The Adventures of Felix Valentine is a set of short stories, the first book in the Gentleman Adventurer series by Timm Gillick. Timm Gillick presents us a world of steampunk and Felix Valentine, a gentleman who does his best to help those around him. The book gives us a varied range of experiences and takes several aspects of many other genres.
The characters are reasonable, but I don't feel that I like any of them; none of them have any characteristics that are unique or even interesting. I can see that the author is trying to give us a reasonable range of characters to appreciate, but there are too many in some of the stories and it kind of muddles the stories. Even with Felix, I don't think that I enjoyed his character. His personality just seems to overly jolly and I feel like he doesn't take the situations very seriously. To explain, I don't mind him being a happy person, but it just doesn't work well for the plot considering he's in some very worrying situations and it depreciates the effect of any suspense or drama that the author creates. Angeline Hunter, Felix's lucky lady, is a bit of a dull person as well. She has some important moments in the plot, but her character importance seems to be constantly dwarfed by other characters getting attention. Just when you think that she's going to get an interesting or important bit of the plot, another character comes in and sort of takes it from her. It's kind of underwhelming because the author tries to make it out as if she's somewhat of a strong-willed, confident woman. Yet, she doesn't get parts in the plot that actually make her look strong. It gives the effect that her character is kind of insincere; that others have to do a lot of the hard work because they feel she can't, hence why they're always having to take over for her and she's left with lacking tasks. As for other characters, the majority of them are forgettable and I doubt I'll remember many within the next few days. Archer, the brother of Felix, has a somewhat prominant role. However, it oftens seems like he's there to save the day and steal the glory. I don't particularly find the personality of any of the characters to be attractive, but I guess that's because we have so little information about any of them. I hope that, if the author continues with these characters, that we get more information about them and get a better look at their personalities.
One of my main problems with short stories is that a lot of the events aren't explained fully. This is definitely one of my problems with this book as well. Though the stories are interesting and the scenes provided are somewhat exciting in theory, we just don't receive enough information or explanations to some of the bits. We just have to rely on the minimal information the author does let us know. An example in the first story is that we meet a mysterious woman, Emma Whitestone. We get basics about the story with a very minimal history. However, not enough of the backstory is explained to inform us about why she was untrustworthy to Felix in the first place and what her plans were. Ultimately, it kind of makes Felix look bad because he essentially left a (suspicious) lady alone on an island. For all he knew, she could have been completely innocent; his only real reason was that he doesn't like her and saw her flirting with his brother... From what we see of her, the only reason she tries to harm them is because Felix treated her poorly in the first place, something that he effectively brought on himself. A similar thing can be said of the second story. We find the characters in the midst of a battle with some sort of octopus. Soon after, we meet Rekha who is apparently the daughter of its creator. Eventually we get a minimal explanation as to why this octopus exists. We get references to events which have happened with the creature, such as an incident with a cruise ship, the death of Rekha's father and the theft of supplies. However, it doesn't give a reasonable explanation to what was going on with this creature and why they (as opposed to someone else) were after it in the first place. There's basic information to these stories, but not enough to complete them. There's a lot of unintential mystery just because the author hasn't bothered to explain certain bits.
Overall, I wanted to enjoy the book, but it felt kind of incomplete and was kind of disappointing. I definitely found my attention dwindling towards the end of it; I gave up for about a week once I'd started reading it before finishing it today. I think that it's the type of book that could have been brilliant if the stories were longer, the author giving us more details about characters and events. As it stands, it was a reasonable book, but it needed a lot of work.
I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of this using a Smashwords coupon code.