SILVER’S #BOOK REVIEWS – “The Automation,” BY Anonymous & GB Gabbler
- Title: The Automation, Vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series
- Author: Anonymous and GB Gabbler
- File Size: 5253 KB
- Print Length: 364 pages
- Publisher: SOBPublishing
- Publication Date: 1 edition (July 7, 2014)
- Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00LLI4XT4
- ISBN-10: 0692259716
- ISBN-13: 9780692259719
- Formats: Paperback and Kindle
- Genres: Mythology, Folk Tales, Fantasy
In the Words of the Author:
“The capital-A Automatons of Greco-Roman myth aren’t clockwork. Their design is much more divine. They’re more intricate than robots or androids or anything else mortal humans could invent. Their windup keys are their human Masters. They aren’t mindless; they have infinite storage space. And, because they have more than one form, they’re more versatile and portable than, say, your cell phone—and much more useful too. The only thing these god-forged beings share in common with those Lowercase-A automatons is their pre-programmed existence. They have a function—a function Hephaestus put into place—a function that was questionable from the start…”
*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review*
I have read some really interesting books before, but never one like The Automation. The beginning of the book was a mishmash of ideas and thoughts. My understanding is that the book is written in a style paralleling an epic Greek poem. There are footnotes throughout the text. At times, the narrator speaks directly to the reader. Frankly, I felt the style was confusing. I did read a number of the footnotes and did chuckle at the comments. I am deliberating on whether the author was clever or simply straining to fill in the back narrative. I still can’t decide.
I had to soldier through because I had agreed to read the book. Normally, if I can’t get through the start of the book, I am finished. But I felt like there was something here, I just had to find it.
The Automation is based on a great idea. I enjoyed the fantasy element of the automaton being an inanimate object that takes human shape. So, when you meet the protagonist, Odys Odelyn, it is on the street where he meets an unusual man. Pepin Pound gives Odys a coin and then commits suicide in front of Odys. Understandably, Odys is upset by the incident. Later, when he awakens in his apartment, a strange woman named Maud, has appeared. Maud is an automaton who has possessed his soul. Many pages later, it is discovered that all of them are controlled by Vulcan, one of the Greek Gods from mythology.
The story spirals into twists, turns, too many subplots, and eccentrics who are unusual and strange. But you only find this out if you can plow through the slow pace of the book. It took me seven days to read this novel. Many times I had to backtrack to make sure I understood the plot. It is a pity because I felt the novel could have been a fun and interesting fantasy read. Some of the writing was engaging, but there was just too much of it!
All in all, the book was just too long. The author spent too much time wanting the readers to notice how clever he was. I was put off with the author remaining “anonymous.” GB Gabbler is billed as the “editor.” Even the blog, called “Further Annotations,” is strange and unusual. You know what? Some people actually like that. You will want to check it out and decide for yourself.
In my humble opinion, finishing the book with a cliff-hanger did not do it any justice. There were some strange sexual nuances going on with the characters that I am still puzzling over. This is definitely an adult book.
So here’s the bottom line, guys. Do you like strange and unusual books? Then, The Automation is for you.
Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 3.5
Reader Engagement: 3.5
Reader Enrichment: 3.5
Reader Enjoyment: 3.5
Overall Rate: 3.5 out of 5 stars
About Anonymous and GB Gabbler
G.B. Gabbler is the other half to the pen name of “The Author” of the indie novel THE AUTOMATION, Vol. 1 of the CIRCO DEL HERRERO series – now out in print and eBook formats.
The novel calls itself a “Prose Epic” because of its subject matter, but is otherwise a purposeful implosion of literary gimmicks. Outlandish characters and tropes disguise a story within a story: A Narrator and an Editor (named Gabbler) frame the novel. Gabbler’s pompous commentary (as footnotes) on the nameless Narrator’s account grounds the novel in reality. Gabbler is a stereotypical academic who likes the story only for its so-called “literary” qualities, but, otherwise contradicts the Narrator’s claim that the story is true.
THE AUTOMATION is a genre-bending fantasy that teeters between the classical and the experimental. Its ideal place would be on the same bookshelf as Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy and Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS—though it wouldn’t mind bookending Homer, Virgil, and Milton, if it had a choice.
The official website for G.B. Gabbler and B.L.A. is: www.circodelherreroseries.com
Contact, Links, & Etc.
Tumblr: The Editor and Narrator’s Etc.
Goodreads: Gabbler (B.L.A. can’t be bothered).