The Bookman is the story of Orphan and his quest to rescue Lucy, his lady love, from the Bookman, who is not a book with legs and arms. In an England ruled by a lizard race (or is it?), the Bookman is a terrorist (maybe) who kills using books that go boom! A conceit I liked. When Lucy becomes a victim, Orphan determines in his rather clumsy way to save her. I actually liked his clumsy way, it made him human.Pardoxically, part of this book's charm is part of its problem. It's fun to see what Tidhar pulls out of his hat and all the references he makes. Fun that is until it feels like he has past the kitchen sink and is heading towards the plumbing. There is too much I'm suppose to find cool and exciting, and instead just find to be ho hum, it's like a director who has become to enamoured of special effects. The pacing, which is overall quick, and the touches of character make up for the over use of "special effects" to a degree, but not quite enough. (Think Star Wars prequels).I also had another problem with this book, though to be fair that problem is leveled at more than at one steampunk, though not all, novel/story. One of the attractions of steampunk is the mixature of technology with Victorian, be they famous, literary, or just Victorian characters. Mrs. Beeton, for instance, has had quite a literary life in steampunk. One wonders what will happen to Julia Child. On one hand, it is intersting to see the re-imgined lives of famous people. Yet some steampunk novels, and this is one, want to have it all. So there is mention of both a Dr. Moreau and H.G. Wells. Verne travels with Nemo. Using both the fictional character and the creator seems like cheat in world building to me. Using one but not the other, as in Anno-Dracula which makes use of the characters from Stoker in a real Victorian London, real in very sense except no Stoker, is okay. And the existence of Sherlock Holmes and his supporting cast makes sense in the steampunk world makes sense. Holmes has transcend fiction, one of the few, if the only, fictional character to do so. Still the combination of fiction and fact becomes too much. There are no real rules. And it would've been fine if Tidhar had explained why it happened, but he shies away from his one chance. But the use of Alder here raises another issue with books that use Sherlock Holmes as character, and, again, not just this one. Why is Adler always Sherlock's lover? Okay she isn't always. But in the story, she marries a man who is good, who she loves and who loves her. She isn't interested in Sherlock Holmes, though he feels something for her. It almost feels like a cheapening of her character by making her Holmes' other. A wish fulfillment that in some way is a Mary Sue, because, Robert Downey Jr aside, would anyone really want to be married to Holmes? (I get the unattainable thing, but really).So an entertaining, though not great, book.