Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Skyships Over Innsmouth
AUTHOR: Susan Laine
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2016
Twenty winters have passed since the Cataclysm brought down society and robbed people of their memories. Humanity, vastly reduced in numbers since the initial chaos, has started anew in Canal City with the aid of library books and steam technology. The Scout and Ranger Corps was established to search for possible survivors and to replenish dwindling resources. Dev is the captain of the scout airship Smoke Sparrow, and Shay is the scholar of their newest expedition. Their destination is Innsmouth, Massachusetts, a small fishing town that is mentioned in obscure books but shows up on no maps. Might its secrets offer answers? But within the fog-covered, ruined hillside town by the bay lurk unspeakable dangers and horrors beyond imagining. The expedition team soon learns that Innsmouth is one town that should have been left forgotten.
This is another one of those books where you’re better off with the blurb than anything I could recap for you. As I’m writing this, its been hours since I finished the book and I still don’t really know what to say so I’m going to go with a pros and cons list for this review.
I really liked the concept of the post apocalyptic society that built itself back up using steam technology; that steampunk feel was really working for me here. The issues in Innsmouth were also completely unexpected so I’ll give kudos to the author for writing something I seriously hadn’t considered finding. I also adored how, besides the two main characters, Dev and Shay, there was a strong female lead right alongside them. Each character had their strengths and weaknesses but they all worked well together over the course of the story. There was also an easy transition from friends to lovers between Dev and Shay that came about in a believable manner but that also didn’t take over from the overall plot, which was nice. The author writes well and the story flowed at a decent pace so it was a fairly easy read for me.
While I loved the steampunk elements there wasn’t nearly enough of them for me to be truly satisfied; I wanted to see so much more of this world the author created, since I thought it was really interesting, and when I didn’t I wound up a bit disappointed. This book is also listed under the Horror genre and while I did list it in my tags for that reason, the ‘horror’ was, well, not really there. Maybe someone else would feel differently but the whole ‘terrifying discovery’ in Innsmouth just fell a bit flat for me; I was really geared up to get my socks knocked off and they stayed firmly planted on instead. I also found myself doing something I’ve never done with a book before; I was practically screaming at the main characters to ‘get back to the ship, are you stupid?’ I felt like I was watching a movie where a character goes to explore the creepy noise in the basement all alone without a flashlight. I usually end up screaming at the screen at those people, too.
Overall I liked the world concept but the execution and the truth about Innsmouth just fell flat for me. I found myself a little bored at times and was reading faster to, hopefully, find something more interesting. I wanted to like this more, I really did, but honestly the book might have gone over better if there had been more world building and less running around Innsmouth as that’s what wasn’t keeping my attention. The story did have its good points, however, so if you’re a fan of post apocalyptic, steampunk or you just like a little dash of horror in your books, you might enjoy this one. I rated the book around a 2.75 but rounded it up to 3.