[Guest blogger John Kenworthy is author of the chilling new novel “The Missionary and the Brute”, a thriller set in Tanzania, East Africa. Here is an assignment that one of his characters, Raven Starr, completed for a high school English course. Soon after completing this assignment, Raven would join the Missionary Jadwin Ross on a fateful journey to Africa. Kenworthy’s previous books have included “The Hand Behind the Mouse: an intimate biography of Ub Iwerks” and “Bungee Jumping & Cocoons”.]
Hello. I am Raven Starr. I am a student in Mr. Schopeneur’s AP English class at BVHS Belgium Vocational High School [also insert “Belgium, Wisconsin” – Mr. S]. This blog web log is an assignment in social media writing. My topic today is a review of the novel, “Flash Gold” by Lindsay Buroker. Lindsay Buroker is an author who writes Steam Punk novels. As I said, this book is called “Flash Gold”.
Many people have no clue what Steam Punk is. [dangling participle, please correct – Mr. S] Steam Punk is a type of book or sometimes a movie that takes place a long time ago [when? during the Victorian age? – Mr. S] only which has technology sort of like today, usually steam. That’s where the name comes from. A good example would be Tim Powers’ “Anubis Gates”, though some people think that is cheating [explain that this is because the protagonist traveling in time brings modern technological concepts with him – Mr. S]. Another example would be Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” or Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Moving Castle.” All of those are really good. I like the old Jules Verne stories too.
What I really like about Steam Punk is the way the main characters protagonists act. They are usually a lot like me. They look different from other people and almost always dress really cool. The guys gentlemen usually wear cool black suits, goggles and top hats. Sometimes the girls female characters do too, or sometimes they wear poofy [find a new adjective here please – Mr. S] dresses with button-up boots (Which I never do! Some people think we are Goths because of the black but we aren’t, although I do have some Goth friends.)
I got a signed copy of “Flash Gold” from Flipper Anderson, one of my friends. She was lucky and got to go to SteamCon which is a convention for Steam Punks. While she was there she got a lot of really cool things. She bought a drawing from the cartoon Atlantis by Disney which she really liked but I didn’t. She also weaseled a bag of buttons made from the innards gears of broken clocks and watches. She is going to sew them onto a jacket she found that looks really Steam Punky Punk inspired. [I would cut the entire italicized section as it is totally unnecessary to the review – Mr. S]
“Flash Gold” is Steam Punk set in the Yukon. On the surface the plot involves a sled race sort of like the one from Balto, or whatever the heck the name of that book is that we read in Middle School Language Arts. Call of the Wild by Jack London. I really like the main character, Kali, because she doesn’t take crap from anybody! is tough and resilient. She is really smart. She is an inventor of all kinds of great Steam Punk inventions. She doesn’t like it where she lives and wants to take her super-secret Flash Gold (this magically powerful substance her father created) somewhere else but she is too poor to do so, so she enters a sled race to earn money. [run-on sentence, please revise – Mr. S]
First however, Kali meets Cedar, a stranger in town. Cedar is covered in mystery the same way the snow covers the tall trees of the Yukon. [nice metaphor – Mr. S] Even though she needs his help to win the sled race, she doesn’t trust him. He seems to be after something. Kali thinks maybe he is after her Flash Gold. If he is, he is not the only one. [clunky, rework – Mr. S] Many criminals try to kidnap her and steal her secrets. That’s why she needs Cedar’s help. He is very tough. Where’s a man like that when you need one?
There is a lot of action in “Flash Gold”. Most of the time, Kali is strong and uses her brain to stay safe. There are a lot of great Steam Punk inventions and ideas in this book: airships, mechanical hounds (my favorite), a steam-powered racing sled and smoke-nuts. [define what ‘smoke-nuts’ are, I am not familiar with this term – Mr. S] Oh, not to mention Also, they utilize rifles from the 1890s with repeating action.
Kali and Cedar like each other but aren’t ready to say so. That makes it fun to read, but not too romancey. [find another way of saying this – Mr. S] It’s a good thing that Lindsay Author Buroker wrote more books in the series because I want to see what happens between them. I always enjoy books where smart girls get the rough boys because that simply doesn’t happen in real life. Lots of things in the elements of Steam Punk don’t happen the same way in real life either, but that’s why I like it are fantastical and that’s why I enjoy it as a literary genre.
John Kenworthy’s Book Blog Tour continues tomorrow with “How to get a bad review without slitting your wrists” at: http://themanicheans.wordpress.com/
The Missionary and the Brute on Amazon (paperback):
The Missionary and the Brute on Amazon (Kindle):
The Missionary and the Brute on publisher’s site: