Books shelved under “Steampunk”

26 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Firebrand

    Firebrand

    by A.J. Hartley

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Mike Heath is back at it again with that great cover art. Ugh. That angled title. Yes.

    Yes yes yes yes yes.

    Oh, and A.J. Hartley wrote a book that goes between these covers. It’s pretty good too.

    What, you want more? OK, fine.

    Firebrand is one of those sequels that comes out swinging, delivering more of what you loved about the first book without any of that messy “middle book” syndrome that so often…

  2. Book cover for Infernal Devices

    Infernal Devices

    by K.W. Jeter

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Infernal Devices is the story of George, an unremarkable man with no major talents who has inherited his father’s watchmaker shop. Various zany characters show up and drag him into an intricate conspiracy reminiscent of H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft, and mostly, in my mind, Jules Verne. K.W. Jeter propels George through increasingly dangerous, nonsensical, over-the-top adventures powered by steampunk, bravado, and sheer imagination. This is an adventure in the classical sense, and as a work…

  3. Book cover for The Ghost Rebellion

    The Ghost Rebellion

    by Pip Ballantine

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My library did not have a copy of this, because it has been independently published, so I had to go and buy it like the fan I am. The Ghost Rebellion picks up shortly after The Diamond Conspiracy. Books and Braun are back, along with longtime supporting characters like Bruce Campbell, and some new faces in the principal setting of India. The Ministry managed to foil a plot against the British Empire while technically…

  4. Book cover for The Story of Cirrus Flux

    The Story of Cirrus Flux

    by Matthew Skelton

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I had to dive into the children’s section of my library to get this one. I haven’t been in there for ages. There were short people around! And all the shelves are much shorter! Still, it was worth it. The Story of Cirrus Flux is an interesting attempt to set a children’s adventure novel in Georgian Britain. Matthew Skelton’s breadth of imagination makes for some entertaining characters and rambunctious action scenes. Nevertheless, the plotting is…

  5. Book cover for The Light Ages

    The Light Ages

    by Ian R. MacLeod

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    It’s a shame. I really enjoyed Journeys, but my first attempt at novel-length Ian R. MacLeod falls short.

    The Light Ages takes place in an alternative England where the ability to manipulate aether has jumpstarted steam engine technology somewhat. Other technologies, like electricity, have fallen by the wayside as too unreliable. The result is a grittier, dirtier, more magical and more chaotic industrialized England.

    My problems stem from the writing style. MacLeod doesn’t value…

  6. Book cover for Karen Memory

    Karen Memory

    by Elizabeth Bear

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I would be lying if I said I read this book for reasons other than a) it's by Elizabeth Bear and b) it's received some good attention, particularly in a few of my Goodreads groups. I know this because I struggle to find something compelling to talk about in this review. There's not really one thing that hooks me about this book. It's not a time period I'm interested in. The whole "wild West" motif…

  7. Book cover for Leviathan

    Leviathan

    by Scott Westerfeld

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    World War I is not the sexier World War. The technology isn’t advanced; it didn’t end with a noisy double atomic bang; and it lacks the grandiose operatic tragedy of the Holocaust to offer a thematic background. Indeed, the political quagmire of nationalism and militarism that precipitated and fuelled the Great War might be interesting to historians, but to bored schoolkids, it just prompted us to wonder what we had done so wrong to deserve…

  8. Book cover for The Bookman

    The Bookman

    by Lavie Tidhar

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m hesitant about proclaiming love for historical fiction. To me it’s just a genre that can be so hard to get right. Take too many liberties, and it’s not really historical any more, is it? But don’t take enough liberties, try to follow the actual course of history (as best we know it) too slavishly, and then it’s not really fiction…. The best historical fiction is the kind that follows the main narrative but tries…

  9. Book cover for The Diamond Conspiracy

    The Diamond Conspiracy

    by Pip Ballantine

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I discovered this on my library’s new paperbacks shelf last week and literally squealed aloud. I have a warped perspective of this series’ publication structure because I’ve read the first three books in short succession to get caught up, so I had forgotten The Diamond Conspiracy was coming out so “soon” after I read Dawn’s Early Light.

