Where should I start with this book? It took me some time to get back into the groove, but once I was back in the world of the Engine Ward, I couldn't put the book down at all.
The Gauge War is the second book in the Engine Ward series, the first being The Sunken (read my review here). In fact, this book picks up where The Sunken left off, so it's probably a good thing to re-read the first book before moving on to this one. I managed to eventually remember enough of the story, but it meant that the first few pages were somewhat confusing to me.
And like I speculated in the first book, the true protagonist of this series appears to be Isambard Brunel, now the Metal Messiah, the only character without a point of view. I mentioned that the book ended with the different view points holding contradictory views, but in this book, they gradually start to converge again.
Why? Because absolute power corrupts absolutely. That's all I'm going to say. But to elaborate just a little bit more on the plot; basically, the Boilers built by Brunel are now everywhere. But the threat to England isn't over yet, and it's not just coming from the outside (France).
Can I just say that Brunel scares me to death? He's really cool and all, but I suspect that he has no heart, judging by the way that he treats his friends. Either that or the things he went in his childhood have really traumatised him. As always, Nicholas and Aaron are two awesome and likeable dudes, while James, the blind physician, was interesting until he fell.
My biggest surprise, though, was Stephenson. He's an antagonist for most of the book, but the more I see of him, the more I realise my first impression of him was wrong. Not gonna say anymore, because that would probably veer into spoiler territory.
A word of warning though - the ending is incredibly dark. But, I just re-read it, and I think S.C. Green is setting it up for a book three in a very clever way. I hope I'm right!
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review.