Saturday 21 April 2012

Angelmaker - Nick Harkaway

Joe Spork is trying his best to be like his Grandfather. To live an honest life as a clockwork expert. Sadly clockwork isn't appreciated as it once was and Joe is doing his best to keep on top of things. His friend then gets him to fix an unusual piece of clockwork. A book that fits into another apparatus. By fixing it Joe has inadvertently started off a series of events which leads to everyone hunting him down so they can gain control of the machine. Poor Joe has to rely on his fathers crooked friends to save him. Meanwhile Edie Bannister has some knowledge of the machine and events have brought her out of retirement. She spent most of her life as a spy and now in her twilight years she must once again face her nemesis and save the world.

This is Haraway's second book. Normally I would compare the two having loved the first one so much. This one is so completely different from The Gone-Away World that there was no way I could compare them. The genre and the tone is in no way the same. Impressive I think.

This is just the sort of book I love. It has a lot of tongue in cheek all the way through it. In place of James Bond we have Edie Bannister (who takes on the name James when under cover). I loved the parts as she reflected on her career as a spy. Like James Bond she was a bit of a womaniser and managed to get herself a megalomaniac nemesis. Joe on the other hand was a bit of a drip. He's so unsure of himself. He is trying so hard to be like his grandfather and not his father that he doesn't know who he is. Thankfully he is surrounded by some wonderful characters who make up for it. Plus, he is supposed to be like that until he discovers who he is (which he does and I quite like it).

The crooks are the good guys in this book which is another reason I loved it so much. It's almost like the get more out of creating a little bit of mischief than they do making some money for themselves. I loved the descriptions of the night market where they all get together and how they teach the young ones their trade. It's like they have a society all of their own with its own rules, values and moral code. Since Joe's father was one of them they go out on a limb to help him.

As for the real bad guys. I thought that they were fantastic too. Government agencies, a religious cult and a man determined to destroy the world to meet his own ends. Loved it. Oh, and it had some great dry humour through out too.

Despite not being able to compare it to The Gone-Away World I still think I liked that one just a little bit more. It had quite a sad tone to it and I do love a post-apocalyptic tale.

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