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Book Review: Pastworld – Ian Beck

Pastworld by Ian Beck

The concept of this book is rather an original one, being a story based in the future but of a Victorian London restored to it’s authentic past. The idea itself is brilliant – Victorian London is kept as a theme park for visitors to experience what that period of time was really like. Everything is authentic, even down to Victorian London laws which often result in hangings and the arrests of children and visitors who stray from the tour groups. The danger of London is real, with it’s pickpockets, theives and murders. Our heroine, Eve, has no idea that she’s grown up in a theme park and it isn’t really ‘Victorian London’.

I loved the story itself, mixing in the Victorian London atmosphere, the fun characters and the threat of the rogue ‘Jack the Ripper’ type character. As the story unravels, we learn the clever twist surrounding the murders and army of Ragged men who serve their almost supernatural ‘Gentleman’. I won’t reveal too much about the story, but I loved the purpose of the murderer in the city and the destiny he felt he had to fulfil.

While the story was clever and I really enjoyed the atmosphere the writer created, the story felt rushed and all the action was carried out very quickly. It seemed that too much was left unexplained and the characters were developed too quickly. I didn’t realise it was advertised as a young adult novel, so perhaps that’s why I felt it wasn’t long enough.

Overall, I think the concept is genius and I loved the story. The idea of a real Victorian town existing within our own time, the rogue park entertainers, the corrupt ‘fake’ policemen…the idea was wonderful, but I felt it fell short of it’s potential. However, it was a very good read and an afternoon well spent.

4 Stars ****

Pastworld by Ian Beck on Amazon

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