After reading The Waking Engine by David Edison, I’ve decided Edison is an absolute artist with words. I love his descriptions that eloquently describe haunting images. This is what drew me into the book. What surprised me as I read further, is that there is a touch more strangeness and over-the-topness to the characters and world than I initially expected. It made me feel like I was reading a dark literary comic book featuring the fae. If that even makes sense. And that’s not at all a bad thing, it was just unexpected. Unexpected can be quite good.
It is also one of those books that just refuses to go into a box, or be clearly defined in terms of genre. If pressed, I’ll say Science Fiction, because it clearly is Science Fiction. But at the same time, there are a good number of fantasy elements as well. Ultimately, I don’t think it matters, what matters is they story, if it’s enjoyable or not. A book is meant to be read, not put into a box and it’s nice to see the blend of characteristics in this.
Edison’s world is strange, and twisted. Death offers no finality and some are bound to their bodies to live over and over, meaning every time they die, they return to the same body, in the same place. Because of the unique world and inability to truly die, there is the ability to fulfill desires that are darker and more sinister. People sell their bodies for murder much as prostitutes sell their bodies for sex. There are children who never age, maintain the physical stature they had for their original death. But these children have lived many lives, died many times and are lacking the innocence and wonder that a true child of their age would have.
My main complaint about this book is the characters. Somehow I never felt quite as connected to them as I should. And sometimes, their actions would baffle me and just feel false or forced or random. I suspect this is because I didn’t quite get a good feel for characters. But, don’t take this as a strong negative by any means, it is something that might bother some readers and won’t be noticed by others. The writing, the mystery of the world and trying to figure out what is going on kept me reading.
So, if you are in the mood for a very different Science Fiction read, then yes, pick this one up and try it out. And in the future, I feel Edison is definitely an author to watch because he has such a way with words and imagery.
The Waking Engine will be released February 11, 2014. Many thanks to Tor Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.