Category Archives: Steampunk

The Immortal Empire #1 -3 by Kate Locke

I read The Immortal Empire series by Kate Locke a while ago.

God Save the Queen – #1
The Queen is Dead – #2
Long Live the Queen – #3

An alternate history, where an immortal Queen Victoria still rules and the  Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires. Goblins – terrifying creatures that seem to be a mix of vampires and werewolves – live underground. There is an uneasy balance between the undead Aristocrats, those of mixed parentage (aristo + human = “havies”) and regular humans. Continue reading

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The Inventor’s Secret – Andrea Cremer

The Inventors Secret

I read this a while ago but obviously am really behind on posting. I think the sequel is coming out this month, so I figured it was a good time to post this review! Continue reading

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Agatha H and the Airship City (Girl Genius novels #1)

Agatha H and the Airship City

I confess, I read this AGES ago and for some reason have not been able to bring myself to post about it. Continue reading

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The Spiriglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes #2)

The Spiritglass Charade

After reading The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, I was quite happy to delve into the second book in this series, The Spiritglass Charade.

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are on the case again, this time helping out the friend of the Princess. After the death of her mother and the disappearance (and presumed death) of her younger brother, Willa Aston has turned to spiritual mediums.  Fraud, murder, and manipulation abound, as Mina and Evaline try to track down what is going on and who is behind the move to discredit Willa’s mental state.  Throw in the re-emergence of vampires in London, a dash of potential love interests, and a hefty dose of steampunk and you have a fun fictional tale! Continue reading

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Waistcoats and Weaponry

Waistcoats and Weaponry

I was so thrilled when Book #3 of the Finishing School Series came out!  Waistcoats & Weaponry follows in the excellent footsteps of Books #1 (Etiquette and Espionage) and #2 (Curtsies and Conspiracies) which I re-read right before reading this one.  I actually ALSO re-read the entire Parasol Protectorate Series (beginning with Soulless) to re-acquaint myself with that world (and okay, because I love those books).

Sophronia is now in her second year of Madame Geraldine’s unusual finishing school, learning the secret tricks of the trade, including wielding a bladed fan and developing her Seductive Looks.

When things go wrong at home for her classmate and friend Sidheag (Lady Maccon), Sophronia and her team (including Dimity, the sootie Soap, and Lord Felix Mersey) band together to help get Sidheag back to her pack.  On the way they uncover plots and face down with enemies – and Sophronia must decide where her loyalties lie.

With a little bit of romance, a lot of covert activity, and Sophronia’s creative style, this is a perfect companion to the other books in the series.  I highly enjoyed it!

Sophronia is growing up – but remains quirky and altogether too curious for polite society (although this makes her excellent as a covert recruit).

Dimity is still fluffy, but she’s showing more and more backbone, which I like.

Soap and Lord Mersey add plenty of opportunities for flirting and confused feelings, which is the only area where Sophronia is at a bit of a loss (though not a complete loss – flirting is a valuable skill after all).

If you haven’t tried out Gail Carriger yet, do!!  If you’re an adult, start here. If you’re looking for strictly YA, this series is for you!

5/5

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Emperor’s Edge (#4, #5, #6, #7)

You get a mass post!! Mostly because after Book #3 of the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker (Deadly Games), I read the remaining books all together in a mass consumption/must finish the series madness.  That was due to the abundance of cliffhangers – thank goodness the series was all out and I didn’t have to WAIT between books because that would have driven me crazy. I hate cliffhangers when I have to wait, and when I DON’T have to wait I treat a series like this as one really really long book.  So that completely taints this review, just FYI.

If you’ve not read any of the series, you can find my reviews of the first three books here (#1), here (#2) and here (#3).

I feel like there are too many spoilers to really plot summarize anything, but let me at least briefly outline maybe one focus of each book:

Consipracy

Conspiracy (#4)

Let’s see… recall that each book features one member of the ‘gang’ more prominently, so this book is centered around Akstyr – the skinny practitioner of the “mental sciences” (magic) who has a bad attitude and the least amount of buy-in to the group. 

The group is set to complete their most dangerous mission yet – kidnapping the Emperor.  What could go wrong?

Then comes…

Blood and Betrayal

Blood and Betrayal (#5)

Maldynado is probably my favourite character other than Amaranthe, and this book is his spotlight! Finally!  It was especially timely as I feel that his character was cast into shadow / doubt during the Conspiracy and it would have been torture to wait longer without having that explained.

Maldynado is sort of put in charge, which is a position he’s been actively trying to avoid most of his life. Too bad that there are plenty of obstacles in his way, including the fact that Sespian (the Emperor) doesn’t trust him.

Next is …

Forged in Blood I

Forged in Blood I (#6)

The group is still fighting Forge, the country is in upheaval, and things are of course dangerous and full of action! BUT – finally (wooo-hoo!!!!) you get a view inside Sicarius’s head!!  He’s pretty inscrutable normally so this is a treat!

