Here’s a follow-up review for the sequel to yesterday’s book.
1633 is a fun book, but it’s slightly less enjoyable than the original (1632). The basic plotline — a small West Virginian town is transported to Germany during the Thirty Years’ War and must survive and attempt to civilize Europe — remains the same. A few new characters are introduced, though some of the protagonists from the first book get short shrift (e.g., Julie Sims) this time around.
The book is probably about a hundred pages too long, and it goes into unnecessary detail on the creation of the (new) U.S. Air Force and Navy. Military hardware nuts will love that added level of detail, but for the rest of us, it’s superfluous. An inordinate amount of time is spent on the initial flight training of a couple of new pilots and the construction of the first ironclads. That would be fine if, for example, the ironclads ever saw action in the book — they do not, however. Presumably, Flint will have them play a significant role in one of the sequels. Flint still uses way too many lengthy expository passages for my taste (even more so than in 1632). That’s a real weakness.
You get the impression from reading the book that Flint sees 1633 as being just an opening chapter in a much larger story rather than as a coherent, stand-alone book. While many “epic” series suffer from this problem (I hesitate to even begin to compare 1633 to a Robert Jordan book), I do wish that 1633 had been a little more self-contained.
All that being said, 1633 is an enjoyable read, and if you enjoyed the first book in the series, you should definitely take a look at this one, you won’t be disappointed.
3.5 stars out of 5
Review copyright 2008 J. Andrew Byers