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Review of Worldshaker by Richard Harland

by - August 23, 2011

Col is a wealthy child of privilege. Raised to succeed his grandfather as the Supreme Commander of the juggernaut Worldshaker, he has lived a pampered life on the Upper Decks. He has never questioned his place in the world or his bright and illustrious future. But when a Filthy girl stows away in his cabin, suddenly nothing is clear anymore. Quick and clever, Riff is nothing like the Filthies that Col always learned about—the dumb, slow, less-than-human folk who toil away Below, keeping Worldshaker moving. Filthies are supposed to be animal-like, without the power of speech or the ability to think for themselves—but Riff is clever and quick and outspoken, and Col is drawn to her despite himself.

As Col begins to secretly spend more time with Riff, he begins to question everything he was raised to believe was true, and realizes that if Riff is right, then everything he was raised to believe is a lie. And Col himself may be the only person in a position to do something about it—even if it means risking his future.

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Worldshaker is a Dystopian Steampunk (ish) story of an upper-class boy who falls in love with a girl from the Lower Classes, and the consequences of his actions. Worldshaker is the name of the massive ship that Col lives on, and it's powered by the 'Filthies' below, who the Upper-Classes just assume are little more than animals. Col discovers Riff around the same time that he learns the truth of his World, and together they start a war that will change the lives of everyone onboard.

Col is a character that I didn't really like too much at first, same as Riff, but I liked them more and more as the book progressed. The main problem I had with Col was when he realised he loved Riff, and had many different childish daydreams about her, which didn't really reflect on his personality. I think with Riff was that she comes and goes very quickly, so it would have been good to read a chapter or so on her thoughts to connect with her better.
The other characters are very colourful and my particular favourites were Col's crazy teacher, Mr Gibber and a girl who we get to know better later in the book, Sephaltina. They were completely crazy! Mr Gibber in particular, who was constantly ranting and raving about immoral angles and various other bad things, when he wasn't whacking desks or himself with his canes. Sephaltina seemed to want to be the perfect partner, wondering if she should turn her head one way or the other and fainting on cue. Some of the other crazy characters were less funny and more horrifying though. Ebinolia, Col's Grandmother, was probably the most mentally disturbed. I think I'll have nightmares of her!

The book is quite a slow read though, and I did have to drag myself through some parts. There's a large section dedicated to Col's schooling, which was boring at times, although Mr Gibber kept me entertained! After that section, things do pick up a lot and I really enjoyed the rest of it. The sequel, Liberator, sounds promising so I'm looking forward to reading that!


Received free from Templar in exchange for an honest review

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