Review: The Transatlantic Conspiracy by G.D. Falksen


The Transatlantic Conspiracy  // VBC ReviewThe Transatlantic Conspiracy
G.D. Falksen
Published: June 14, 2016 (Soho Teen)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 2.5 stars

17-year-old Rosalind has been in Europe, staying with her friend, when she is called back home to America by her father. Even worse, she is expected to be the figurehead at the inaugural trip of her father’s new underwater train, and is given no other option. Thankfully, her friend decides to accompany her on the trip—and is promptly murdered shortly after the train departs. With war looming, a train with no option to get off, and a killer on board, Rosalind has to try and figure out what happened to her friend while not getting killed herself.

The Transatlantic Conspiracy had the possibility of an interesting story, but there was a strange dissonance as well. It’s marketed as young adult, and the story details (war, murder, spies) would seem to fit that, but the writing itself seemed more like a middle-grade book. The line drawings are one of the best things about the book, but again—they seem aimed more towards the middle-grades than true YA. It feels like the author struggled to decide which group to aim toward and ended up trying to please both, which doesn’t work very well.

The story itself was somewhat interesting, but there was a LOT of emphasis given to A VERY SERIOUS POINT—that point being the class structures that defined society during that time (the book takes place in 1908). The author leaves no doubt exactly how he feels about this VERY SERIOUS POINT, and it starts to wear a bit. Most readers, even in the middle or young adult range, are astute enough to understand a point without having waved in front of them repeatedly, so I can imagine a few getting aggravated enough to stop reading the book altogether. Combined with some rather inane conversation, it gets trying rather quickly.

Having said that, there are some rather interesting steampunk-type elements. The idea of a transatlantic train that runs almost entirely under water was unique and had/has great potential. The station stops along the way, the idea of this technology existing during that time—all were part of what initially drew me to the story. Unfortunately, they seemed to almost be an aside to the rest, rather than an integral part of the story. Again, there is hope that the second book will utilize these elements far more effectively, but…based on this book, I wouldn’t necessarily count on it.

The characters definitely need a little polish, but since this appears to be the start to a series, one can only hope that they improve. There is some stereotypical boy-meets-girl in the early-1900s kind of stuff, but the characters never really feel like they were developed. Even the main characters feel sort of like cardboard stand-ins at times. Rosalind finally develops a bit of a backbone (no spoilers), so hopefully that will carry over into the next book.

Overall, yes, it has issues. Several of them. But the story is mildly entertaining. If you decide that you still want to read The Transatlantic Conspiracy my recommendation would be to get it from a library.

Sexual content: none

2 Responses to “Review: The Transatlantic Conspiracy by G.D. Falksen”

  1. Amy M says:

    With the murder on the train aspect, I get a “Murder on the Orient Express” vibe, and that piques my interest right there. The rest of your review does make me believe borrowing from the library is the way to go with this one.

    • Beth C. says:

      Amy, now that you mention it, there is a bit of that vibe to it. Possibly the author used that as a *bit* of an inspiration?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes
Malcare WordPress Security