Rating: 4 stars
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Dev doesn’t remember his life before the Cataclysm. No human does. Gone are their memories, their knowledge, and their technology. Now life is a daily challenge to survive and to gain back some measure of what they lost. As a skyship captain, Dev may not have all the answers, but he’s happiest piloting his ship and searching for remnants of the past. Especially with Shay on board. They have served seven trips together and while Shay is a good friend, Dev can’t help wishing they might have some kind of future.
Their latest expedition takes them to the town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. The search for viable provisions, survivors and any available information quickly reveals something more sinister. A dangerous and violent entity now inhabits Innsmouth, but threatens the remaining vestiges of humanity everywhere. As Shay and Dev unearth the truth, they are forced into a brutal struggle that could cost them everything they hold dear.
Skyships Over Innsmouth has a little something for everybody: action, adventure, romance, fish people, and tentacles. And who doesn’t love a fish person? The author, Susan Laine, dedicated Skyships Over Innsmouth to HP Lovecraft and it’s easy to see why. With its many Lovecraftian themes and a plot that pulls directly from the Lovecraft cannon, this book harkens to the weird and wild of fantasy. The characters are fairly strong, but they definitely take a back seat to the town of Innsmouth and the horrors that reside there. I would have enjoyed a bit more character development and greater insight into both Shay and Dev. The author spends so much time detailing and building the structure of this world that the characters occasionally get left by the wayside. Still they are far from one-dimensional and their romance is a series of sweet moments amongst the backdrop of a rather dark book.
The author has certainly done a good job with world building and creating a unique blend of fantasy, science fiction and steampunk. My biggest frustration with Skyships Over Innsmouth was the excessive complexity of the plot. Instead of becoming immersed, I found myself frequently yanked from the text because of sections that required re-reading or just plain puzzling out. Normally I don’t mind a bit of this and I would always rather a book have meat on its bones than not. But so much of Skyships Over Innsmouth requires excessive explanation that it becomes frustrating. Had some of the intricacies been scaled back a bit or explained in a simpler context, the book would have had a much better flow and been more enjoyable. I know this is easier said than done, but this author is clearly talented and with just a bit of trimming or restructuring, the book could have been a five-star read.
Overall Skyships Over Innsmouth was an enjoyable read that blended together some of my favorite genres. I’m not a huge Lovecraft fan, but I certainly appreciated the way Laine wove aspects of those stories into her own and created something different and intriguing. The plot is overly complex and I believe it needs a bit more unraveling and simplifying to keep readers from becoming frustrated. But the end of book suggests there may be a sequel coming and I’m definitely interested to see what happens next. If you enjoy the bizarre and the unique, definitely check out Skyships Over Innsmouth.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.