Absynthe by Brendan Bellecourt – Book review

I enjoyed this Art Deco, historical Science Fiction by Brendan Bellecourt. In the alternate America of Absynthe, where reality isn’t what it seems.

Source: Bought by me

Liam Mulcahey suffers from amnesia and can remember every little of his life before the war but his best friend Morgan and his grandmother are there to help through this. Liam settles into post-war technologically advanced America which is still under threat from its enemies. But one day  Morgan suggests a trip to Club Artemis to cheer Liam up and he reluctantly agrees. So, Liam finds himself drinking Absynthe, a powerful hallucinogenic along with Morgan but his view of the world changes forever and everything he has ever cared about is in danger.


This is a hard book to summarise- there is so much going on and to go into details would be spoiling the story.

I haven’t read many science fiction books set in the 1920s and I think the time feels right for this story.

This story is told from Liam point of view in the third person but he is slightly unreliable as a character as he can’t remember and can’t trust his own memories. He is a sympathetic character and his plight and confusion are believable ( as I imagine anyone’s would be when they discover their reality is not what it should be).

I couldn’t put the book down when I first started it- the first few chapters are quick-paced, full of mystery and I had to know what was going on. But then the pace slows down for the science part and I did find this a little repetitive and perhaps we didn’t need so much detail. Luckily the action picks up towards the end and I had to keep reading as the twists and surprises keep popping up.

The worldbuilding in the book is impressive. A perfect blend of Art Deco, post-war fatigue and steampunk-ish technology including fast trains, androids and futuristic weapons. But while the societal attitudes towards women, the poor, mental illness and people of colour are realistic, they are given are science fiction twist.

Content warning

Violence, medical experimentation, rape fantasy, death of a child ( off-page)

Perfect for fans

Who love steampunk and good old fashioned science-fiction tale.


Four Stars- a riveting read with some amazing world-building.

2 thoughts on “Absynthe by Brendan Bellecourt – Book review

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