Review of Pastworld by Ian Beck

Pastworld is the greatest theme park ever devised. It's London - the real London - transformed into a living, breathing recreation of the Victorian era.

To Eve, a lifelong resident of Pastworld, horse-drawn carriages and gas lamps are modern technology. Eve doesn't even know she's living in a simulation - until she is forced to flee the only home she's ever known, and to confront the truth about her city and herself.

To Caleb, a tourist visiting Pastworld, the theme park is the perfect antidote to the stifling conformity and regulation of 2048. The gritty wildness of the past is thrilling - until he finds himself at the scene of a murder, holding the knife, and suddenly becomes a fugitive from an antiquated justice system.

And in the midst of it all, in the thick London fog, a dark and deadly figure prowls, claiming victim after victim. He's the Fantom, a creature both of the past and of the future, in whose dark purpose Caleb and Eve will find their destinies combined.


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Pastworld is amazing. A steampunk world set in a dystopian future? My kind of novel! You see Pastworld from many POV's, from Eve, who's spent her whole life in Pastworld to Cabel, who is visiting with his Father. The settings are rich, full of life and easy to imagine. Indeed, I feel like I've just been running around Victorian London!
This book makes you think too. Can you imagine if London was turned back into it's Victorian ancestor? Would you want to visit - or even live there!

One particular character I loved was the Fantom. I have a sick fascination with Jack the Ripper and the Fantom is just like him - all clocked and mysterious, removing heads and hearts. No prostitutes though, this time as the Fantom's motives are different. The Fantom is the dark heart of this story and very important. Why is he so obsessed with finding Eve?

One thing that did disappoint me - Pastworld is fascinating yes, but it's in 2050 (okay, 2048 TBE) - I wanted to see what life is like outside of Pastworld! It certainly gave me the feeling of being trapped in there but I think the story really needed to move out of Pastworld and let the reader view life outside of it.

4/5

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