    A lot was riding on this book. With the disavowal of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences at…

  10. Book cover for Dawn's Early Light

    Dawn's Early Light

    by Pip Ballantine

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Every ongoing but somewhat formulaic series has its tipping point, that moment where the overall story arc and mythos of the series’ world begins to subsume the individual plots of each book. For The Dresden Files it was Summer Knight, the fourth book, which adds faeries to the Dresdenverse. For the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, that tipping point is here, with Dawn’s Early Light.

    On the surface, there is little to make

  11. Book cover for The Janus Affair

    The Janus Affair

    by Pip Ballantine

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Agents Books and Braun are back. Aftering solving their case in Phoenix Rising in their “off hours”, the unlikely duo get involved in a new rash of abductions of suffragists from around London. These abductions involve strange, lightning-like teleportations. Braun knows one of the leaders of the suffragist movement—in fact, she used to date the leader’s son, back in New Zealand. Meanwhile, Books continues to struggle with keeping his military past and skills from Braun.…

  12. Book cover for Phoenix Rising

    Phoenix Rising

    by Pip Ballantine

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Why did no one tell me this book existed until now????!!!!111

    Seriously, it took a careful browsing of the library’s New Paperbacks section to discover the second and third books in this series. A quick hop to the nearby computer (which I think is running some kind of locked-down Ubuntu if the font anti-aliasing is anything to go by) to check the library’s catalogue, and sure enough, Phoenix Rising was in the stacks of that…

  13. Book cover for The Glass Sealing

    The Glass Sealing

    by Andrew Leon Hudson

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for a review. Loves me the free books!

    So, I don’t necessarily do steampunk. I understand the appeal (I think) of speculating about what would have happened had the Victorians taken the Industrial Revolution to the next level. But I think that steampunk often runs aground, for me, as resembling too much both science fiction and fantasy. I like my science fiction scientific,…

  14. Book cover for Bronze Gods

    Bronze Gods

    by A.A. Aguirre

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I hadn’t heard anything about this book before I snagged it from my library’s new books shelf, which surprises me. I would have thought that one of the book blogs I read would have featured it at some point. Bronze Gods sounds like, and indeed is, a very original and refreshing voice in fantasy. Its authors (Ann and Andres Aguirre, who together form a writing name that is sure to be as close to the…

  15. Book cover for Roil

    Roil

    by Trent Jamieson

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Back in Grade 7, we studied short stories and storytelling. We covered Freitag’s Pyramid: introduction, inciting force, rising action, crisis/climax, denouement, and resolution. We studied The Most Dangerous Game, and we listed the different types of conflict: man vs man, man vs himself, man vs nature, etc. It’s a simplistic way to analyze literature, but it does provide a good foundation to build upon in later years, once you have the ability to make…

  16. Book cover for Pure

    Pure

    by Julianna Baggott

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So what if someone set us up the bomb, or several bombs, and instead of nuclear winter and all the survivors dying of cancer, they got fused to each other and bits of glass and animals and broken doll heads? Pure is a horror story about atomic detonations gone wrong. Yeah—if that isn’t a terrifying thought, I don’t know what is. Julianna Baggott postulates a post-apocalyptic world that is the fevered vision of a…

  17. Book cover for City of Dreams & Nightmare

    City of Dreams & Nightmare

    by Ian Whates

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Culture is a conversation. So intertextuality is an important part of literature, because literature is one of the vehicles of that conversation. What we think of books and stories is influenced by what we’ve previously read. Similarly, authors are influenced by what they read, and the books that sell give rise to trends in the types of fiction (and even non-fiction) that make it to the shelves. Sometimes I find myself reading a book and…

  18. Book cover for The Difference Engine

    The Difference Engine

    by William Gibson

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Did you read Neuromancer and say, "This was good, but it could have used more steampunk?" That's kind of how one might describe The Difference Engine: Neuromancer meets steampunk. It's not a comprehensive, completely accurate description, but if that's sufficient for you, you can stop reading now and go read the book.

