Tag Archives: Steampunk

Review of “The Guns Above”

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Book Reviews – The Guns Above” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Robyn Bennis (http://www.robynbennis.com). This is Ms. Bennis’ first novel and the first in her “Signal Airship” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in another universe where steam is the king of technology. The primary character is Lieutenant Josette Dupre, the first woman to Captain an airship.

Her command is challenged by a doubting crew as well as an untested airship. Her life is further complicated by the foppish aristocrat, Lord Bernat, who has been assigned as an “observer” to her vessel. Clearly he is there to spy on her for his uncle, the general.

While on their shakedown cruise, still evaluating the ship, they are drawn into battle. Led by Dupre, the crew is able to survive, just barely. Dupre finds many ways to make her little airship have a large impact in the battles being fought.

Dupre steps into her shoes as Captain, leading her crew with creative ideas and courage. Her successes reach the press which is why the King had, against tradition, appointed her an Airship Captain. Now, like it or not, she is in a leadership role that some hope will see the military integrated with women in all capacities.

I really enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 352 page Steam Punk Thriller. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. I look forward to further books in this series. The cover art is well chosen. I give this novel a 4.6 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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Review of “Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine”

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Book Reviews – “Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Anthony Francis (http://jeremiahwillstone.com/). This is Mr. Francis’ fifth novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is set partially in a parallel universe where Steam Punk is the technology and partially in our own world, The primary character is the young woman, Commander Jeremiah Willstone.

Willstone is an officer in the Victoriana Defense League (VDL). She is sent on a mission to find and stop her uncle who has stolen highly secret technology. She soon finds herself and the airship she is on plunging through time and dimensions. She finds herself in our very different contemporary world.

She and the VDL have spent years battling invasion attempts by extraterrestrials in their universe. Her view of things changes on this mission as she learns more about her uncle as well as both her allies and enemies.

I enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 298 page Science Fiction Steam Punk novel. I liked the world created for Willstone, as well as the cross over to our own. I thought that the plot was well laid out and very engaging. While the story arrives at a conclusion, there is plenty of loose ends that beg for sequels. I liked the cover art showing Jeremiah Willstone with an airship above her. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Steam and Sensibility”

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Book Reviews – “Steam and Sensibility” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Kirsten Weiss (http://www.kirstenweiss.com). Ms. Weiss has published 20 novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the mid 1800’s just as gold was discovered in California. The primary character of the story is young Miss Sensibiliy Grey.

After the death of her inventor father, Gray travels to the primitive port of San Francisco to be with her uncle. Little known to her, she has secrets of her fathers inventions that others are willing to kill to obtain. She must both avoid those obviously out to take her and her secrets, as well as sort out who amongst her newly made friends she can really trust. She also finds that she learned far more from her father than her previous ‘tinkering’ led her to believe.

This was an enjoyable, quick 3.5 hour read of this 234 page Steam Punk tale. This isn’t the best Steam Punk novel I have read, but it wasn’t bad. It really just touches the surface of what could draw into a true Alternate History based upon the ‘discoveries’ Ms Gray has found. As expected, there is a touch of romance in the story. The cover art is a good selection. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Future That Never Was”

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Book Reviews – “Future That Never Was” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Kin S. Law (https://voxvorago.wordpress.com). Mr. Law has published two novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the late 19th century, but in an entirely different time line. The primary character is Albion Clemens, currently the captain of a steampunk pirate sailing ship. This is one of many that sail through the skies instead of on the oceans of the world.

Clemens is trying to find his adoptive father Samuel Clemens. He gets involved with a beautiful British Scotland Yard agent on a secret mission from the Queen. Unknown forces are stealing prominent landmarks from across Europe. Samuel Clemens is somehow involved.

Albion Clemens, along with his crew, the Scotland Yard agent and an reporter trail across the skies of Europe trying to track down who is stealing the buildings. They find themselves in one tight spot after another as they close in.

I spent 9 hours with this Steam Punk Science Fiction Alternate History novel of 312 pages. I really liked the concept of the flying ships and the overall plot. The writing was difficult to read though and not just from the 19th century language. There were also gaps in the plot where as one chapter ended the crew were being pursued and the next chapter started with them having (somehow) escaped their pursuers. I liked the idea of the novel, but was not impressed with the execution. I was glad when I finally finished this novel. The cover art is appropriate for the story. I give this novel a 2.8 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “A Tale of Two Airships”

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“A Tale of Two Airships” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Katherine McIntyre (https://katherine-mcintyre.com). Ms. McIntyre has published a dozen novels. This is the second in her “Take to the Skies” series.

