Sporeville: The Wellborn Conspiracy
Sybertooth Inc. (2007)
Reviewed by Martin Yoder (age 14) for Reader Reviews (2/08)
In this book, the readers find a vision of the 1800s lying before us plainly and in a well-constructed manner. The genre of “Steam-punk,” or, Victorian science-fiction, finds a new tale to its name, as well.
The protagonist of our story is Elliot Graven, the son of a doctor from Kingston, and he eternally regrets this move of his father’s to Sporeville. The Deloups, including Elliot’s spiritualist friend, Paisley, soon introduce the doctor and his only child to the bizarre village, and Elliot sees a dull and dreary country existence here. Of course, he meets the precise opposite in the presence of the narcoleptic and sleep-walking population, the crude run-down haunts of the town, and the magnanimous and frightening Dr. Strange.
This world of this tale is well illustrated by the language of the book, showing us with almost a first-hand account of the thought and mindset of the late 19th century. We find the emergence of some modern technology in life, which fuels a strange desire for the spiritual and the séance. The newfound strength of steam and coal make their presence with the fascinating ability to travel further and further away from the home. Yet, a fear is slowly settling into society, a fear that exploits every bonus, every step-ahead into merely a drawback.
The general teen reader will be interested by this story, for it illustrates the past with a steady hand, and carves intrigue well. The words of the old world might require an inquisition from a dictionary for the young, and perhaps the younger readers shouldn’t find this on their shelves at all, but anyone past double-digits can read this and enjoy it.
I was quite interested in this book since I learned the meaning of its genre, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed after reading it. Should I find some fault with it, is just an occasional dreary spell in the plot and those are never outlasting a few sentences.
This being a serialized work (a fall to some books, but hopefully not this one!), I should hope to find book two of the Wellborn Conspiracy a little longer, a little broader and, with good hope, even more intriguing than its prequel. Surely, the tale after “Sporeville” will be on a fair number of shelves everywhere.