Friday, August 6, 2010

Worldshaker by Richard Harland


Author:  Richard Harland

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

4½ out of 5 stars

Colbert Porpentine. Hmm…it sounds like some prestigious name, doesn’t it? The way it rolls off your tongue, and makes you think of some wealthy philanthropist or college professor. However, Colbert Porpentine is none of these things. He is sixteen, and you can call him Col for short. Colbert lives on the colossal juggernaut, Worldshaker, where he is next in line to become supreme commander. As you can see, Colbert is no ordinary boy. He has his future laid out for him, and is preparing to fulfill it to his full potential.

However, Col’s path is blocked by many obstacles. Not only are there others who want to take his spot, but there are also barriers within himself that he must learn to put up with or knock down. You see, the juggernaut that Colbert lives on, with an additional 12,000 or so people, is “an iron colossus, a mechanical mountain, and a predominator.” At least that’s how Col’s grandfather, Sir Mormus Porpentine, the current supreme commander, puts it. Worldshaker is two and a half miles long, and three quarters of a mile wide. It has giant cranes used to trade with the world below, and also contains humongous rollers that travel across the surface of the Earth.

But, what powers this metal society? That’s where the Filthies come in. The Filthies are forced to work with limited food, and the threat of toxic white gas to keep them from slacking off. Meanwhile, the Upper Decks people live in luxury. However, Col is unaware of all of this. He is as innocent as can be. The only Filthies he has ever met are Menials, Filthies who have been trained to serve the Upper Decks, but cannot talk. Until a Filthy girl escapes from Below. This Filthy manages to hide in Colbert’s room, where he finds her under his bed! He is surprised, yet intrigued by her, at the same time. She can talk! She has feelings, and can understand him too! She’s also speedy and light on her feet! He was taught that Filthies were big, lumbering creatures, who didn’t have feelings and couldn’t comprehend matters. Boy, was he wrong.

The Filthy girl’s name is Riff, and Col doesn’t know what to think about her. She has blond and brown hair, and is only fourteen years old. He does know though, that she’s not supposed to be up here. What will Col do about this strange Riff? Is there anything he can do? Richard Harland reveals all in this fast-paced, “steampunky” adventure, Worldshaker!

To start off, I thought the whole storyline and scenario to Worldshaker was not only very creative, but quite curious too. The entire story actually takes place around our current time, just maybe ten or fifteen years earlier. One aspect that I enjoyed very much, was that there was a history to the whole making of the juggernaut Worldshaker. In the story, Worldshaker didn’t just spring up out of nowhere, and it hadn’t always been there either. It turns out that this particular juggernaut was constructed in 1845, after the Fifty Years War, and is the largest one there is. However, the Prussian, Austrian, and Russian juggernauts are all faster than Worldshaker, even though it’s the largest.

Another thing that I thought was very refreshing was the entire concept of the story. I liked that it was something new and different. I also thought that the whole idea to the story was very well written and put together. Basically, I liked the storyline of how the juggernaut was an entire separate world, far above land and water, and quite different from life on the surface of Earth. I thought that it was also very cool how Worldshaker was its own unexplored land, and how throughout the story you explored the different hallways, rooms, corridors, elevators and viewing bays in this mechanical mountain. However, I would have liked to see even more of this iron colossus, such as the middle class decks, and maybe to have even seen the decks that Col did visit in more detail.

Lastly, I loved the personalities of the characters, especially Riff’s and all of the Filthies. Riff is so confident, and thinks she knows so much, but at the same time doesn’t really know very much at all. Col’s innocence is very catchy too. You almost feel sorry for him, as he knows nothing, really, about everything that he thought he knew. It was all a lie. Riff seems to know more at times than the supposedly next supreme commander. Even Col’s family each have their own personality that always surrounds them.

To sum it all up is almost impossible, but Worldshaker is an intriguing world, with danger around every corner. It is populated with ignorant people who think that everything is all right, when most of the time it’s not. Join Col as he learns the truth about his life, and decides what to do with the mysterious Riff, in Worldshaker, a brand-new tale all about taking chances and being open to new ideas!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out the Worldshaker website at
Worldshaker is available from Amazon here.


  1. Hi Tessa!

    I'm honored that WORLDSHAKER was one of the first books you reviewed. And I loved your review. I get a lot of newspaper reviews, but
    yours was better, fresher, more honest. It was really interesting to read about the particular things you liked in the book, and I'll be remembering all of that for the future.

    Right now, I'm revising the sequel to WORLDSHAKER, called LIBERATOR, for publication - it'll come out in the first half of next year. The action moves out onto a bigger scale - all the other Imperialist juggernauts want to destroy this one free juggernaut! And the Filthies now in charge of our juggernaut are getting more and more paranoid and hostile towards the Upper Decks people - like Col - who've stayed on. I'm really really pleased with it!

    Thanks again for such a thoughtful review. I read all the others too, and you're doing a great job all round.


  2. Hello Tessa!

    Great review of WORLDSHAKER. I enjoyed the book as well and am looking forward to LIBERATOR.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!
    JL (An Avid Reader's Musings)

  3. Thanks so much! I can't wait to see Liberator out in stores.

    Thanks so much for commenting and following!


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