This book was an enjoyable read. The alternate history to explain the steampunk elements was convincing and once I'd got used to the interesting framing device for the first-person narrative the story flowed well, albeit with rather odd dream sequences. This tale is essentially a rolicking adventure-cum-romance, with the former handled better than the latter. There are some wonderfully bizarre characters in the mix, plus the usual steampunk airships and other weird and wonderful devices. Unfortunately, I failed to warm to Pocket, the 'hero' of the story, who acted the selfish cowardly idiot through much of the book - which is fine in the right context (George MacDonald Fraser's Harry Flashman or Terry Pratchett's Rincewind comes to mind), but it felt odd that such a character would have so many far more able people falling over themselves and risking their lives to help him at every turn. In that vein, the book makes too much use of chance to save the hero's neck. The other big problem I had was with 'New London', the descriptions of which show no attempt to relate it to the real London at all. London is not one of those cities where it is easy to obliterate the past (there's still bits the Romans left behind in the present-day version) and it would have been nice if the author had recognised this. Yet there are some fun adventures and some genuinely-hilarious moments in this book, so steampunk fans will find a lot to like. And the perforated spoon in the hat? I instantly thought it was a set-up for an 'absinth-minded' joke to appear at some point, but it didn't! One last little note on formatting - the wide line spacing looked odd on my Kobo and paragraph indents were occasionally missing, but no typos!
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)