Monday, April 18, 2016

The Adventures of Alan Shaw, Volume 1

The Adventures of Alan Shaw: A Penny Dreadful Review

            I do love an exciting adventure story. The plucky hero defeats overwhelming odds and outwits a horrible villain. This sort of dashing tale is close to the heart of Steampunk. There are often deranged plots to foil and airships to clamber aboard. Therefore, Craig Hallam is to be applauded for creating The Adventures of Alan Shaw, Volume 1. If one likes adventure, one will like Alan Shaw.
            Craig Hallam’s exciting book is a collection of novellas detailing a few of the scrapes of young Alan Shaw. Alan Shaw is an orphan escaped from the workhouse and surviving on the streets. He’s clever, resourceful, and a silver-tongued little devil. In his first adventure, he stops a bomber and is adopted by a police constable, whose son Simon teaches him to read. In later chapters, a growing Alan encounters a shadowy organization, gypsies, a mechanical squid, a mad scientist, and a fishing boat. Alan is everything a man of action ought to be.
            Not all of Alan Shaw’s adventures turn out to have happy endings, however. Sometimes the bad guys win, and sometimes the good guys get hurt or killed. Alan doesn’t always have all the answers, and he is maneuvered like a pawn more than once. This gives the stories depth and seriousness that one would not necessarily expect from a book whose cover depicts a dashing young man swinging from an airship. I rather like this dimension to the adventures, but it might not be for everyone.
            I give The Adventures of Alan Shaw, Volume 1 four gears out of five. It is a lot of fun to read, and I look forward to seeing what other scrapes Alan Shaw talks (or shoots) his way out of.

Your Correspondent From The Bookstore,

Penny J. Merriweather

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