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Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
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The Lazarus Machine: A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure (Tweed & Nightingale Adventures)

The Lazarus Machine - Paul Crilley This review will probably be shorter than my average, and for a very succinct reason – it was ultimately forgettable in a sea of books with similar plots. THE LAZARUS MACHINE was a book that took me almost two months to read, continuously relegated to the bottom of my reading pile after picking it up, reading a few pages, and then returning it to the stack to be forgotten after a number of steampunk fantasies that stood out more, some for great reasons, some for horrible ones.In the end, when a book does not separate itself from the middling levels of the genre, for good or bad reasons, it becomes a book that you quickly forget and move on from. In the case of THE LAZARUS MACHINE, the end product is good, but against the competition of an overcrowded steampunk genre the past year in young adult fiction, it doesn’t stand out.NOT STANDING OUT IN THE STEAMPUNK SEAAs you might be able to tell already, the main problem with THE LAZARUS MACHINE is a book that you read and a few days later after finishing, you’re left scratching your head. Did I actually read that book? What was it about? Something about Sherlock Holmes, right?As it turns out, THE LAZARUS MACHINE follows teenage inventor and detective Tweed on his mission to recover his father after he is kidnapped by the dastardly Moriarty. He is assisted in his quest by Octavia, aka Nightingale, a girl on her own mission to find her journalist mother, also kidnapped by Moriarty. Moriarty has assembled scientists, psychics, paranormal power possessors, and politicians to create a machine to bring back the dead. At least I think that’s what went down.I would have loved if this story had done more to stand out. The plot had a different twist, but once inside the pages, something about the story became tedious and overdone. Nothing about it stood out from the crowd, and it was such a frowny moment for me.WELL-WRITTEN, STRONG HEROINEOn paper, THE LAZARUS MACHINE has the makings of an epic steampunk story. Unlike comparable books like THE FRIDAY SOCIETY, THE LAZARUS MACHINE truly is steampunk with a lore all of its own. The writing is very good, with its own interesting narrative that puts it above the majority of the YA pack. And Octavia was one of my favorite heroines I’ve read in the past few months. She is sassy, intelligent, and doesn’t take shishkabobs from anyone. Likewise, our hero Tweed was definitely one of the better boy main characters I’ve seen in a long time.And the action! Once it was on, the action was ON.I don’t know where this one went wrong with me! I really don’t. It might not come across in this review, but this one was solidly meh. It took me almost two months to finish, and after reading about 10 pages, I’d put it down for a week. There was just nothing within the pages that hooked me until more than halfway through the book. I just wish that there had been something more to keep me hooked, to keep me interested. In the end, I don’t remember THE LAZARUS MACHINE, and I probably won’t be reading the sequel. It just was not the book for me.VERDICT: Although the writing is good and the characters great, THE LAZARUS MACHINE is ultimately forgettable in the steampunk sea.