Friday, November 5, 2010

The Half-Made World

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman, Oct. 14, 2010.
A fantastical reimagining of the American West which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism
The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they’re just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.

To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.

My biggest fear about reading The Half-Made World was that it wasn’t going to live up to my expectations, which I admit were pretty high, but it more than lived up to- no it exceeded my expectations.
 I admit the first couple of chapters were slightly confusing. I had a hard time guessing where the story was going because each of the chapters were told from the perspective of three different characters, each of which represented one of the different factions with the story. But as the story and plot progressed, it really helped to keep the book moving.
Do I think the book could’ve been told solely from the perspective of one character, no. If it had been told by one character too much of the story would have been lost.

It was quite interesting how both sides of the war, the Gun and the Line, where both after the same thing (a secret that only one person knew anything about) and how Dr. Alverhuysen was drawn into the story because of her line of work (she also made for an interesting character because she wasn’t tied to either side).

 It was definitely interesting to read a steampunk/dystopian book that was set in the American west, rather than another Victorian or future set book.

  My favorite thing in The Half-Made World would have to be the Felix Gilman’s writing, it was just amazing and made the book hard to put down.
Least favorite thing about the book would have to be that the f-word was thrown around a little too much for my taste, but other than that I have no complaints about the book.

Final verdict on The Half-Made World: A thoroughly engaging read, filled with exciting plot twists, and characters that you will love to hate.
It was also a lot cleaner then I though it was going to be. Seriously, I was afraid that I would end up having to skip a lot of pages, when it turns out I didn’t have to skip a single bit of the story due to content.

The Half-Made World earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Thanks to Tolly of PR by the Book for the review copy.
All views expressed in this review are those of the reviewer (me).  


  1. This sounds marvelous! Steampunk and the old west = Excellent. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. This book is totally on my must-read-must-buy list! Thanks for the review!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  3. This sounds great, just added it to my list!


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