Review: Prosperity by Alexis Hall

Prosperity by Alexis Hall
Series: Prosperity (# 1)
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 192
Source: Book provided by the publisher for review



Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life . . . and his heart.

Thrill! As our hero battles dreadful kraken above Prosperity. Gasp! As the miracles of clockwork engineering allow a dead man to wreak his vengeance upon the living. Marvel! At the aerial escapades of the aethership, Shadowless.

Beware! The licentious and unchristian example set by the opium-addled navigatress, Miss Grey. Disapprove Strongly! Of the utter moral iniquity of the dastardly crime prince, Milord. Swoon! At the dashing skycaptain, Byron Kae. Swoon Again! At the tormented clergyman, Ruben Crowe.


Review:  It’s rare for me to come across a book that pulls me out of my comfort zone, but Alexis Hall has successfully managed it. With Prosperity, the only way I can think to describe it is a mix between dystopian fiction and fantasy. Upon further research, I stumbled across the term “steampunk.” I’m not really sure any of those labels fit well.

This book came very close to being one of those dreaded “did not finish” stories. Having read some of the author’s other works, my expectation is that the writing would be exceptional with a well-developed storyline. In reality, the story takes place in 1863 in a lawless skytown and features a character named Piccadilly. After that, I became completely and hopelessly lost.

Whether it’s the language: “Cos I was,” “me too knackered” or “It didn’t mean nowt,” this is not a book for the unseasoned reader. In fact, it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a dictionary in hand…although I soon discovered some of the words were without real meaning. I simply couldn’t get my traction with this story no matter how much I had enjoyed the author’s previous work.

I consider myself a fairly sophisticated reader, but something was missing from this story. As it stands, I could barely understand the basic premise, much less appreciate the author’s usual stellar work.