The artwork is still lush, as in the previous titles by this duo. The use of color to set the mood is quite impressive. You still have the steampunk nature of the adopted (and now evolved) Martian technology (such as video screens in cars, and video phones). And there are interesting alternative history elements cropping up (for example, Haile Selassie I shows up in a news story, but there's no mention of Hitler. Why would you need Hitler's fascism, when it's firmly established in the post-martian England?
Nevertheless, I didn't enjoy the story as much. It felt unnecessarily crass in a few places, it felt like it jumped around too much in the beginning, and there were a couple of convoluted plot twists that left me confused. But I'm going to read it again - with better lighting (in deference to my presbyopic eyes) and a still open mind.
I missed the sarcastic narrator of the BOCD, but the illustrations in the book made up for it. I have a soft spot for wood cut style! And although it doesn't have a (faux) state song after the end of the story, it does have a hilarious 'study guide' that you must be sure to read. "#4. Out of all the page numbers in the book, which one is your favorite? Discuss."
(captures the essence of the characters): "If Suki - a girl - was able to tie a blindfold around the crane, refusing to hold its head would be pure cowardice. Wendell would never let him hear the end of it, and Wendell was terrified of perfectly safe things like gunpowder and bottle rockets."
"Danny would have preferred something with rusted metal spikes, possibly dripping blood, and the bones of the geckos' enemies lined up on top, but he had to admit that was more a matter of personal preference."