The Cyborg Tinkerer
- 2020 Meg LaTorre
- iWriterly LLC
- Romance/Steampunk/Sci-Fi/Space Opera/ LGBTQ+ Lit
When I first started writing my novel in earnest a few months ago, I looked up writing stuff on YouTube and found Meg LaTorre. Back then she was still working on publishing her first novel and making videos about it in real time. It was helpful to be taken step by step through the self- publishing process, and in such a fun, encouraging way. It was brave of her to go through that so publicly, so hats off to her for that.
Needless to say, I’m a fan of the gal. So it feels weird to write what will ultimately be a negative review. Especially because I think it took serious balls to write such an out there story. The Cyborg Tinkerer is described as an “LGBTQ+ steampunk romance set in a deadly Treasure Planet-esque galaxy”… Oh yeah, and with a polyamorous subplot and a fairy tale mash-up vibe. Whoa.
Yeah, it’s a bit of a hot mess. It could have worked though. The concept is so crazy you can’t help but be intrigued, yet… very little of what is promised is actually there. For example, the subtitle to the book is “The Curious Case of the Cyborg Circus”, yet there are no scenes featuring any of the circus acts. One of the main characters is an acrobat with a cyborg hand yet you never see what she can do with it.
There are so many missed opportunities like that. Instead of focusing on the “deadly competition” that ultimately feels forced and unnecessary, more focus should have been placed on the circus and the strange, potentially fascinating world it is set in.
I think the biggest issue is that the book needed at least two more serious edits. There are too many tonal inconsistencies, and the bonds between the characters never quite feel earned. Also, there is at least one Scooby scene I can think of where the villain explains the evil plan out loud for no apparent reason.
Bottom line, there is too much telling going on. It weakened scenes that could have been fun had they been shown, particularly the background stories of the cyborgs.
That said, I liked the humor and smuttiness of the main character. I can see how opening a chapter with a line like “Heart heavier than a large woman’s tits…” is maybe not for everyone, but it made me laugh out loud when I read it. I’m not entirely sure if some of the humor is intentional or not, but this book is hilarious and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is what’s fun about it. As an adventure sort of story, it does work. The action scenes are exciting, the romantic scenes seductive (except for the random food disorder that came out of nowhere… what was up with that?) and the horny scenes are hot.
Ultimately, while there is something interesting here, it still feels fuzzy and unfinished. The world promised on the cover is only outlined in the book, it’s not quite filled in yet. If Book Two can color it in better, like bring the circus and the cool flying ships to life, I think this series will be worth checking out. In the meantime, I will continue to watch Meg’s videos. She’s cool and gives great advice. If you’re a newbie writer I recommend her channel.