Steampunk Magazine | April 4, 2013
BY MR GRAHAM
Reviewed by Anna Burwell
Enter ‘Professor’ Leland, existing furtively in the chaos surrounding the Blitz with his roommate (of sorts), Rowan. Employed—as he seems to have always been—by the mysterious body known in-narrative as ‘the Management,’ Leland is charged with doing his part for the war effort in this time of crisis. In this case, eliminating something slightly less German and slightly more supernatural—an individual known only as ‘Signe.’ Armed only with a photograph of his target (along with a small arsenal, a wizard, and his taciturn roommate), Leland tracks down the mysterious Signe to do his part for King and Country.
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much from a story of a scant seventy pages and some change, but I was pleasantly surprised. Naturally, it isn’t without its faults. Because it’s only seventy-six pages, the same plight that affects short stories is still applicable. That is to say, it’s very condensed, leaving precious little elbow room for particulars in regards to characterization. Unfortunately, thanks to the narrative style and the pace, it takes about half the story before The Wailing hits full stride. When it finally does reach that point, the reader can take a break for devious grins if so inclined.
It’s often been cited that leaders of writing workshops encourage the participants to be complete devils to their poor, unsuspecting creations. Graham does just that. I feel I should have seen the twist coming, but the narrative immerses you in Leland’s own thoughts, as well as his disastrous oversights. In fact, I felt it made up for the lack of surprise when the barest particulars of his backstory were revealed. Of course, one can’t simply have a dieselpunk dark fantasy set during World War II without death and destruction running rampant. I commend Graham for what [s]he did within a small span (the plodding section in the beginning aside).