Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book Review: The Half-Made World

The Half-Made World

By:  Felix Gilman

Publisher:  Tor

Publish Date:  October 2010

Format:  ARC paperback, 479 pgs

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st book in series

Recommendation:  Maybe. If you like world building with a mix of demons and industry.

Book Synopsis:
THE WORLD IS STILL ONLY HALF-MADE.  Between the wild shores of uncreation and the ancient lands of the East lies the vast expanse of the West - young, chaotic, magnificent, war-torn.

Thirty years ago, the Red Republic fought to remake the West - fought gloriously, and failed.  The world that now exists has been carved out amid a war between two rival factions: the Line, enslaving the world with industry, and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence.  The Republic is now history, and the last of its generals sits forgotten and nameless in the madhouse on the edge of creation.  But locked in his memories is a secret that could change the West forever, and the world's warring powers would do anything to take it from him.

Now Liv Alverhuysen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels west, hoping to heal the general's shattered mind.  John Creedmoor, reluctant Agent of the Gun and would-be gentleman of leisure, travels west, too, looking to steal the secret or die trying.  And the servants of the Line are on the march.

First Sentence:
The General lay flat on his back, arms outflung, watching the stars.

My Review and Summary:
Dr. Liv Alverhuysen, a young widowed psychology doctor is going to the edge of the made world, or close to it.  Out West.  To help with victims of the four century war between The Guns, The Engines, and Hill Folk.  All of the victims including the ones who had their minds shattered.

Creedmoor, we meet while he is traveling on a gambling boat.  To the edged of the world he is sent by his masters, The Guns, in search of a mad man.  Creedmoor's character will have you curious of his history right away.

Lowry, a Sub-Invigilator for the Line and servant to the Engines, is sent to extract the General, from the West.  Lowry will not stop for anything and will not fail his mission and the only thing at the end of failure is death.

This is a hard one for me to review as I have mixed feelings on this book.  I enjoyed the blend of demons and guns, the engines and demons (which may be what many consider steampunk), and the un-made world not yet ready for time and so many new creatures - the Wild West we could say.  This idea and world was unique to me, and made me curious about the connection of the two.  I even liked the idea of the general having a knowledge that could end all, but felt that I never got any more information to move the story plot further forward.  I felt it kind of stalled in the plot movement for me.  The story telling style reminds me of a similarity to Joe Abercrombie, yet different as it's not as abrupt with battles nor character drawing for me.

I enjoyed two of the characters out of the whole cast: John Creedmoor and the General.  Yet, as much as I enjoyed reading of the scenes with John Creedmoor or seeing if the General will get better, they seemed to be the only characters I could get into.  John Creedmoor and his attachment to the Guns was one of darkness and yet almost feel as he's fighting for something that just might be good. 

In the end I new more of the world and characters created here, but nothing more of the happenings of the story plot.  I might pick up the next book to see if I can find more out.

I won this book through Goodreads as an ARC for review.

This book qualifies for me Speculative Fiction Challenge of 2011, hosted by Floor to Ceiling Books.


  1. I might just skip this book. I can't stand it when the plot is almost nonexistent.

  2. Thanks for the review. I appreciate your take on the book. I've been wanting to read The Half Made World for some time now, but due to budget restraints, I'm waiting for the TPB release.

  3. Wonderbunny - I was hearing some really great things about this book. But for some reason it wasn't all that to me. I really liked the idea and some of the characters, but then on the other side if fell flat for me. The plot just felt as it didn't really go any where by the end of the book. But, someone else could really enjoy this one.

    Ryan - Hi! Thank you for stopping by. I understand the waiting with the budget restraints. I do hope you enjoy this one when you get it. I'll be curious to read your thoughts on it.


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