And finally…

Forged in Blood II

Forged in Blood II (#7)

Wrapping up the series, you move between Amaranthe and Sicarius’s points of view.  It was mostly tying up all those loose ends, and admittedly the best part of it was figuring out just WHAT was going to happen with the two of them!

Fini!

Except that I JUST discovered there is a book #8 (The Republic) which I shall be reading as soon as I get my hands on it!

Anyway,  for all the books as above, I will give a collective 5/5 because:

  • I loved the action
  • I couldn’t put them down
  • I loved that each character got his or her own time to shine
  • I highly enjoyed the background – steampunk, aliens (which normally I hate, but it was not actual aliens just their leftover dooh-dads), and old-fashioned sword fights.  With lots of train heists.
  • I LOVED that Amaranthe was a strong female character, and also Yana who takes on more of a role.
  • I loved the character development
  • I loved the slowly revealed love story (i.e. Amaranthe and Sicarius)
  • I didn’t have to wait between books!

I would highly recommend this series as a fun fantasy/adventure – and if you want to learn more about what happens in the books and the pros and cons of each, I would just look them up on Goodreads lol.

🙂

 

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The Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark Of The Dragonfly

The Mark of the Dragonfly  by Jaleigh Johnson was a random read for me – I was browsing the “available now” section of the library’s ebook collection under “young adult + fantasy” and I liked the look of the cover.

Piper is a scrapper – eking out her living by salvaging the remnants left over from the mysterious Meteor showers (that rain both meteors and strange goods). She supplements this meager living with her skills as a Machinist – she has learned to fix mechanics and her skills with machines put food on her table.

Piper’s life changes with one meteor shower.  Among the wreckage of a caravan, Piper finds a girl, Anna.  Anna can’t remember anything about her life but she wears the intricate Mark of the Dragonfly – a special tattoo that means that she is both from the Dragonfly Territories and under the protection of it’s king.

Piper decides to help this strange girl – even if it means leaving her home and everything (and everyone) she knows.

She and Anna must catch the 401 – a massive old train that weaves its way south, to the Dragonfly Territories.  Getting on (without a ticket) is just the first hurdle – and the start of a magical, dangerous, and life-changing adventure.

Piper is a great character.  She shows just enough change and growth, and just enough flaws to be realistic.  She’s stubborn (VERY stubborn), quick to anger, but a fierce protector of her friends and family.  She may be young but she’s a pretty strong character.

Anna is a mystery – a naive but brilliant girl whose memory seems to be returning in odd snatches.  She’s bubbly and friendly and super chatty – it’s no mystery why Piper feels so protective about her.

The three main characters from the train (Gee, Trimble and Jeyne) also add flavour and depth to the story.  I love the similarities between Gee and Piper – both so prickly on the outside but fiercely loyal and protective once they’ve claimed something as their own.  I would love to read more about the whole crew – I hope that more books are forthcoming.

This is probably more of a middle-grade / tween book than a teen / young adult book, but for it’s genre I thought it was a fantastic mix of steampunk, magic, and science fiction all rolled into one.  It’s a fast read and pretty light – but still enjoyable.  It moves fast but there’s enough background that it doesn’t just skip from action scene to action scene with no plot or glue to hold it together.

I’ll give it a 4/5 – quite a pleasant book to pick up and just what I was looking for!

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Deadly Games (Emperor’s Edge #3)

Deadly Games

My perusal of the Emperor’s Edge series continues with book #3, Deadly Games.  It’s been a slow process – I can’t really account for the delay between reading the second book, Dark Currents, and this one.  After the break, it was nice to get back into the characters, and I found the book went much faster and flowed well.  Maybe it’s just an improvement in her writing style, or maybe the focus on Basilard was more interesting to me than Books.

Amaranthe Lockdon is still trying to prove herself (and her team) are on the Emperor’s side.  Constantly looking for good deeds, their self-imposed holiday is interrupted when athletes begin disappearing from the Imperial Games.  Things are never as easy or as smooth as planned, of course, and members of Amaranthe’s team are secretly plotting against each other, a potential new ally tries to turn her in, and Sicarius disappears.  There’s also the ever-present avoidance of the Enforcers, which adds even more spice to the story.

Bonus for fun fight scenes! Amaranthe seems to be constantly butting heads with vicious creatures, and this time a Kraken comes between her and her goal.  Amaranthe just kicks butt.  I love how she’s a strong character, who believes she can talk her way out of numerous situations – but she knows how to fight when she needs to.

I just love the interactions between these characters, as their relationships grow and change and strengthen.  I also love that the story is not all about the developing feelings between Amaranthe and Sicarius – there’s a plot to focus on after all!

I love the slow slow thawing of Sicarius, and the slowly revealed back stories of each team member (Basilard in this one). I think I do like Basilard better than Books – I guess I have more patience for Basilard’s internal moral dilemmas than Books and his lack of confidence.

