My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"In the depths of his dream world, the sounds rose and fell, haunting cries and screams coupled with the sounds of machinery. In the waking moments, they stayed with him, refusing to die with the night, as cold and clear as the night-time air". - Mars on the Rise
Mars on the Rise is the first book in the Veetu Industries series by Rae Gee. In this story we are introduced to Erus Veetu and Cedo Reilly, two very different characters, and their dark and violent steampunk world. Erus picks Cedo off the pier and transforms his quiet and uneventful life into one beyond his imaginings.
Cedo is a storyteller: He makes his way in life telling stories to those who will listen. Cedo is a loner whose only companion is a pet cat, and he dreams of being loved. I found Cedo to be innocent and frustratingly naiive, and in many ways, very childlike.
Erus, on the other hand, is a cold, hard man, who preys on the weak and forces them into submission. Having made his millions as a warlord, he has become brutally unforgiving, and is an artful manipulator.
Mars on the Rise is a LGBT steampunk novel that has a little bit of everything: Murder, torture machines, sex, love, betrayal and devotion. Rae Gee has a wonderful descriptive talent that brings the imaginary steampunk world of Mars on the Rise to life, beautifully and effortlessly. However, I simply could not connect to the characters. I neither hated nor loved them - I was just painfully indifferent. Despite Gee's creative world, I simply wasn't invested in the characters as much as I would have liked to have been. I think this was mostly due to the fact that I simply did not understand Cedo's feelings for Erus. There seemed to be no development of their relationship, it kind of just happens. Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that Cedo is lonely and needs to be needed, regardless of who satisifies that craving. I could not help but feel that he goes to a lot of trouble for someone who doesn't really seem worth the effort.
I await to see what the next instalment brings...