Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders
Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
Pub Date: Jul 2 2013
Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is a tale set in the frame work of the old adventure stories. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow the movie is an obvious example of this or even Indiana Jones. But the problem with Romulus Buckle is not the setting or the way the story was told. No the problem, is Romulus himself. He is a very broadly drawn hero character. He kills but feels bad about it, he has a forbidden love, and a strict obligation to his family. If any of these had been really expanded upon I think the book would have been excellent. He is just an archetype, a plot device, he moves things forward. There are far too many crew members in this relatively short book to even remember all their names. This too is a little bit of a problem toward the end. The author must have been aware of this because during what is supposed to be poignant funeral scene the names of the dead aren’t even mentioned. I really loved the two characters Sabrina and Max. Both women were incredibly well characterized and both had exciting and interesting backstories with the author going deeply into both their emotional motivations and their thoughts about things. Perhaps these two characters should have taken the place of old Romulus Buckle. Because they were certainly the real captains of this story. Even if he was the Captain of his airship. While Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is by far one of the most steampunky books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It certainly needed a little more focus on it’s story and while the early climax might have been fine in theory. In practice, I think it bogged down the rest of the book just when the plot was starting to get interesting.
I also think that the book’s beginning was a bit too long. The lead up to the climax was far too uninteresting and while there was a certain aspect of all these people joining together to go on this mission. As the reader one knows very little about the world or it’s characters to begin with for us to care about new people so close to the beginning. While there was a definite need for those people to be there, perhaps adding them in a more interesting way or perhaps making they, themselves more interesting characters would have worked better for what seems like a very plodding first half.