Book Review: The Sunken by S.C. Green

the_sunken_coverwebsmallTitle: The Sunken
Author: Steff Green
Genre: Steampunk Dark Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Rating:  5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

 In the heart of London lies the Engine Ward, a district forged in coal and steam, where the great Engineering Sects vie for ultimate control of the country. For many, the Ward is a forbidding, desolate place, but for Nicholas Thorne, the Ward is a refuge. He has returned to London under a cloud of shadow to work for his childhood friend, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Deep in the Ward’s bowels, Nicholas can finally escape his strange affliction – the thoughts of animals that crowd his head. But seeing Brunel interact with his mechanical creations, Nicholas is increasingly concerned that his friend may be succumbing to the allure of his growing power. That power isn’t easily cast aside, and the people of London need Brunel to protect the streets from the prehistoric monsters that roam the city.

King George III has approved Brunel’s ambitious plan to erect a Wall that would shut out the swamp dragons and protect the city. But in secret, the King cultivates an army of Sunken: men twisted into flesh-eating monsters by a thirst for blood and lead. Only Nicholas and Brunel suspect that something is wrong, that the Wall might play into a more sinister purpose–to keep the people of London trapped inside.

Imagine King George III as a vampire. Now, imagine a steampunk, dark fantasy world, in which people worship the gods of Industrialism, as opposed to the rest of Europe, which still practises christianity.

The novel starts off by introducing us to the three main characters as youngsters: Nicholas, James and Isambard. When something terrible happens, Nicholas and James are shocked, but Isambard gains a strange connection to the machines that rule their world. He becomes an engineer, and gains royal favor as a result, while he works with the mechanical creations that have him mesmerized.

Numerous years later, Nicholas returns to the Engine Ward, a district in the heart of London, where he starts to work for his childhood friend. But as Isambard wants to set up a Wall, that would shut out the dragons (yes, you read that out) that threaten the city, and he gets the approval of the King, he begins to suspect something is wrong. He informs Nicholas of his suspicious that the king wants to use the wall not to protect the citizens of London, but to keep them locked inside while he unleashed an army of Sunken: flesh-eating monsters.

You can’t say that The Sunken doesn’t have an element of originality – it’s easily one of the most original books I’ve ever read. And the most amazing part is how skillfully S.C. Green manages to combine all the elements of this book: flesh-eating monsters, vampires, alternative history, steampunk machines, and dragons. When you read it like that, you’d never think it works, but it does. The London the author creatures is a dark and threatening place, but at the same time it’s also vibrant and lively, and one of the most thrilling fantasy settings I’ve read about.

I loved Isambard – he was my favorite main character, because he’s just so complex. It ward hard to think about what he’d do next. That’s not to say the other characters aren’t complex either, for example, Nicholas has a few struggles of his own and has some tough choices to make.

The writing was excellent, the characters engaging, the plot suspenseful from start to end. There aren’t enough words to say what an amazing read this is – I’d recommend you just pick it up and see for yourself.

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