Review: The Waking Engine by David Edison

March 21, 2014 5 stars, Book Review, Science Fiction 22 ★★★★★

Review: The Waking Engine by David EdisonThe Waking Engine by David Edison
Published by Tor Books Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Science fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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Welcome to the City Unspoken, where Gods and Mortals come to die.

Contrary to popular wisdom, death is not the end, nor is it a passage to some transcendent afterlife. Those who die merely awake as themselves on one of a million worlds, where they are fated to live until they die again, and wake up somewhere new. All are born only once, but die many times . . . until they come at last to the City Unspoken, where the gateway to True Death can be found.

Wayfarers and pilgrims are drawn to the City, which is home to murderous aristocrats, disguised gods and goddesses, a sadistic faerie princess, immortal prostitutes and queens, a captive angel, gangs of feral Death Boys and Charnel Girls . . . and one very confused New Yorker.

Late of Manhattan, Cooper finds himself in a City that is not what it once was. The gateway to True Death is failing, so that the City is becoming overrun by the Dying, who clot its byzantine streets and alleys . . . and a spreading madness threatens to engulf the entire metaverse.


I must have taken the red pill!
The Waking Engine was a freaking mind-trip and a half! Splintering my braincells doesn’t even begin to cover it! The concepts alone were mind boggling and so kick ass that it took every bit of my rapt attention to process it all. You die but then you wake in some other world…and you can die again countless times, each time possibly awakening in another world!? What the frick right!? But this city in which the book takes place, where souls go to die, the City Unspoken, it defies my every attempt at description. A place I both long to see and hope I never see, where all worlds collide in a big crazy hot mess of odd…of the best kind of course.

“A most deplorable gem of a borough.” – pg 22

“Earth?” Asher crowed. “You named your home after dirt?”
“Hey, fuck you.” Cooper frowned. “You’re supposed to be filling me in, not attacking my cultural heritage. The afterlife is hard enough as it is.” – pg 28

As it continues to disquiet my mind and give me the creepy crawls…
There is something to be said about descriptive images and content that can literally get under your skin – but in such a dark way that you know deep down these things are just wrong, wrong. You end up having visceral feelings of both revulsion and fascination that you can’t stop yourself from reading. I dig it…I reeeally dig it. I felt a bit of that because some of the things taking place are just that morbid. It explores pieces of humanity that might be better left in the dark but that when you see snatches of it, like a train wreck you can’t or won’t look away. These bits and pieces may not appeal to some readers and indeed I think it will either spice up the reading experience or it will turn some readers off completely. For me? Maybe I’m just a bit sick and twisted because I found it riveting. Ate. Up. Every. Word.

-what possible flavors of the bizarre should he be preparing for? Dragons? Zombies? Dark Lords or Evil Empires? Mind control? Trickster gods or elaborately plotting aliens? – pg 29

Mine, all mine! I think I’m more than twitterpated
The Waking Engine must have been written just for me because there wasn’t a bit of it that I didn’t like. The humor of the characters, the bleak landscape of their minds, the sadness in their souls, the cynicism oh, such cynicism! I can’t even begin to tell you! Each character held me in their grip and gave me something to love. There are no cookie cutter molds used here folks! A crazy mixture of fantasy, urban, science fiction, all kinds of punk, horror and just cool stuff, lots of stuff. You want random descriptions? Children that aren’t children, mecha-fey, gothboys, undead skylords, bloodsluts and poisonwhores, pampered sadistic princesses, mutilated angels, drunken gods…need I go on?

The villainy…oh be still my beating heart!
I am a seriously avid fan of villains. Mad scientists, evil master minds, wicked would be gods, etc, etc – I can’t ever get enough. So if you give me a villain that is well written, deliciously dark and warped AND whose head I can really get lost in!? One with depth that isn’t just evil for the sake of being evil! – then you can bet your rump, anyone who dares talk to me when I have that book in my hands risks a verbal lashing the likes of which they’ve never seen if they dare interrupt me. I kid you not when I say my husband tried to talk to me while I was reading this and I kept shaking the finger at him to leave me alone. Til finally he got so insistent that I pushed the book from my face and made the most pathetic weepy wailing cry. I shrieked…at him, yes sir I did. Pathetic apologies on my part were made later. It might have gone something like this…but I can’t be sure: “Why can’t you just leave me alone until I’m finished or the house is on fire!!?? ahhhhhhhh!”

If you are looking for a journey into the weird, the twisted, the darkly funny and yet at moments achingly touching such that it will make you heartsick – well then look no further. I strongly believe The Waking Engine is either a book to love or loathe. So approach with caution. *smirk*

The Waking Engine

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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22 Responses to “Review: The Waking Engine by David Edison”

  1. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    You know what makes me REALLY love a book (one of the things anyway)? This kind of thing:

    “Earth?” Asher crowed. “You named your home after dirt?”

    Something that has been in front of my face my entire life being presented in a mind-blowingly obvious way that I somehow managed to never think of on my own.

    Mad scientists are bonus too (Dr. Horrible, anyone?).

    And I’ve got nothing else. This book . . . I WANTS IT.

    • Pabkins

      Well there isn’t necessarily a mad scientist but then in a sense one of the villains kind of is because she makes herself into her own crazed experiment…it’s so insane. I freaking loved this so much.

      The snide snarky ass comments were the best!! Early on I had to stop pulling quotes or I would have been stopping constantly to do so.

      Exactly! On the Earth comment! You and I have such like minds that is spot on what I thought!
      Pabkins recently posted…Review: The Waking Engine by David EdisonMy Profile

  2. Mogsy

    I think this is one of those books where you either love it or hate it. New Weird is hit or miss for me, and in this case the weirdness unfortunately became bigger than both story and characters. Glad you liked this book more than I did though!
    Mogsy recently posted…Book Review: The Detainee by Peter LineyMy Profile

    • Pabkins

      I definitely agree that the weirdness is so big that it is practically its own character! I can be so into weird and twisted tho

  3. Anya

    Mwahaha, yes this book! I was nervous that we would disagree, but should have remembered you have an even darker humor than I do ;-). I got a little bit sick of the swearing and gore by the end, but entirely loved the descriptions and brain bending madness!
    Anya recently posted…Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard ARC {3 Stars}My Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I sure was too! I knew there was a reason why I kept feeling anxious about it! I was a bit worried but goodness I shouldn’t have been this was perfect for me. I’m saving it on my list of books to nominate for next years HUGOS! LOL

  4. The_Wanderer

    That review was as crazy as the book was – which is a good thing. I liked Waking Engine although I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as you did. I find it funny that like Breaking Bad, Walt Whitman turns out to be a pretty important reference/character for the story – for some reason that’s what came to mind while I was reading the review. Not sure how I got there.

    I also didn’t realize you had your own site, just wanted to say it’s looking good.

    • Pabkins

      I just loaded a new theme thank god because the one I was using was so big and CLUNKY. So I now have a really nice super tweakable theme as of five minutes ago – check it out sweet and cleaner looking!

      Sorry to hear you didn’t like it the way I did. It freaking hit every note with me it seems.

      The site is new! I’ve been blogging around since 2011 and finally decided it was time to have my own blog. I hope you decide to come again!