Genre: Steampunk
Lightning Review

Beauty and Beastly by Melanie Karsak

Beauty and Beastly

Beauty and Beastly is a lyrical, lovely re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a slight story and you don’t want to be asking too many practical questions about it, but it conveys fairy tale love well. This is part of the Steampunk Fairy Tales series and although there are references to other books, I had no problem jumping in with this one. In a fantasy version of 1814 England, Isabelle and her father make … Continue reading Beauty and Beastly by Melanie Karsak

Book Review

Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles by Jeannie Lin

Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles

I’ve been in a reading rut lately. It’s the worst feeling in the world, and my solution has been to try novellas instead. They’re less intimidating than full-length books: it’s an hour of my time instead of four, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted time if I hate the book, I don’t experience guilt if I DNF, etc. The list goes on and on. When Jeannie Lin released an anthology set in her 19th century … Continue reading Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles by Jeannie Lin

Book Review

Steampunk Darcy by Monica Fairview

Steampunk Darcy

Steampunk Darcy is a lot of fun and also kind of a mess. It never fully resolves the conflict between the two main characters. It has a weird ethical problem in terms of an automaton. It ends on a cliffhanger with no planned sequel. But it also has a poignant story about familial loss and responsibility, great sexual tension, clever use of Pride and Prejudice motifs, plausible conflicts, cool world building, and lots and lots … Continue reading Steampunk Darcy by Monica Fairview

Book Review

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is a homage to both Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraftian fantasy. The book is told as a memoir written by Captain John Wyndham, who finds lodging with a sorceress and named Ms. Shaharazad Hass. The Mysterious Letter is their first case together. The reader is dropped into the world of Captain John Wyndham. Everything takes place in a multi-dimensional, multi-timeline, multiverse world, with a roughly steampunk Victorian aesthetic. Ms. Haas … Continue reading The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

Lightning Review

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

The Black God’s Drums

The Black God’s Drums is an awesome novella set in a steampunk, alternate history New Orleans. The narrator of the book, Creeper, is a homeless thirteen year old girl who dreams of becoming an airship pilot someday. She is also visited on a regular basis by Oya, the Yoruba goddess of wind and storms. Creeper befriends the captain of a visiting airship, hoping to earn the captain’s trust and secure a place onboard. Oya and Captain … Continue reading The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

Lightning Review

By Fire Above by Robyn Bennis

By Fire Above

By Fire Above is the sequel to The Guns Above, a novel that rekindled my romance with steampunk. The steampunk element is mostly limited to the existence of airships. Josette is the first female airship captain in the war between Garnia and Vinzhalia. The aristocratic Lord Bernat was assigned to her ship as a spy, and is now Josette’s staunchest and crankiest supporter. I recommend reading The Guns Above prior to By Fire Above. In … Continue reading By Fire Above by Robyn Bennis

Book Review

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

Widdershins

Widdershins should be my absolute catnip. It features a m/m romance in a fantasy Victorian setting between a private detective and a geeky, shy philologist. One of the supporting characters is a woman who struggles to be respected as an Egyptologist in a male-dominated field. Most of the action takes place in a giant museum, and I do love a good museum! There’s a mummy, and I do love a good mummy! Alas, the plot … Continue reading Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

Book Review

The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis

The Guns Above

There was a dark moment in my life recently when I thought maybe I was going to break up with steampunk. We had a good run, steampunk and I, but I read a string of steampunk books that were pretty much identical and thought, “Eh, maybe we should start seeing different people.” I’m pleased to say that The Guns Above has rekindled our relationship by being funny, gritty, realistic, and full of good character development … Continue reading The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis

Book Review

Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

Of Dreams and Rust

Of Dreams and Rust is a sequel to Sarah Fine’s Of Metal and Wishes . The two books basically function as one single book, and this review contains spoilers for Of Metal and Wishes. Alert – this is a YA story with first person, present-tense narration and a love triangle. Fortunately, the setting, characters, and overall plot made it feel fresh. Of Metal and Wishes is inspired by The Phantom of the Opera, one of … Continue reading Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

