Stephen Hunt’s debut novel, The Court of the Air, is a fun romp through the steampunk world as he successfully combines a Victorian, Dickensian feel with interesting machinery and a strange and unusual world. It is the story of two orphans – you can’t get more Dickensian than that! – who are on the run from various deadly and clandestine groups. There is Molly, who is being chased by assassins of a mysterious group; she fortunately finds some friends along the way and is able to go underground, into the sewers and caverns below, discovering another world. Then there is Oliver, who has been framed for his uncle’s death, and must flee for his life. He takes to the air, escaping the fey-hunting Special Guard, in a great air ship. They both draw the attention of the Court of the Air, an unknown and secret organization that spells dread for all.
While this first book in the series is somewhat overloaded with gimmicks and gadgets and characters and things going on that can often lose the reader who must stay focused to follow the story, Hunt has nevertheless created a unique and entertaining steampunk story that continues in The Kingdom Beyond the Waves.
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Originally written on December 21st, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.