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Everfair    by Nisi Shawl order for
by Nisi Shawl
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Steampunk usually takes place sometime around the end of the 19th century or beginning of the 20th. Nisi Shawl's Everfair is no different in that regard. What is unique is that Everfair takes place in the heart of Africa.

The Fabian party of England is looking to start a new land, somewhere away from standard British life. Conquests in Africa give the perfect opportunity to build the country of Everfair. However, the war with Leopold takes its toll on the native Africans as well as the immigrated citizens of Everfair. As more wars start and the relationships between the immigrants and the natives becomes strained, Everfair finds itself on very rocky ground.

Everfair had both too much and not enough going on. The sheer number of characters made it hard to keep track of the different plots, especially since large chunks of time would have elapsed between chapters. Also, since there were so many different plots, none of them were as fleshed out as they should have been to keep the reader engaged. The steampunk elements of aircanoes and mechanical hands were fun, but nothing unique, and did not add to the story compared to other works in the genre.

Everfair left me wanting more, but in a disappointed way. The concept was unusual enough to have been a truly great story, but Nisi Shawl went for more characterization than plot, and too much of it at that.

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