This week’s Vitality Reads is Prosperity by Alexis Hall. It’s a steampunk fantasy with some romantic elements, written in very personal, storytelling style. The first-person narrator “writes” in a gutter-snipe dialect that’s nevertheless beautiful and lyrical. Encased in Hall’s delightful prose are air-ships, scoundrels, lawless frontier towns, tentacled monsters, and adventures galore. Oh yes, and a bisexual black protagonist/narrator, queer men by the bucketful, a non-binary aethership captain, and a lesbian navigator suffering from monsters in her brain. Nearly the entire cast is made up of people along the LGBTQA spectrum, in fact. But the book is more about the scrambling destruction of a frontier town hanging over Steampunk England, and the various scoundrels (and a few good folks) who escape it while preventing a much worse catastrophe. The plot is fairly straightforward, but the characters are what really kept the pages turning. They’re not all nice (though some are quite lovely), but they are all vivid, complex, and messily human. Throw in a few variations of that complicated emotion we call love, a couple of beautifully narrated sex scenes, and of course a bit of witty repartee and you’ve got a roaring good read.
Warnings: Violence, repeated use of the word crazy and various synonyms, threat of rape against a female character, consensual on screen explicit sex.
Book Review by Junior Assistant Editor Kestrel Ward | Originally posted on Vitality’s tumblr