Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Twenty winters have passed since the Cataclysm brought down society and robbed people of their memories. Humanity, vastly reduced in numbers since the initial chaos, has started anew in Canal City with the aid of library books and steam technology. The Scout and Ranger Corps was established to search for possible survivors and to replenish dwindling resources.
Dev is the captain of the scout airship Smoke Sparrow, and Shay is the scholar of their newest expedition. Their destination is Innsmouth, Massachusetts, a small fishing town that is mentioned in obscure books but shows up on no maps. Might its secrets offer answers? But within the fog-covered, ruined hillside town by the bay lurk unspeakable dangers and horrors beyond imagining. The expedition team soon learns that Innsmouth is one town that should have been left forgotten.
Skyships Over Innsmouth by Susan Laine is more of a horror steampunk story than a romance. Taking place in a post apocalyptic world, Laine imagines what’s left of humanity living without memories of their past, in small societies run by steam and cobbled together knowledge from left over books. The event that wiped out their memories and killed most of the world’s population? Only mentioned by name, the Cataclysm, it brought the world almost to oblivion. No one living can remember past “twenty winters”, and most of those alive are young.
Its a fascinating foundation. Our main characters live in a place known as Canal City (its familiar name we will find out only towards the end of the story). All the people, Shay, Dev, even the remarkable Malia (one of my favorite characters) is mostly a blank slate. They have no history, no past, and unfortunately, that lack of foundation to their characters, leaves them shallow and lacking. I understand that its part of the narrative but it left its mark here on the men too. Malia is a stunshine gun wielding, armor wearing security guard for the Smokey Sparrow. She’s the most vivid, sparkling character in the entire story. I loved her. She outgunned, out powered and basically out charactered every darn thing in this story. Not good for Dev and Shay. Even the villain.
Laine did spooky rather well. The atmosphere over the town of Innsmouth practically shouted “run, you fools”. Typically, no one ever listens. I loved some of the descriptions of the town, the evil elements I can’t describe here without giving away plot points, and a host of other vile goings on. I liked those. But they kept being interrupted by Shay and Dev and a romance I never, ever believed in, not once. It went from shy, “I Lurve You” glances, to instant hot in love. I never felt any real connection between the two, all while trying to escape the town, and save themselves and others.
Nope, I wanted more of Malia.
The explanation, when it came…well, I’m not sure that I understood it all. But Malia was there kicking butt and somehow it all came together. The almost to the end was smashing!
As a horror/adventure tale, I liked Skyships over Innsmouth by Susan Laine. Definitely not as a romance. Its really up to you.
Cover Art © 2016 Staf Masciandaro. I liked the cover art. Spot on for the story.
ebook, 200 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by DSP Publications
ISBN 1634769902 (ISBN13: 9781634769907)