Hey Bookish Folk! I hope you are all doing well.
First and foremost, thank you very much to Darran for sending me a copy of this book, I received an eBook of The Engineer in exchange for an honest review.
A few facts about this book:
- Title: The Engineer
- Author: Darran M. Handshaw
- Published by The Engineer’s Press
- Pages: 600
Here are a few things you can expect from :
- Vivid and detailed World-building;
- A fab book cover;
- A mysterious world you want to unravel and reveal all its history and secrets;
- Based off a true romance; and
- An unpredictable read.
On to the full review…
First off I would like to praise the artwork of Marcin Rubinkowski! The cover of this book is so dang cool…
Another quick fire fact about this book is that it made it to the semi-finals in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off in 2018 I think. Now, if you don’t know about the SPFBO it is a competition between 300 books, all of whom are judged and try and claim the title of winner and The Engineer made it to the semi finals. That is pretty dang impressive and testament to Darran’s talent.
The Engineer has such a cool setting and Darran does incredibly well in building this world, it is a dystopia world while being in a bit of a technical age, though certainly not at its peak considering it is the remanent of an incredibly advance world and people. This world has so much going on, it has artefacts from the previous civilisations, raiders, monsters, ruins and more. It is vast and will no doubt impress you with its scope and imagination. So, if you love amazing world-building and thats your main need in a book, then read The Engineer you will be nothing but impressed with this world and Darran’s ability to immerse you into it.
Darran opens this book really well, we go straight into our main character Actaeon being pursued by raiders and we see him use his brains, while being sarcastic and witty, to get away, and then the journey begins. There is so much mystery within this book and it was great to slowly unravel it.
In the midst of Actaeon’s journey there is a romance, it is not a heavy romance and fits well with the rest of the plot. Although, I did find it slow at times though this is based off Darran’s own romance and love blossoms which ever way it damn well pleases.
The plot of this book, to me, felt somewhat slow despite its constant bouts of action. As with a lot of larger books there are some lull’s within it pages and it didn’t always feel even. Though, that isn’t to say the plot doesn’t progress, it does, and Darran does really well to keep the story moving, I just found it a little slow. I personally would have liked a little more speed, while I don’t need a super-sonic pace in a book, I do need some serious characterisations in them slower phases but this book gives you all its world building glory instead in those sections. You discover this incredible world with Actaeon and his companions as he goes and you unravel the mystery behind its history and the Ancients.
I liked the characters in The Engineer and really enjoyed the little snippets of their relationship building, though I did want to feel more for them. I think my biggest issue, and I would likely have connected a lot more with them if not for this, was the dialogue. It just didn’t feel organic to me. The characters were so well spoken and formal it came across as a little off for me. It was kind of like when you watch a YouTube video and you just know the person is reading a script from someone else, so they have their telephone voice on and you can’t quite feel their individuality.
The Engineer is not a predictable book and you will be sure to find some shocks along the way.
As you can see my above criticism is a preference point for me, do not doubt that Darran is an incredible writer and has written a fab book. I enjoyed this book overall and can see why it made it to the semi-finals with its exceptional world-building, likeable characters and the need to unravel this worlds mysteries.
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For me this is a BUY THE EBOOK rating, it is an enjoyable book. One with such an incredible world you cant help but need to know all of its secrets.