    Still here? Cool.

    William Gibson is on my "I must read everything by him!" shelf, and his influence on literature, particularly science…

  19. Book cover for Pinion

    Pinion

    by Jay Lake

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I seldom read an entire trilogy consecutively. Although it's nice to read the books relatively close together, I usually intersperse a series with other books, just to give me time to absorb the latest instalment. I didn't do that with the Clockwork Earth trilogy, and that has thrown a certain emphasis on the series I might otherwise have missed. It has made more stark the separation between Mainspring and the final two books; Pinion as

  20. Book cover for Escapement

    Escapement

    by Jay Lake

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It's very rare that I wish I had started a series with the second book instead of the first, but that's what I wish about Jay Lake's Clockworth Earth trilogy. I had some serious reservations about Mainspring. Its sequel, Escapement, might be an interesting example of how to avoid the dreaded "middle book syndrome" that afflicts so many trilogies. Categorically superior, Escapement is the maturation of the fantastic premise Lake began in Mainspring

  21. Book cover for Mainspring

    Mainspring

    by Jay Lake

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Why hello, alternate universe with airships; we meet again.

    This was not the way I intended to start reading Jay Lake. I heard about him when Green came out and added that to my to-read list, but when I was at a used book store, Mainspring and Escapement were there, so I bought them. I always regret when my first experience with a new author I'm anticipating reading is a sour one. Sadly, Mainspring

  22. Book cover for The Women of Nell Gwynne's

    The Women of Nell Gwynne's

    by Kage Baker

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I love Regency and Victorian fiction. In those halcyon days of a declining empire, men and women of rank fused scientific exploration with military daring. The blank spaces on the map were shrinking every day, and as such, this age of exploration and adventure was also an age of introspection. Strict notions of propriety and visible class barriers contributed to meditations on what makes one human, on the roles of birth and upbringing in the…

  23. Book cover for Perdido Street Station

    Perdido Street Station

    by China Miéville

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Perdido Street Station is a supersaturated story. The city of New Crobuzon teems with life as weird as China Miéville can imagine it—and he has a very flexible imagination. This is one of those touched cities so often the focus of a fantasy or science fiction novel: the city where anything can—and does—happen, sometimes with shocking regularity. In New Crobuzon, there's the law enforced by the militia, and then there's the law observed by…

  24. Book cover for Boneshaker

    Boneshaker

    by Cherie Priest

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Cherie Priest comes highly recommended to me from many people whom I respect; Boneshaker has been lauded most of all of her books. I couldn't fathom Fathom, and that made me apprehensive about my next Priest experience. Boneshaker had two difficult tasks: it had to live up to the expectations heaped upon it by so many others, and it had to be better than Fathom. In both respects, it succeeded, and I have…

  25. Book cover for The Alchemy of Stone

    The Alchemy of Stone

    by Ekaterina Sedia

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There are so many ways to describe Ekaterina Sedia's The Alchemy of Stone. It's a sombre symphony of motifs, ranging from women's independence and sexuality to the ramifications of rapid industrialization. And deceptively so—despite the intriguing back cover copy and the seductive tagline, "a novel of automated anarchy & clockwork lust," I wasn't quite convinced of The Alchemy of Stone's brilliance until the denouement, when everything suddenly came together in a wonderful, cathartic…

  26. Book cover for The Engine's Child

    The Engine's Child

    by Holly Phillips

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    In The Engine's Child, Holly Phillips has created a rich and interesting world where everyone quite literally lives on an island in a vast ocean. The intrigue among the three main factions--the conservatives who insist on keeping with traditional ways, those who want to find a way back to the land of their ancestors using magic portals, and those who want to master the ocean and find new land--is what fuels most of the…