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"The Oilman's Daughter" by Ian Thomas Healy

"The Oilman's Daughter" by Ian Thomas Healy 

This is an alternate history, science fiction, steampunk adventure.  A romping good time to boot!  There is plenty of action, love, and steampunk goodies to keep you turning page after page.  Steam engines, steam cars, and steam spaceships are all involved in this story. 

The story revolves around Houston, Texas, Paris, France, and space.  A new Circumferential Railroad (or CR) is built going from Houston to Paris.  The CR is the latest and greatest thing in the world and was created by Victor Orbital and run by his family, most importantly his son Jonathan.  Jonathan helps run the business and is in charge of finding more investors for the CR.  He is on a trip to Paris, via the CR, to schmooze with rich people and try to get them to invest in the company when he meets a young lady named Cecilie.  While they talk and get to know one another space pirates attack the train.  The pirates are led by none other than the infamous Captain Phinneas Greaves of the Ethershark. 

The attack on the train was a nice action scene.  The scene introduced the styles of fighting that are used more often than not in space, which is anything but guns if you’re a boarding attack crew; wouldn't want to let in any space vacuum by punching a hole in the hull.  It also introduced what some of the space ships, or fultons, are and what they are capable of doing.  It was a harrowing opening action scene and well done. 

The book gets kicked off from the opening attack on the CR by Captain Greaves.  They end up kidnapping Cecilie from the CR and taking off with her.  Jonathan who had fallen in love with her during the short time they were together decides to use everything at his disposal to find Cecilie.  The story follows Jonathan and Phinneas Greaves on the adventures  of chasing down a girl who is the key to everything.  Without her things could very well fall apart, but who is willing to do the most to save her... if she needs to be saved at all?  And what secret does she hold so dear, that so many people are willing to spend so much money on being in control over her? 

This book was well done.  The story flowed well from page to page and I felt the pacing was pretty well done.  There were a few sentences that I had to read 2-3 times just to understand how the sentence was put together, but other than that it was an nice easy read. 

I really enjoyed the setting of this story over everything else.  I felt the mix of alternate history, sci-fi, and steampunk was exceptionally done.  It isn't the easiest thing to do going into space without jet fuel, and using only steam power engines.  Suspending disbelief was easy while reading this and the pop physics of the book made everything just sort of fit together. 

Character were so-so.  I think they could have been done slightly better.  Sometimes to make a voice distinct is was a bit cheesy if you will.  The voices and the personalities were at least unique enough to come through the page.  You didn't have to guess who was speaking, or wonder why someone did what they did.  It had been established already throughout the story. 

4 out of 5 stars for me.  Really enjoyed it overall. 

I read a review ARC copy given to me for free for an honest and up-front review.


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