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10 thoughts on “Ghosts of Manhattan

  1. says:

    The year is 1926 and the USA is in a Cold War with Britan Masked vigilante The Ghost is on the trail of a crime boss called The Roman Can he evade police long enough to catch The Roman and put a stop to his reign of terror The easiest way to sum up Ghosts of Manhattan is to say Steampunk Batman That s what it is It s very much a Batman story with steampunk trappings And the trappings are minimal If minor details were changed, it could have easily taken place in our 1926.I have to admit I almost liked Ghosts of Manhattan It was action packed and very pulpy The Ghost s gadgets were well done The slight Lovecraftian overtones were a nice touch.Like I said, I almost liked it Here s why I didn t George Mann doesn t bring anything new to the table Just like Newbury and Hobbes books are steampunk Holmes, this is simply steampunk Batman If you ever read a Batman comic or saw a Batman movie, there will be no surprises here Was the Ghost s identity supposed to be a secret The way Mann telegraphed the reveal was annoying when everyone in their right mind knew the millionaire playboy was the Ghost when there were only five or six characters in the entire book.The writing isn t bad but isn t inspired either The villains were comic book cliches The Ghost and detective Donovan would have been killed twice if not for the villains needs to explain things Also, the steampunk stuff seemed tacked on and the dead bird thing was saved for the inevitable sequel.2.5 out of 5 Maybe someone with a higher cliche tolerance will enjoy it It wasn t bad but just didn t bring anything new to the table.


  2. says:

    Do you like noir, pulp, The Shadow, Watchmen, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, steampunk decopunk, Sin City, and Batman Then I have a feeling that you ll love getting to know The Ghost, our lead character and vigilante of Ghosts of Manhattan The story moves along at a lightning fast pace and it s a lot of fun, especially when it comes to the fight and chase scenes The only down side is the characters, they were a little too flat when it came down to it The tale is very visual and I think it could make a really cool movie I may be continuing on to book two, Ghosts of War, in the future.


  3. says:

    Spoilers Well, sort of Honestly, it s not like you re going to be that surprised Because this book often shows up on essential dieselpunk reading lists even though the jacket claims it s the first steampunk superhero a claim completely unsubstantiated anywhere in its 230 pages , I a sort of dieselpunk cadet wanted to like it But as it all too frequently happens these days with subgenres trying to find their niche audience, the otherwise appropriate pieces never quite come together to form a coherent whole Instead, it reads like an unedited book assembled MadLib style with tropes borrowed from other novels A Batman like protagonist whose alter ego resembles a humorless, watered down, self loathing, PTSD suffering Bertie Wooster sans a Jeeves Lovecraftian horror that is introduced almost at the very end of the book, fails to be even a little creepy, and contributes not one uptick to the climax s urgency A mish mash assembly of technologies i.e., steam powered cars that required lots of coal, rocket boosted biplanes that are re parked on rooftops by airships, clockwork geishas, and holographic though monochromatic telephones whose disparate developments are never explained A damsel in distress so painfully two dimensional, ambiguous, and irritatingly uncommunicative that her appeal to the protagonist is a blatant contrivance One note bit characters especially the archvillain whose sole role is to convey necessary information via terse exposition simultaneously shoring up their ability to do their jobs and highlighting the protagonists incompetence at theirs And what could have been a fascinating bit of world building vis a vis the socio political backdrop that instead falls into the told, not shown category of bland storytelling.And if somebody could explain why the protagonists during the penultimate battle at a virtually unmanned power plant FAIL to consider the advantages of TURNING OFF THE POWER to the archvillain s electrically powered lair which they locate on a conveniently labeled map , please do so Do you feel like I ve spoiled things for you If you like your fiction unswervingly predictable, feather light on character likability and development, and ponderously heavy on vigilante fight choreography and wound descriptions, then this book will appeal to you Unless you ve read a mainstream superhero comic sometime within the last 20 years, because then you already know how it ends My advice Look at the cover and imagine the story you d like it to be I guarantee your story will leave you satisfied than this book will.


