The Doctor and the Dinosaurs

The Doctor and the DinosaursThe Doctor and the Dinosaurs (A Weird West Tale)

By: Mike Resnick

mikeresnick.com

(Alternate History/Western/Steampunk)

301 pages (trade paperback)

 

Dinosaurs and laser guns in the old west…

Doc Holliday, Theodore Roosevelt, and some friends defend themselves from the dinosaurs the Comanche have resurrected in an effort to remove a couple of overly enthusiastic paleontologists from digging in their sacred burial grounds.

What was so surprising about this novel is how much I learned about history and the history of paleontology from reading it. I was expecting a fun dime novel style adventure, which it was, but it was also filled with real life historical figures. I never thought Doc Holliday and Theodore Roosevelt could be so interesting and I never knew about the bone wars between Cope and Marsh. Their rivalry was so intense, you would think it would have to be fiction, but these things really happened. It was clear the author did his research.

I don’t read westerns. My only experience of the genre are movies like Cowboys and Aliens and the Lone Ranger remake, but put a bit of steampunk on the cover and I’ll read anything. The story was fun, moved quickly enough, and was filled with surprisingly interesting historical characters. It had an alternate history vibe, but in the way where you feel like it could have actually happened that way without the history books finding out.

You would think that reading fiction is purely about entertainment and imagination, but there are some books out there that entertain but also teach without you even knowing it. I was curious from the beginning about which characters were really real, and there was a handy appendix in the back of the book with quick biographies of the real life historical characters. Sometimes the truth is more interesting than fiction.

Ultimately, I got more out of this book than I anticipated and that makes me happy. I definitely intend to read more books by this author in the future. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

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The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire Book One)

GreyfriarThe Greyfriar (Vampire Empire Book One)

By: Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

Official Website

(Steampunk Vampires/YA)

301 pages

Steampunk and vampires. I have to admit they do go together quite nicely, and I was happy with the world building in this story. I’ve always been a fan of alternate history, and the evolution of the world after a successful vampire uprising is really interesting. Vampires don’t like warmth so the civilized world heads for the equator, with Britain setting up camp in Egypt. I liked the quirky details of the vampires, like how they don’t have a strong sense of touch, or how they can float or fly in the air. These extra bits of information make the vampires personal to the story, rather than just the usual generic type.

And now for the Vampire Spectrum!

The Vampire Spectrum

Romantic———-*Cool but Deadly————Gruesomely Monstrous

Greyfriar falls somewhere between the romantic and the deadly vampires. In this story, some vampires are more monstrous than others but on the whole it’s nowhere near the gore of Twelve. The plot feels a bit like Beauty and the Beast, with Gareth, the vampire that wants to be human, which is a fun twist. When it came to the characters, however, I felt they could have been a little bit stronger. As much as Adelle was frightened or in peril, she still came off a little too cool, but the relationship between her and Gareth was nice, in that Beauty and the Beast sort of way. I liked Gareth. His desire to learn about and protect humans was endearing, as was his relationship with cats, especially when surrounded by so many vampires who were ready to go to enslave the entire human species at a moments notice.

Overall, it was a nice story, but not as captivating as I would have liked it to be. I wasn’t totally sucked in, but the books that really grab my attention are few and far between. Could it be because it was a YA novel? Possibly, but I think it was just lacking a certain depth that I was looking for. I still found it thoroughly enjoyable, and a fun quick read at only 300 pages. I’ll probably be reading the rest of the trilogy soon enough, and maybe the story will get deeper as it continues. Oh, and for you Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans out there, the audio book version is narrated by James Marsters! Until next time…

Happy Reading!