etched in such a reformed rite of passage for women in the story, where there is an alliance between Lakshmi, Jennie, and Vicky – all women of equal power and without the ambiguity of being able to blend in from behind prying eyes. For them to launch a series of events to forestall a dictator’s diabolical plans to overtake surrounding nations is one of the best moments I was celebrating! It gave way to the expression that ‘behind all good men, is a great woman’; and in this particular story it could not be more true! A separate alliance was forged out of necessity from the mech men, a wickedly fascinating engineer Pauline, her two suitors Alexander & Winston, along with a besotted in love girl named Clementine who only has eyes for Winston!

At the very heart of the story is the searing warmonger Wilhelm who is blinded by carnal rage and a robust ill-fated sense of power. His intentions for his home country is strengthened by his assertion that power and proclivity towards violent rule are his inherit gifts. A madman on the collision course towards altering history whilst utilising another madman’s offering of technology. There are moments of intense fighting and heated battle between human and mechs, and mechs vs mechs with an equaling sense of unease. Each is caught in the cross-hairs of an emerging war neither fully understands. It is only when logic is cast aside and reason is indued by a spark of enlightenment which dances straight into the vortex of human understanding can true change be cast. Free will of man and mech is the turning point towards diplomacy and democracy.

As I was reading the story, I thought this particular book would be a great lesson in ethics for a University class to undertake. There is enough within the chapters to take both sides of the argument and dissect the worth of its message. What foolish folly and provocation can be found in the nettling and maddening proclamations of one man’s dream for supreme rule.

Equality & Diversity : Undertone Components

An undertone component of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk is the inequality of the mechs inside the story. They have become their own race of men as their lives were irrefutably altered when they came home from the battlefield and/or the hospital in which their very life hung in the balance between being medically altered through technology and death. Due to their new status of half man | half machine, they are no longer viewed as individuals outside the scope of what trade they perform based on their ‘upgrades’ towards industry efficiency.  And, therein lies the problem. Rather than being viewed as the people they were prior to the surgeries that were performed without their consent, they are no longer given the compassion of humanity by any person who crosses their path. Rather instead they are refuted from view, a mere glimpse of a hint of the ravages of war and a different age of invention.

Tarbet presents both sides of the argument giving a positive light on how restoration of a person’s self-worth, self-identity, and the living freedoms of liberty each of us is innately inherit to have is plausible if there are still those who agree all sentient life has rights to keep in tact.

Fly in the Ointment:

Although I enjoyed reading this re-telling of William Shakespeare’s “A MidSummer Night’s Dream”, there is a curious attachment in the second half of the story to bring out the full measure of Jack the Ripper’s presence. At first, the subtle nodding towards Hitler’s reign over Germany; the conquest of Napoleon through France; and the merciless tactile militant force of the mechs carved out of the unwilling criminally insane patients was taken for what each representation was given to highlight. However, for me, this stretched a bit too far into the darker shadows of the theories behind why Jack the Ripper killed and what his motivations were to hunt innocents in the streets of London. I was a bit surprised that the wielding of the alternative history components were writ as strong as they were, as the backdrop of the story which illuminated the most joy for me were the clockpunk and automation engineering technologic advances on the side of the good.

There is always a battleground arc for good vs. evil, but there are times where I feel the vile bits to highlighting said evil can inadvertently overtake the good bits. I was pleased to see Tarbet use the eloquence of Shakespeare to empathise the vocalisations of human emotion without falling into the quandary I normally express in Fly in the Ointment. No, it’s not an issue of language but rather of how far pushed the envelope felt to me for the level of violence against the backdrop of where the story was leading. Of course, all stories are open to interpretation of the reader, and I for one, felt the story was guiding me towards one passageway of an ending rather than diverting down another.

A decidedly splendid extra:

Behind the conclusion of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk, the author’s biography & acknowledgements and a bit of a mini catalogue of titles via Xchyler Publishing itself, is a decidedly splendid extra: a preview of On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer! A book which is not yet released and an author of whom Mr. Tarbet spoke about in his Author’s Interview!


A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk Book Trailer by Xchyler Publishing

There is something magical afoot at Xchyler Publishing as their music accompaniments inside their book trailers draw your imagination into the narratives of their stories long before you pick up their books!


This book review is courtesy of:

Xchyler Publishing

check out my upcoming bookish events and mark your calendars!

I have been blessed with four spotlights on behalf of Xchyler Publishing:

An Editor Interview with Penny Freeman,

a book review of Moments in Millennia: a Fantasy Anthology,

and my Interview with author Scott E. Tarbet ahead of this book review!