  4. says:

    If I wanted to read Batman fanfiction, I could probably find better fic on the Internet for free.While the book is set in an old tymey steampunk universe, everything else is straight from the DC Batman universe, coated with a quick and slapdash coat of paint I do not know whether this is merely a steampunk AU fanfic with the serial numbers filed off, or if it was an official Elseworlds script submission which DC turned down, but either way, it s still Batman, albeit in the Witness Protection Program.The prose is awkward and the plot holds absolutely zero surprises However, there is a plot, and I can t fault the book s enthusiasm for it, and I only found a few typos taught for taut during a shoot out scene is the one which comes most easily to mind , so I was able to finish the book with minimal eye rolling Two stars, then because I do like a good Batman AU from time to time.


  5. says:

    Picked up for a pittance in a charity shop somewhere, so utterly awful that I may just bin it rather than have the possibility of someone else reading it sitting on my conscience.Stylistically it nearly made me weep, for a book that steals so much from The Great Gatsby you d hope the author would take than a few characters and a setting and learn a little from his prose.Also Alan Moore did the whole Cthulu erupts into high society thing a lot better in one of his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books, in a perfect Jeeves and Wooster pastiche.


  6. says:

    For George Mann s sake, I m glad that I have a tendency to purchase all of the books in a series when I decide to read the first one He gets my commission, as does my local store These are both good things But never have I felt so embarrassed to read a novel since I was a kid first realizing that YA stories no longer held my attention or demanded my suspension of disbelief And those were the well constructed stories.I don t like to write negative reviews of anything at all, so I ll keep this short The Ghost doublet so far of Steampunk novels is atrocious, trite prose filled with obvious tropes and zero mystery, wonder, or sense of place I had to force myself to finish Ghosts of Manhattan only because I like to complete the books that I purchase, in a sort of OCD manner I ll distill my horrific experience into five points, and leave it there 1 Mann is British, and is writing about a dystopian New York in the 1920s Regardless, all of his characters speak in the British idiom, with no attempt whatsoever to establish personalities that have any sense of relevant colloquiality Amateur mistake or lack of attention, either way it burned the fourth wall straight down.2 If it were of the Pulp genre, or even a nod thereunto, it would still be a dismal addition But it s excitedly touted as Steampunk isn t everything these days with the same absence of setting as that of Mann s portrayal of language Aside from the mention of New York and the occasional boiler plate dropping of some weak, non useful Victorian tech, it might as well have been set anywhere, anytime Sure, I m sick to death of the Steampunkian rapine that has gone on in the past decade But still, self igniting cigarettes, police airships above the city, and coal powered cars alone do not a genre make Besides, those are really the only three anachronistic tech elements he squeezes into the book, repeatedly and with absolutely no subtlety I think I read that one of the characters pulled the ignition tab on his cigarette and watched it flare no less than five times It hurts, I tell you.3 Ghosts of Manhattan is a weak attempt at sandwiching everything that s already been done before together into something that s been left in the fridge long past its sell by date It s exactly the Great Gatsby mashed up with exactly Batman, without any of the style, emotion, mystery, or excitement of either The characters aren t really tortured or even human they re cardboard cutouts of grim detectives, playboy millionaires turned vigilantes, and pure evil antagonists who are trying to end the world by summoning elder gods from out of space and time Really.4 All of the women in this world are glamorous, enticing sirens for the main character s fancy More like George s fancy.5 Just add Cthulhu It s like the Prime Directive in Sci Fi and Fantasy never use time travel to tell your story So leave the tentacles to those who can really use them If Steampunk and Batman aren t working, stuffing in some Lovecraft certainly won t make it any better.Hey, I ve still got the second book to go.I was hoping that I d be a Mann eater, but after reading Ghosts of Manhattan, I m much of a Mann hater.


  7. says:

    So this is how I end up spending my Sunday I knew I wanted to read I just didnt realise how much.So the book well the first challenge is to say what genre it draws from which is easier said than done There is noir detection, alternate history, science fiction, urban fantasy and those are the ones I recognise I am sure people can add to them But what of the story well I guess with this many genres the author can pretty much do what he likes and knows that its acceptable under what ever moniker he so chooses, but I think its he has a great story to tell and he is not fussed how he gets it across There are elements of the SHADOW, even some from Watchmen however it does not take many pages for the comparisons to stop and to start enjoying the story I know that its not a heavy weight book and to be honest the villain after the build up is despatched just a little too quickly for my liking plus I think his evil nature wasnt probably explored fully however that might have got in the way of something far important pace, the book rips along at a pace but all the same I really enjoyed and I am really glad that there are books both published and in the works I think we have a pulp hero here in the making of the good old kind and I for one am looking forward to seeing what happens next.


