Time to be Gonagain – A.J. Farrelly

*I edited this novel, but purchased my own copy of the final book, with my very own money.  This review is unbiased and represents my personal opinions.*

Blurb: On the run-down trading airship, The Reliant, rule number one is that no one gets left behind.

So why is it that Captain Oisín Gonagain seems to spend more time chasing down errant crew members than actually trading?

It doesn’t help that Gonagain and his more-or-less trusty, mismatched crew have accidentally got themselves caught in the middle of a vicious time war between the Traditionalist and Geokinetic factions – and in possession of some highly controversial contraband too!

Now the Captain and co. have to rescue their crewmates and evade capture from both sides, helped and hindered – in equal measures – by the efforts of a Trustworthy spy, a pedantic automaton, a fugitive pirate and a dog… with a gun.

Set in an alternative 1910, this steampunk fantasy adventure is fast-paced and full of fun; ideal for fans of The Hitchhikers Guide series or Firefly.

This was definitely one of my favourite books of 2020, or, in fact, of all time!

AJ Farrelly has created a fantastic alternative history with a steampunk aesthetic, in which time itself has changed and two factions – those who stick to Traditional seconds, minutes and hours, and those who have adapted and adopted the Geokinetic method of microdays and millidays – are warring over both time and the resources related to it. His team of lovable-rogue traders are keeping their heads down and playing both sides of a game that doesn’t overly concern them, until they got caught in the crossfire and things suddenly become personal.

I absolutely adore the characters introduced in this book – Gonagain, Jao, Bunty, Etoile and Emily Tutu, in particular. The banter between the crewmates is so warm and natural, and the running jokes (such as ‘rule number one’ or Bunty’s boyfriends) are exactly my sense of humour. I laughed out loud more than once while reading, and when forced to put the book down for petty reasons like eating or sleeping, I daydreamed about the characters and their imagined off-page antics until I was able to get right back to them. I felt like crying once I turned the last page and had to leave The Reliant! (I also cried at some of the bits with the dog. I’m a sucker for crying over dogs.)

Honestly, I can’t recommend this book enough for anyone who likes an action-packed, funny, touching, steampunk-esque read, with great characters and worldbuilding, and exciting plotlines (standalone and bigger picture). It has been compared to Firefly and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and these comparisons are justly deserved. I could easily see this series (please, let it be a series!) becoming another cult classic of the genre.

Author, take note: as I have always said, rule number one is that this book needs lots of sequels… please!

Gonagain was running for all he was worth. The loading hatch of The Reliant was down and he could see his engineer, Rajaobelina, silhouetted by the loading bay lights, standing on the gangway, loading a revolver. Gonagain ducked to allow her a shot, and she duly fired over his head. The shot flew above the heads of his pursuers as well, but they knew this was going to be one-way gunfire and it was enough to send them diving for cover.
As Gonagain approached the airship, it began to lift off. The gangway was becoming steeper and as he tried to scrabble up the slope, it completely left the ground. Gonagain’s legs dangled comically as he tried to drag himself up to the loading bay. Rajaobelina grabbed his bad arm, hauled him up and began to close the gangplank.
“Thanks, Jao!” Gonagain gasped, “Who’s piloting?”
“Bunty! She’s had about ten large gins – she’s fluthered!”
“That she is.”
“And you’re letting her fly The Reliant?”
“You want me to pilot and her to shoot over your head?”
Gonagain paused, briefly contemplating that scenario. “Where’s Beagán?”
“Not here.”
“Then get this ship down until they get here! And that’s an order!”

– AJ Farrelly, Time to be Gonagain

You can find AJ Farrelly on Twitter here.

Time to be Gonagain is available on Amazon right now!


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