I’d be keen to hear reader responses to my review of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk, as I was happily settled into the alternative history backing of story against the clockpunk elements of automation before plunging head-first into the Jack the Ripper thread. Have you ever felt ensconced into a story-line which at a certain point in time arched into a different thread of discovery than you forethought? What do you look for within the realm of Steampunk, Clockpunk, and automation stories? What draws you in and what if anything disappoints you?

{SOURCES:  A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk Book Cover, and synopsis were provided by Xchyler Publishing and were used by permission. Author photograph & biography were provided by the author Scott E. Tarbet and used with permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.  The book trailer by Xchyler Publishing had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Divider

Posted Saturday, 12 April, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, After the Canon, Airship, Alternative History, Automation, Book for University Study, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bullies and the Bullied, Classical Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Clockmakers & Watchmakers, Clockpunk, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Clogs & Gears, Debut Novel, Dirigible, England, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, MidSummer's Night Dream, Re-Told Tales, Steampunk, the Victorian era, Warfare & Power Realignment, William Shakespeare, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Xchyler Publishing

WWW Wednesday No.3: A girl with an affinity for the classics!

Posted Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

WWW Wednesday badge by Jorie in Canva

I loved the premise of this meme {WWW Wednesdays} due to the dexterity that it gives the reader! :) Clearly subject to change on a weekly rotation, which may or may not lead to your ‘next’ read which would provide a bit of a paradoxical mystery to your readers!! :) Love the concept! Therefore, this weekly meme is hosted by Should Be Reading. Each week you participate, your keen to answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading!?
  • What did you recently finish reading!?
  • What do you think you’ll read next!?

After which, your meant to click over to Should Be Reading to share your post’s link so that the rest of the bloggers who are participating can check out your lovely answers! :) Perhaps even, find other bloggers who dig the same books as you do! I thought it would serve as a great self-check to know where I am and the progress I am hoping to have over the next week!

What are you currently reading!? {a two-week retrospective!}

I am continuing to read Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer, as it will mark my last post tied to the Sci-Fi Experience! I had wanted to read a few more books towards this reading challenge, but I lost too many hours during January to accomplish this task. I, am, however, continuing to read the books I outlined on my participation page for the Experience! I selected a few books for the Wicked Valentine’s Readathon which are as follows:

Selection One: Back to the Classics: The Ladies Paradise by Emilie Zola

Selection Two: Magical Realism (tCC) & Time Travel (SFN & SciFI Bingo): The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Selection Three: Book Itching to Read: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan*

Selection Four: Book for Review: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

{*} As previously disclosed, this boomeranged back to the local library; am awaiting its return!

Alongside the books I pulled for Wicked Valentine, I am also in position to start reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (as part of the #LitChat War & Peace Book Club), & Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (as part of the @RiverheadBooks RAL). Once I start to dig into these select classics, I am on my way towards revealing how I have such a hearty affinity for reading classical literature! Over the years I have dreamt of which classics to read first and which to follow in their wake. 2014 marks the year I am finally able to set aside time to start to explore the classical literary world with a curious eye towards the unknown adventures which lie ahead!

What did you recently finish reading!?

I have only finished a handful of novels within the past fortnight or thereabouts, all of which I posted reviews on my blog: The Brotherhood of the Dwarves, Dangerous DecisionsSebastian’s Way, and the Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy. The latter of course, was an anthology collection of essays and interviews compiled together to present an excellent primer on genre writing; even if your genre is outside the scope of the title! I found myself writing quite a heap about my recollections and the musings therein which were extracted from the readings!

I am in the process of reading several novels at the moment for each of my different reading challenges as well as having finished my first blog tour book review stop for Penguin Group (USA). As I am reading multiple books concurrently, I will be revealing where I am by page count rather than by chapter or section next Wednesday! I am hoping to be at the end of Chapter X or XI of Wuthering Heights by the 21st (Friday) as well as complete my reading of Crown of Vengeance to round out my focus week for Seventh Star Press! At the close of February, I am equally as hopeful to have read approx. 200 pages of War and Peace whereas my goals for the 23rd of February are too complete Somerset & most of Roses! The Ladies Paradise is on my reading table as well, as I am attempting to read in tandem at the moment! I felt best to initiate a bit of a page count goal per book in order to best ignite a pattern of reading classics in-between modern literature I explore either outside of blog tours or within them! I always have such a fanciful heart to explore literature in all of its beauty, that I felt this might help me focus on books I truly want to finish reading within the time I am allotting! Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s journal of WWW to see how well I did!