  8. says:

    I read this book some years ago, back when I still read paper books Now, I ve read it again thanks to my Scribd subscription, enjoying it for what it is a comic bookish pulp book, mixture of steampunk, alternate history, retro future and cosmic horror I was already sold with the world building, but I ve also loved the feeling of noir superhero Terminal City Sandman Mystery Theater The Shadow , meeting The Great Gastby and Lovecraft This is an action packed book, consisting mostly of short chapters, which makes it perfect to read as a prohibition era serial.


  9. says:

    Ghost of Manhattan is George Mann s melding of the pulp genre with that of steampunk Set in an America embroiled in a cold war with the British Empire, it is a world of coal powered cars, bi planes taking off from building tops on rockets, of mobsters and of.The Ghost.The book centres on the vigilante The Ghost and his attempts to thwart the schemes of the insidious mob boss known as The Roman Armed with a plethora of customised weaponry, he sets out each night to tackle the criminal element with his particular brand of severe justice The character is great fun, paying tribute to crime fighters such as Batman, The Spirit and, most of all, The Spider just look at the character s costume The loner is soon helped in his mission by honest cop Detective Donovan, also on a mission against The Roman, for his life depends on it.Mann really deserves commending for paying homage to the pulp genre without succumbing to much of the now clich d dialog that has become synonymous with the pulps The action is taught, energetic and engaging, often brutal, and downright exciting The Ghost is also a character that holds your interest to the last page, serving as a excellent catalyst for the story Credit is also due to the character of Donovan Mann manages to create someone who gives the reader a everyman viewpoint to the events that are occurring, so as not to detach the reader from the sense of reality he is trying to create.The only thing that really brings down my score is the conclusion to the story For all the frenetic pacing of many parts, the ending seems less energetic and rushed One particular aspect in which a main characters purpose is revealed seems somewhat convoluted and just didn t sit well with me Very important details are revealed in a matter of a few pages and the final confrontation is over all too sudden.But, putting these criticisms aside, Ghosts of Manhattan is still a very enjoyable book, and the boundless energy that George Mann imbues his work with should be lauded, and I for one greatly admire it And, best of all, he has created in The Ghost a character I definitely want to learn about, as there is clearly much about his past to be revealed I, for one, am excited about the prospect of a second novel in the series.


  10. says:

    The back copy sold me on this book new york in the twenties, with a steampunk spin and a villain called the Roman leaving freshly minted ancient coins on his victims eyes.We are introduced to the hero, the vigilante named the Ghost , as he overcomes a band of hoods who work for the Roman Shortly thereafter we meet a Gatsby like character named Gabriel Cross who seemed to be his alter ego, only the author seemed to be trying to make me think he wasn t the Ghost, and then eventually just assumed I did know that he was This book feels a little schizophrenic I don t think it does a good job of being a first novel ostensibly in a series about a superhero it really wants to be the first storyline in a comic book series, or filmed in some sort of capacity Certainly the cover art is comic art, and I think it actually might succeed a little better in that medium There is a lot of trite dialogue and description here it feels like communicative shorthand to a collaborator, not a novel, and if couched in a beautiful visual medium it might not feel so tired, and overworked He just tells me everything and it s all very surface, and I don t buy it For stuff along the same lines but better I d read classic pulp writer Robert E Howard this hero reminds me of an updated, lesser version of Solomon Kane.I just opened it up again because I feel badly that I didn t like it , but as I leaf through the pages I just find and that frustrates me characters that seem like they re introduced because the author will be using them in subsequent stories and he feels he should introduce them in the first book for some reason, even if they serve no purpose a love affair that feels hollow I actually can t keep looking because it hurts I like a lot of his ideas but I don t like their execution, and I really don t think I d pick up another novel by George Mann if I saw his name on a movie script or comic book I might give him another whirl.