This review is from: Tracks (Kindle Edition) I found this a wonderful story with engaging characters. There are many books out there that explore myth and legend, but few of them deal with fairly recent myths; this is one of them. I don't recall what I first expected when I saw the cover, but I'm happy to say that, whatever it was, this story is better. On the surface, it's a good adventure tale, with good and evil, heroes and villains, love and vengeance. It's more than just light-hearted reading, though; it's got depth, and is thought-provoking. Evil isn't always where you find it. I was also pleased to discover that it's also informative. I've heard some of the terms known by old trainmen and hobos; not only did the author get them right, almost every detail I checked is indeed valid and an actual thing. I believe that if the reader doesn't know the terms beforehand, he or she is still likely to enjoy the book; if the reader does, it helps make the experience just that much richer.
Technical details: unlike many newer e-books I've read lately, the spelling and punctuation in this one are spot-on. There are perhaps two places where a word might have been accidentally omitted, but never in a crucial spot, and never badly enough to spoil my enjoyment.
I received a copy of this book from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.
Tracks was a wonderful surprise. Most sci-fi books are either the swords and dragons or spaceships and aliens. KM Tolan takes you to a different world right here at home. There is something new at every turn. Can't wait for his new book.
I first heard of Tracks on the sffworld.com forums and was immediately caught up in the idea. Hobos, railroad barons, a steampunk fantasy land in a world right next to ours. There there was Vincent, a young man of the modern world who enters this Hobohemia to find his long lost sister. We have had so much steampunk fantasy set in the British Empire that it was exciting to hear of one set in America.
And when I finally got around to reading Tracks, it didn’t disappoint.
This is the first book I’ve read by Tolan, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Tracks is a fun, fast paced adventure that kept me turning the pages long after I should have been in bed. Tolan’s characters are deep and complex, each with a conflicting and very real set of motivations. This is one of the best parts of the book, I think. Not only did Tolan explore the joys and triumphs of humanity through his characters, but he also wasn’t afraid to look at our dark side either by literally showing how much our darker natures can control and hurt us.
Tolan really created a full, rich world with Tracks. From hobo jungles to steam children to gandy dancers. My only problem with the book was that, at points, I wish Tolan had taken a little more time to describe his world, both the places and some of the more fantastical characters. This didn’t stop me from enjoying the book, but it did draw me out a little at times as I tried to see what Tolan saw in my mind’s eye.
Overall, Tracks is a fantastic novel and I highly recommend it. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit Hobohemia!
K.M. Tolan’s Tracks is a far more complex and layered novel than I was expecting from its blurb, and it deserves more attention than it seems to have received. The story follows Vincent, a young man living on the edge of society in a rather grim world, haunted by the disappearance of his little sister (which he witnessed and may have caused) and his father, both tied to ghostly train tracks and vanishing steam engines.
Ten years after those disappearances, Vincent stumbles into a search for his sister and finds himself in Hobohemia, the mysterious and mythical land connecting diverging worlds—and world views. Anchored here and there by its hobo jungles and rail yards, Hobohemia is under attack by the forces of Taylorism, with its assembly lines and diesel trains. Vincent is caught up in the conflict as he learns he is, like his father, a gandy dancer, able to call up living rails and the steam trains that run on them—but at a cost. Along the way he meets steam children, hobo knights, monstrous yeggs, and the rebellious (and very dangerous) daughter of a railroad baron.
Hobohemia is full of the mythology of railroading and American folklore; Tracks is capped by a dark and dangerous trip to the Big Rock Candy Mountain. I’d be hard pressed to categorize the novel—adventure, fantasy, steampunk, romance, alternate history? All that and more, as Vincent explores Hobohemia and the lands passes through and revisits the elements of his family: his bitter, reality-bound mother, his long-lost sister, and his father, stuck on the Westbound Train.
Tolan’s world-building moves so fast and explains so little that I sometimes wondered just where I was—but so did Vincent. The borders of Hobohemia are ephemeral, and I was left wondering if those ghost trains run through the back roads of this world, too.
Tight, high-stakes plot, a sweet romance, gripping drama, intense action, solid world building, characters you’ll love to cheer on and others you’ll love to boo…Tracks by K. M. Tolan has it all
The story starts with a good jolt of drama. At the tender age of twelve, Vincent watches, helpless, as his seven-year-old sister is swept away by a mysterious steam locomotive on rails that disappear. After that, the narrative jumps to ten years later–the mysterious tracks reappear and we join twenty-two-year old Vincent on his journey to find his sister.
Vincent travels to Hobohemia, a magical world of tracks, trains, and creatures, beautifully drawn by the author. The vivid fantasy setting along with an assortment of fascinating characters that both help and hinder Vincent’s quest (sorry, no spoilers here) kept me riveted to the page.
The author does a masterful job of exploring some big themes while entertaining us within the fantasy framework: family, home, redemption for past wrongs. One of my favorite lines from the book still haunts me: “A man does what he has to far more than what he wants to.” This right here is Vincent. Every step of his odyssey provides him with choices, and ultimately it’s a question of making the right ones for the sake of his family, to make a home, to rectify old mistakes…in short, good stuff!
Reviewed by: Celia Breslin
K.M.Tolan takes his story telling to another level in his latest book, Tracks. Looking at the cover art, one would think this is a steampunk tale. Erm....kind of, sort of, not really. Who would think to combine hobos, rail barons, trains and union worker in a fantasy novel? K.M. Tolan would. He takes all of these elements and writes a fast paced tale that I will read over and over again.
K.M. Tolan has given us another book, this time in an alternate world filled with nitty-gritty hobos and fairies. There are bad guys to loathe and good guys to cheer while fantastical creatures titillate you. A delightful book.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. Tight plot, well-crafted characters, and a really interesting and fleshed-out world. Vincent was very relateable and an excellent take on my favorite "reluctant hero" motif. The author is working on a sequel and hopefully it won't be too long in coming as I look forward to my next visit to Hobohemia
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