Book Review

The Transatlantic Conspiracy by G.D. Falksen

The Transatlantic Conspiracy

The Transatlantic Conspiracy is no Agatha Christie, but it’s an exciting, fun YA steampunk mystery set on an underground train, so I’ll take it. Despite the gorgeous cover, there are no cephalopods of any kind in the book. Otherwise, it’s fine. The plot is as follows: in an alternate version of 1908, seventeen-year-old Rosalind is ordered by her father to take the first ride on his new train, the Transatlantic Express. Her father designed this … Continue reading The Transatlantic Conspiracy by G.D. Falksen

Book Review

Double-Souls by Devin Harnois

Double-Souls

TW: discussion of rape within the plot and within the book. Double-Souls is an odd little book that I liked very much despite some factors that bothered me. It’s a fantasy romance with paranormal and steampunk elements about a person who is “double souled.”  One soul falls in love with a woman and one with a man. This means that the book has elements of a m/f romance, elements of an m/m romance, and elements … Continue reading Double-Souls by Devin Harnois

Book Review

Breath of Earth by Beth Cato

Breath of Earth

Sometimes a book has all my catnip but it doesn’t gel into a cohesive, engaging story. Breath of Earth is one of those books. The language is descriptive, the setting intriguing, and the characters are diverse. Even the cover art is lovely. But I never got a feel for what was happening or why I should care. Here’s the publisher’s description of the plot, which I am including because my description of the plot is, … Continue reading Breath of Earth by Beth Cato

Book Review

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library

Now that was fun! The Invisible Library is not a book with a large amount of heavy emotion or thought or character development, but it’s a solidly crafted adventure story with appealing characters, in which book lovers run amok in an alternate universe where they have to deal with skin-stealing villains, cranky zeppelin pilots, and swarms of silverfish (eww). The Library is a massive library that exists in its own time and space and which … Continue reading The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

RITA Reader Challenge Review

Soulbound by Kristen Callihan

Soulbound

London 1885 : A young woman stands apart watching her bleeding body on the ground and the thugs who cut her throat being beaten away by two lovely, properly dressed young women who appeared armed with sword and baton. Eliza had just docked in London hours ago from Boston, fleeing the ugly things she had done there to survive after her family had died, and with the fervent hope of finding her distant relatives in … Continue reading Soulbound by Kristen Callihan

Book Review

The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr

The Devious Dr. Jekyll

SW: This review is from Lara, who so loved The Diabolical Miss Hyde, she couldn’t wait to read the sequel. Because she discovered the series here (yay!) she asked to guest review The Devious Dr. Jekyll for us. Welcome, Lara! After reading Elyse’s review of the first book in Viola Carr’s Electric Empire series, I broke my no-impulse-buying rule and bought The Diabolical Miss Hyde. I loved it. LOVED IT! I soon began a countdown to the … Continue reading The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr

Book Review

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sidney Padua

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

Steampunk fans, nerds, comic book fans, and history fans rejoice, for all these things come gloriously together in The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. Author Sidney Padua combines a non-fiction comic, a fiction comic, and non-fiction prose for your delight and edification. Here’s the deal: The first section of the book tells the real-life story of Victorian Mad Scientists Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace (commonly referred to as history’s first computer designer and computer … Continue reading The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sidney Padua

RITA Reader Challenge Review

Evernight by Kristen Callihan

Evernight

Evernight is book 5 of the Darkest London historical paranormal romantic suspense series (Yes, all of those things), so let’s answer the obvious first question first. Can you read it without having read the previous books? Yes. The events from Shadowdance (swoon) that shape the relationship in this book have a brief, but no less horrifying recap at the start of the book. The world, while very well built, is fairly easy to follow. You … Continue reading Evernight by Kristen Callihan

RITA Reader Challenge Review

Evernight by Kristen Callihan

Evernight

I liked this book, but I wanted to adore it. Victorian setting? Love it. Vampires? I’m in. Smart heroine rebelling against the gender restrictions of her time? SIGN ME UP. Evernight has all of these elements, in addition to a sexy hero, a so-crazy-but-it-works method of forcing the two leads together, and lots of cool steampunk gadgetry. However, it also suffers from an overabundance of plot and some unfortunate writing issues that I just could … Continue reading Evernight by Kristen Callihan

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