Release Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Open Road Teen & Tween
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy | YA
Shortlisted for the 2008 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize: Murder, betrayal, and power . . . Welcome to the Wildenstern empire
The slow collapse of the British Empire in the nineteenth century meant opportunity for anyone with ammunition and wit. Now the Wildensterns are by far the most powerful family—and the most ruthless. Trained from childhood in the arts of assassination and conspiracy and endowed with the supernatural ability to live for more than a century, the clan has grown rich, vicious, and seemingly invincible.
After nearly two years away, eighteen-year-old Nate has returned. But his homecoming is shattered when his eldest brother, Marcus, is mysteriously killed. Following the Rules of Ascension, which allow one male family member to murder another, Nate is being blamed. Nate knows he isn’t the murderer, but who is? With the help of his sister-in-law, Daisy, and his cousin Gerald, Nate intends to find out. Their investigation brings them into the underbelly of the Wildenstern empire, where living machines, conspiring relatives, and undercover mercenaries do their dirty work. But when a disaster uncovers the ancient remains of Wildenstern ancestors, the lives of the family members and their struggle for power will take a bizarre and gruesome turn.
First of all, big thanks to Open Road for releasing this gem here I the US. I believe this has been in circulation in Ireland and the U.K. for some time now.
Next is the "steampunk" label which Wildenstern Saga has on Goodreads. I am not sure if this is steampunk, I asked OMcGann about it, because though the series has nifty gadgets, and machine-like animals called enigmas, it feels more like historical fantasy to me than a steampunk read. For the sake of consistency I'll loosely use steampunk for now...
Now I am not surprised that ANCIENT APPETITES got recognition because it's truly a fantastic tale. Patricide, farricide, parricide, who needs enemies when you have family who can legally come after you so they can move up the line of Ascension?!
OMcGann introduced the Family, Nate, and this world splendidly. Powerful aristocrats who are rich, have intellectual pursuits, but can be savage as beasts. I also enjoyed the scheming, family politics and intrigue, and the legend that is the Wildenstern clan. These people can live long lives because of their ability to self-heal.
The characters are very interesting and each have something to offer to make the series more. The action/adventure is exciting as well, beasts and man fighting, cool gadgets in use, clever tactics to outmatch the other, ah! So good!