Monday, 5 October 2009

Pastworld by Ian Beck

From Amazon: Pastworld. A city within a city. A city for excursions and outings. Pastworld is a theme park with a difference, where travellers can travel back in time for a brush with an authentic Victorian past. But what if the Jack the Ripper figure stopped play-acting and really started killing people? For Caleb, a tourist from the present day, his visit goes terribly wrong when his father is kidnapped and he finds himself accused of murder. Then Caleb meets Eva Rose, a Pastworld inhabitant who has no idea the modern world exists. Both Caleb and Eva have roles to play in the murderer's diabolical plans - roles that reveal disturbing truths about their origins.

I loved every single page of Pastworld. It was engaging and original, and completely unexpected. I was quickly drawn into the world of Victorian London, and couldn't wait for the story to unravel.

One of my favourite aspects of Pastworld, aside from the fantastic idea of recreating Victorian London as a theme park, was the constant suspense. I had no idea where the plot was going, but I knew it was building up to something good. The final revelation was surprising and somewhat shocking, and it took me a while to wrap my head around the disturbing lengths people will go to to garner a reaction from the public. I loved being drawn into the unusual story, and I can definitely imagine a theme park like Pastworld existing in the future.

Although I didn't feel a strong attachment to any particular character, the idea and execution of Pastworld more than made up for that. It was such a huge novel in terms of imagination and scope that I don't think it needed as much focus on the characters -- the haunting, dark images it created were enough to support it. That's not to say I didn't like the characters, because I did. Eve and Caleb were both likable, with Eve being incredibly mysterious. Jago and Bible J were my personal favourites, as they were unique and memorable in their own odd little ways.

Pastworld is a wonderful piece of storytelling, and I'm so glad it was brought to my attention. It's thought-provoking and creative, and has left me wondering what it would be like to find out that everything you ever believed in was a lie.

7 comments:

Chicklish said...

It sounds amazing. Thanks for a fantastic review!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Brilliant review! This sounds so good!

I Want to Read That said...

I've been really interested in this one but couldn't decide if i'd i'd like it - think I might give it a go - you make it sound great! Thanks for the review:)

Andrea said...

Thanks for the review. I'm adding it to my TBR list now.

Becky said...

If I'm completely honest, I thought from the premise that this novel was going to be terrible. I thought I'd read your review and it would confirm my scepticism. Now I stand corrected and may even consider buying Pastworld. You tell me its worth reading. I believe you. You know a great book when you see one. Thanks for opening my mind!

Lana said...

I loved the premise - atmospheric fog and creepy serial killer in a futuristic dystopian setting. Perfect! I, like you, didn't grow terribly attached to any of the characters, but tore through the story for the suspense and the fantastic setting!

I've linked to your review (and author interview) here.

Pewter Wolf said...

How interesting. Once my "to Read" pile has gone down, I must investigate this book...!