A Fall of Marigoldstook me backwards into my memories for the shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 as evidenced and exhumed into a breath of life by Meredith Tax’s Rivington Street; whilst bringing forward haunting memories of observing the horrors of September 11th by telecast. I felt honoured to be asked to be a book review stop on her blog tour, and as you can read in my review, the novel itself touched me on a very deep level. It was a blessing to find closure and peace after two events in history profoundly affected me.

What do you think you’ll read next!?

I received word that my ILL holds are in queue to arrive within a few week’s time in which I cannot wait to see what is waiting for me inside Leviathan Wakes, Jaran, and The Divining!

And, then there was the whole realisation whilst I read this tweet which led to the successive replies:

Launched myself into a bit of mini-quest to find other “foodie fiction” titles that I could plausibly devour at some point in my reading future! Laughs within a smile! Oh, the wondrous thrill of the ‘discovery’!!

  • The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (started; need to finish!)
  • The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister (sequel to above; goes w/o saying!)
  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris (birthday gift; need to read!)
  • The Colour of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe (borrowed; returned unread)
  • Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (opted for the motion picture!)
  • Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl (always saw the films!)
  • How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’ Neal (loved!)
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (murmurs of curiosity!)
  • When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
  • The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy
  • The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses (borrowed, need to finish!)
  • The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santos
  • Eat. Pray. Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (opted for the motion picture!)
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Coffeehouse mysteries by Cleo Coyle (need to read all of them!)
  • White House Chef mystery series by Julie Hyzy (need to keep up to date!)
  • The China Bayles mysteries by Laura Childs (revolves around a teahouse!)
  • Courtesy of Ms. Lisa via TLC Book Tours the following were also suggested:
  • The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
  • Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge
  • The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher
  • Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan
  • Hungry by Darlene Barnes
  • & the forementioned The Colour of Tea & The Lost Art of Mixing

The next books I am drinking in will be books for review and I am quite excited for them to grace my mind’s eye! For I get the absolute pleasure of re-entering the world of the #LelandDragons, as I re-read Redheart by Jackie Gamber before continuing forward into Sela and the bookend third of the trilogy: Reclamation! The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien is a hearty tome of an account of a side of the Bonaparte family I never had heard of beforehand! My pursuit of Bonaparte has re-strengthened since I read Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb! Whereas Citadel by Kate Mosse is an interest which was encouraged by my Mum when she gave me Labyrinth; in lieu of knowing where I put the book, I have borrowed the two previous books from my local library!

I had a bountiful bookish postal surprise day

in which I happily welcomed in the following books for review:

My Wish List banner

&

Violet Patterson Blog Tour via Tomorrow Comes Media

&

Inscription by H.H. Miller

via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

&

A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet    

and Moments in Millenia (anthology) edited by Penny Freeman

via Xchyler Publishing

Whereas I previously announced receiving Citadel & The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte!

I decided to join the 2014 Chunkster Challenge, as I had no idea how many novels I’d read over the score of the year which would qualify as being labeled ‘a tome of a book greater than 450 pages!’ Clearly, I have already begun to read stories in greater quantity of depth, but this is going to be a good record of seeing how many I gravitate towards over a regular year’s worth of reading!

Likewise, I have released posts in part of my participation of:

I will be stitching together my posts this next week for challenges hosted by Bookish Ardmour:

All of which I curate on my RALs & Challenges page, of which I update my progress as well as on my Part II of Reading Challenge Addict! I decided to pull back from several reading & bookish challenges this year, as although they appealed to me in the beginning when I was on the verge of signing into them, I decided in the long-term I would be better off honing in on the ones which were at this point in time the most keen of the lot to participate in! There will undoubtedly be more RALs, Thons, & Challenges forthcoming but these will be the main ones I am concentrating on except to say for the two Jane Austen novels I am reading to correlate with the Jane Austen Readings hosted by Reading is Fun Again!

Quite the exciting time for a bookish soul, eh!?
Have your literary wanderings been as expansive and lovely as mine!?
And, do you have a ‘foodie fiction’ recommendations for me!?

{SOURCE: The WWW Wednesday badge created by Jorie in Canva as a way to
promote the weekly meme for those who want to take part in it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Divider

Posted Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Back to the Classics, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Discussions, Books for Review Arrived by Post, Chunkster Reading Challenge, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Foodie Fiction, France Book Tours, Get Steampunk'd, Go Indie, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Library Find, Love for Books Readathon, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Reading Challenge Addict, Reading Challenges, Rewind Challenge, Science Fiction, Seriously Series Reading Challenge, SFN Bingo, TBR Pile Challenge, tCC The Classics Club, The Dystopia Challenge, Tomorrow Comes Media, Wicked Valentine's Readathon, William Shakespeare Challenge, Wuthering Heights, WWW Wednesdays, Xchyler Publishing