Title: A Gentlewoman’s Chronicles: Galvanic Century
Author: Michael Coorlim
Narrator: Dawn Hyde
Format: Paperback, eBook and AudioBook
Publisher: Pomoconsumption Press
Audio Producer: Michael Coorlim
Length: 4 Hours, 39 minutes
Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk / Mystery
Series: Chronicles of a Gentlewoman # 5 – 7
Best Read in Order: Not Required
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4
Purchase Now: Amazon § Audible § Barnes&Noble
About the Book:
Chronicles of a Gentlewoman is an action-packed thriller series set in an alternate history Victorian steampunk world. This collection of three novelletes takes her all the way from London, to the jungles of Mexico, to the Ottoman Empire.
This collection includes:
Sky Pirates Over London
London has been besieged by strange powerful airships targeting the city’s shipping. The poor starve and the rich must ration their luxuries, while the blockaders have made no demands. Parliament and the Home Office have done nothing to rectify the situation, and though it’s hardly proper, sometimes a gentlewoman must act while the men debate.
The Tower of Babbage
A motion-picture crew has gone missing in the mysterious jungles of Southern Mexico while filming ancient Mayan ruins. Desperate to learn the fate of an old friend, gentlewoman Aldora Fiske sponsors an expedition into the heart of the rainforest. Little does she realize that the filmmakers were not the only ones interested in the clockwork secrets that Charles Babbage left behind.
Fine Young Turks
Her loveless wedding of convenience approaching, gentlewoman Aldora Fiske is among the influential Europeans to accept a handsome nobleman’s invitation to show off the Ottoman Empire and its secularist reforms. After she alone escapes the devious plot to kidnap the foreign guests, she’s confronted with an Empire where women are given all the rights of men, and a man who treats her like an equal.
This was a cleverly wrought collection of 3 short tales that have the character of Aldora Frisk at the center of the action. Aldora is a Victorian-era female, living a bit of a double life: refined and proper woman who dashes off to madcap adventures and encounters villains as well defined as are their bad intentions. A bit less satisfying was the speed of the stories: characters did not always seem to be completely flushed out, partly owing to the multiple twists and turns, and partly to the abbreviated length. Additionally, there is a fiancé of convenience for Aldora: his role seems to be background and cover: while the two have a friendship, he does not really know where she disappears to, and their attraction for one another is slowly growing to the point where answers and honesty will be needed. Those were almost the only issues I had with this set of 3 stories though: the action, setting, devices and twists in these stories were all presented with flair that kept interest and surprises moving in equal parts.
Three stories make up this recording, each one has the descriptive prose that provides easy imagery for the reader / listener, with a sense of enjoyment the author brings to the story and the setting he has created shining through. Steampunk can be really good when details are presented properly, and the characters provide a sense of reality in the fantasy. Coorlim manipulates these elements with finesse, playing with the fantasy while grounding it solidly to elements that are familiar and relatable.
Narration is provided by Dawn Hyde: her accent is easily understood and provides the character of Aldora with a voice that both fit her story and background. Subtle modulation of tone and delivery provide the other characters with their own voices, without becoming distracting or feeling as if she has worked to ‘create’ a character voice. Her delivery is clear and present, and provides no distraction from the story she is telling.
These stories are easy to listen to separately, breaking them up over a short time or to listen all at once. Two are just under one and one-half hours long: if you have a long commute this is the perfect listen to keep you amused. If you haven’t tried the steampunk genre: this is a good place to start: well crafted, well written and characters to enjoy.
I received an MP3 download from the author for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
Though a prolific writer Michael Coorlim found the prospect and process of traditional publication daunting, often preparing query letters and researching markets only to never get around to submitting any of his work. It wasn’t until he reached his thirties that he took the steps to write professionally, and by then the self-publishing revolution had already begun.
He currently lives in the city of Chicago with his girlfriend and their cat, living his life-long dream of supporting himself as an author of fast-paced character-driven fiction about authentic people in fantastic situations.