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The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack - Mark Hodder Don't mess with time travel, guys. You WILL fuck it up and change history, and then you'll try to fix the damage and just end up preventing yourself from being born. Trust me on this one.

I probably never would have heard of this book if it weren't for GoodReads, but I'm so glad I did. It seems like every other novel these days is some new version of half-assed steampunk, but this one is actually good. [b:The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack|7293120|The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne, #1)|Mark Hodder|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61OQ9lQW9HL._SL75_.jpg|8590363] is a whole lotta book: history, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, humor... it is nothing if not genre-bending.

It starts off with quite a unique concept: famous explorer and linguist Sir Richard Francis Burton and his friend, the extremely eccentric poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, are enlisted by the King of England to investigate some strange events occurring in London. They're basically early secret agents, and the writing has a bit of a Sherlock Holmes flavor to it. But wait! There are also an abundance of paranormal elements, creative anachronistic technology, well-thought out time travel, and an actual plausible explanation for an alternate history.

Absolutely stunning for a first novel. I was gripped from the very beginning and devoured the whole thing in just a couple days despite being extremely busy that week. (That's always the mark of a good book, in my opinion.) The amount of painstaking research that went into this is readily apparent and Hodder's world-building is fantastic. I'll definitely be picking up the next book in the series.