An action-packed steampunk adventure!  I think I even enjoyed it better than book #1, The Emperor’s Edge.

5/5

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The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes #1)

The clockwork Scarab

Colleen Gleason has written a lovely late-Victorian era steampunk tale of mystery and adventure!

Mina Holmes, niece to the famous Sherlock Holmes, and Evaline Stoker, sister of Bram Stoker and descendant of a long line of vampire hunters, are both eager to live up to their respective family legacies.  Mina has inherited her uncle’s keen powers of observation and deduction, while Evaline has the supernatural strength, speed, and rapid healing ability bestowed by her Vampire-Hunting ancestry. When two society girls go missing, Evaline and Mina are called in to help investigate by Irene Adler, representing the crown.

Though Mina and Evaline don’t exactly hit it off, they must find a way to work together to solve both murder and mystery, starting with a strange clockwork scarab as the first clue.  The stakes are high and they are not the only ones following the trail.  The ladies must also deal with the strange and “foreign” Dylan Eckster, the intelligent and logical Inspector Grayling, and the mysterious and mischievous Pix. Can they solve the mystery and find the nefarious person behind it all – before it is too late?

I highly enjoyed this tale of 1889 London – a steam-powered place where electricity is outlawed and “sky-hooks” secure the towering buildings.

Mina is intelligent, logical, and secretly lacks confidence.  Since the departure of her mother, Mina has been largely unsupervised by her parents, which means few social functions and a lack of experience with both young men and parties. She’s tall but clumsy, and although she puts on a brave face, she hides behind her wit and intelligence.

Evaline took me longer to like.  Fierce and strong, she too is plagued by dwindling confidence and an inability to see blood without freezing up. She also puts up a brave front – it’s no wonder she and Mina don’t hit it off.  Beautiful and certainly no stranger to society, Evaline is more interested in dodging potential suitors and hunting the Undead during the night than in enjoying the company of the upper-crust.

Irene is working for the British Museum and apparently the Princess of Wales, and although she pushes the young heroines into action, she herself remains mostly in the background.  I, for one, have a few suspicions about her.

Then the young men!  First there is Dylan, who clearly comes from the future, however improbable that sounds. He’s a little ignorant of the expectations for gentlemen in London 1889, and mostly just wants to go home.  That won’t stop him from getting involved in solving the mystery or causing Mina to blush a lot.

Inspector Grayling is tall, Scottish, and rides around town on a brilliantly fast steam-powered contraption.  Investigating the deaths of several young women on behalf of Scotland Yard, Grayling is keenly intelligent and seems an excellent match for Mina’s mind. Grayling and his partner are not too pleased with Mina and Evaline barging in on the investigations.

Pix keeps running into Evaline – in all sorts of unlikely places. He seems to be able to fit in to all sorts of unexpected roles, much like a chameleon. With a cockney accent and a lot of swagger, he seems forward, frustrating, and unexpectedly chivalrous.

Solidly young-adult, this is a charming steampunk tale.  Better yet, it’s the first of a series!  The second book, The Spiritglass Charade, appears to be coming out … sometime this year?

4 / 5

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The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3)

The girl with the iron touch

I finally got around to book three of The Steampunk Chronicles, The Girl with the Iron Touch. (You can find my thoughts on book one here and book two here). I feel like the Goodreads Summary, which I read before the book, doesn’t really do it justice AT ALL.  Or at least focuses on weird things which aren’t as big a deal in the book.

Finley, Griffin, Emily, Sam, and Jasper are all back in England.  When Emily is kidnapped by automatons, it seems that their old foe, The Machinist, is somehow behind things once again.

Emily has been summoned to transplant The Machinist’s consciousness into one of his automatons.

Griffin, in the meantime, appears to be suffering but won’t tell why.  What is tormenting him? Or who?

Finley is good at getting mad, and must confront her feelings for Griffin … and for Jack Dandy.

Sam is determined to get his Emily back, and finish an unfinished conversation between them.

Jasper, distant and withdrawn, is still mourning the events in New York.

My thoughts:

  • Better.  Better than the second book (The Girl with the Clockwork Collar) at least.  Maybe I just like Emily better than I like Finley.
  • I still can’t put my finger on what bothers me about these books. Maybe it is that it takes place in a historical setting but doesn’t have a historical FEEL to it.
  • I like Sam a LOT better
  • I feel like the description on the back hypes stuff up too much (i.e. Love triangle) but the story focuses on other things, including a new character.
  • FINALLY Griffin and Finley get to actually confronting their feelings.
  • Happily, there are no new love triangles and the old ones are mostly resolved! Woot!
  • An amusing side note: apparently my mental voice cannot do an Irish accent that is NOT the voice of an old man haha.  It made reading Emily really funny.  I’m going to have to watch clips of a young Irish girl talking to get the old man voice out of my head!!!

3.5/5

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