Monday, September 22, 2014


Berlintoxication: A Penny Dreadful Review

            The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The road to Hell also makes an excellent story. This story is called Berlintoxication and was penned by the talented Stephanie Laimer-Read.
            Bank clerk Walter Busch is an ordinary sort of man. He works hard and loves his fiancé Charlotte. Walter can also read minds and senses the feelings of those around him. Walter does not much care for his unusual ability, so when a well-respected businessman offers to buy it from him and use it for the common good, Walter agrees.
            Gustav Springer is a well-respected businessman. He sees disorder, chaos, and decay in the society around him and wants to create a New Berlin where unpleasant things don’t happen. With this goal in mind, he creates a group called the BWG (the letters stand for long German words which I will not attempt to spell). Mr. Springer intends to use unusual abilities to create order and justice, to help people, and to improve society. This does not go as planned. It seems his borrowed abilities are too powerful for him to control…
One does not see Germany star in Steampunk literature very often, and I must say that the location is fascinating and refreshing. I might call portions of this book revolutionary, or at the very least quite punk. The messages of freedom and critical thought come across quite clearly, but one is not bludgeoned with them.
The characters the reader is introduced to at the start of the book seem real and believable. I adore Walter and his sublime ordinariness. I like the way that the villain does not set out to be bad. Yet in the latter parts of the book, the same care and detail is not paid to the revolutionaries the reader meets. They seem almost like they are meant to be symbols rather than characters. There is nothing wrong with a symbol, but I dislike reading stories about them.
            As for the story, some pieces seem too coincidental, perhaps a bit mad. It isn’t as I would have written it, but it is quite fun to read. I recommend this novel for those who wonder where the “Punk” part of “Steampunk” has gone. Here it is, dancing through the streets with circus performers and a clockwork bear.
I give Berlintoxication four gears out of five. I find it interesting and entertaining. I must thank Let’s Rock Publishing for lending me this excellent work of fiction. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I hope you will, too.

Your Correspondent From The Bookstore,

Penny J. Merriweather

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