Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Review Time! - Thirteen Hours by Francis Gideon

Thirteen Hours title image

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Title: Thirteen Hours

Author: Francis Gideon

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, Zombies, Steampunk, LGBTQ+, Romance (M/M; secondary F/F,) Novella/Short Story

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

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A gay steampunk zombie tale set in an alternative Victorian-style London? Dudes, of course I was going to read this!

It also helps that I'd previously read The Invisibles by Francis Gideon, way back among my earlier reviews, and loved it - it's so sweet!


Hans may very well have an answer to the zombie crisis that has gripped the country, but his peers in academia won't step out of the realms of theory.

The time has come for Hans, his wife (of convenience) Therese, and her girlfriend Joan, to step up.

They just need a fresh corpse...

Best bits:

Steampunk and batsh** randomness

Zombies. Steampunk. Victorian sh**.

My friends, the sheer randomness of this is exultantly awesome.

The romance aspect is totally bizarre - which may not work for some, but I actually kind of liked it!

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Marriage of convenience

I liked the inclusion of Hans and Therese's marriage - a way for them to appear 'respectable' to the London society in which they live.

As a gay man, and a lesbian woman, they see the way for both to be happy as being one in which they marry each other, and never *ahem* consummate things.

Since this was a very real state of permanent closet-hood for many people during the real Victorian period (you know, the one without the steampunk and the zombies,) I think it's inclusion here was very important.

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I loved Joan - Therese's girlfriend.

It's always nice to see a positive depiction of a butch lesbian, although I did have some qualms (see next section).

It was also nice that both Therese and Joan were capable, intelligent, women. (Who, might I add, Hans would be a useless lump without.)

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This book is also very readable, and quite short (under 100 pages) - so a nice one to stick in the middle of heavier reads.

The author, Francis Gideon, is a non-binary writer of m/m romance. (This is the part where I remind you to support diverse creators!)

Not so great bits:

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A couple of things to be aware of content-wise:

- grief
- corpses and medical experimentation
- grave-robbing
- gore
- homophobic society/time period

I think that's about it.

There is swearing. And one relatively graphic m/m sex-scene which you can skip without affecting the story if you want to.

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For a lot of people, this whole thing is just going to be too weird.

A lot of people will also not appreciate the randomness - it's not everyone's cup of tea, and to some people it'll just seem too silly and implausible.

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Plot-holes ahoy!

There are plot-holes.

I'm not going to go into them, because that would be all spoiler-y.

But there are plot-holes, which I happily skipped over, but which you might not be so happy with.

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Being butch is not a class-based identity!

There's just one thing I don't understand:

WHY, given that Joan and Therese grew up in the SAME kids' home, does Therese talk without an accent/dialect, and Joan talk like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins?!

It suggests that Therese, the femme lesbian, is more refined, and of a higher class, than Joan, the butch lesbian.

That bugged me.


Look, if you like batsh** randomness and/or steampunk, zombies, or Victorian-fantasy, you're gonna love it!

If not... maybe look for something else.

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  1. I'm so happy we live in a world in which "a gay steampunk zombie tale" is seen as the norm. Our world used to be so damn boring!

    1. Ha, not quite 'the norm' - but getting there! XD

      And yeah, boring sucks! Lol.

  2. Wow, this story sounds like it has a lot of elements to its plot, but that the randomness coming together actually worked really well and made for a great story. Also, marriages of convenience aren't included in a lot of the novels I've read at all, and it would be interesting to read one which includes it. I am sure there is a lot to discuss on the matter in the novel.

    1. The marriage is quite straight forward in this book - it seems like the obvious option for both of them, and is done really well :)

      Yes, there was a lot of randomness - which I loved! Lol :)

  3. This sounds so freaking interesting!! Yay for diverse books and yay for supporting diverse authors and books! Thanks for putting this book on my radar :)

    1. Ha, you're welcome. (It's a totally random book! But I really liked it!) :)

  4. I was totally intrigued when I saw the cover and the genres, and your review also has me intrigued about all the randomness and whatnot, but I don't generally read books shorter than 100 pages because I'm just not able to really get into them or connect with the characters in that short time :-/ This does sound fun and quirky though!

    1. It is fun! And no worries, if it's not your thing, it's not your thing! :)

  5. Haha I love how you keep stressing how random it is! I can handle a Chuck Palahniuk level of random as an absolute ceiling and I'm not keen on gore. I probably won't read this but I really enjoyed your review because you seemed super enthused!


    1. It's not overly gory, but there is a touch in there (because... zombies and corpses, lol.)

      But I totally loved the randomness! (It might be over-exposure to the Internet, but I'm ok with that! Lol.)


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