I purchased this novel after receiving the first in the series as an ARC for review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is set in the near future on Earth, but that Earth is a world powered by steam. The primary character is Captain Beatrice Weston of the airship Desire.

More than two years have passed since the escapades described in the first bool “An Airship Named Desire”. The Desire and her crew are just making ends meet. Longtime crew member Isabella is contacted by her estranged gypsy clan, recruiting the Desire for a job. But while Weston and a small group of her crew meet with the gypsies, the Desire is taken along with the rest of the crew.

Weston must find a way to get her ship back and rescue the crew. Much more happened but more detail would give up spoilers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 277 page Steampunk Fantasy. There is near non-stop action as Weston and her band find themselves in one tight situation after another. There is not a happy ending for all as the Desire looses some of its crew. I thought that this was a fun read. There has still been no explanation as to what happed. Yet this is an Earth evolved from ours as Weston mentions radar once, the automatic rifles used are AK 551’s which evolved from the AK-47 and aether, the substance that powers the steam engines, only begun to be harvested a few years earlier. The cover art certainly gives the feel for the story. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “An Airship Named Desire”

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Book Review – “An Airship Named Desire” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Katherine McIntyre (https://katherine-mcintyre.com). Ms. McIntyre has published a dozen novels, this being the first in her “Take to the Skies” steampunk series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the near future of an Alternate History Earth. Machines are driven by steam and airships fly the skies, not airplanes. The primary character is young Beatrice, the First Mate of the Airship Desire.

The Desire and her crew mostly deal in smuggling and other similar jobs. Bea and fellow crew mate, Jensen, sneak aboard a British merchant vessel to steal a specific piece of cargo. That soon has the British chasing after the Desire. The British want to get back their stolen merchandise, a small locked box. Before long, a traitor among the Desire’s crew makes off with the box. Bea and the crew of the Desire give chase, but find both the British and the Morlock pirates in their way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 294 page Steampunk Alternate History. The story is set in our world, but it has changed in several ways. California has slid into the Pacific, the British are in control of most of Europe, and most importantly steam power rules. The date is a little in our future, around 2040. There is a mix of technologies – super computers are mentioned and the balloon holding up the Desire is protected by a Plasma Shield. On the other hand, the Desire crew and their enemies carry various kids of swords and hand guns.

The story is never dull, with Bea and her crew getting into one perilous scrape after another. The cover art is a good idea of what the story will bring. The only thing I can say is missing is a little better explanation of why the story is set in a steam powered world. I give this novel a 4.7 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Tour: Wayfarer Returns”

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Book Review – “Toru: Wayfarer Returns” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Stephanie R. Sorensen. This is Ms. Sorensen’s first publication.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1852 Japan. The primary character is the young man Toru.

At first the story is that Toru was shipwrecked and saved by an American ship. Taken to America, he spends two years learning much about the technology, society and military. He returns to Japan with a wealth of information and books.

You soon find that his ‘shipwreck’ was planned as was his stay in America to learn about the country. Japan is facing a forced opening of its ports from America led by Admiral Perry. Toru is able to convince some of his countrymen that Japan is at risk from America. They begin to build airships, rifles, telegraphs, etc. – all technology that Toru has brought back from America – to defend Japan.

The Shogun is not in favor of this and Toru and his friends face forceful opposition. After several months of preparation, Admiral Perry and his fleet arrive. A confrontation ensues to keep Japan independent.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent with this 274 page Alternate History novel. Because of the main character’s experiences in America and the information he returns with, Japan is able to build a SteamPunk inspired force to meet Perry. I liked the cover art as it merges the feudal Japan with the SteamPunk inventions of the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review of “The Dragons of Dorcastle”

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“The Dragons of Dorcastle” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Jack Campbell (http://www.jack-campbell.com). Mr. Campbell has written nearly 20 Science Fiction novels. This is the first of his “Pillars of Reality” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘G’. This Young Adult Fantasy/Steampunk novel is set in another world. The two main characters are 17 year old Mage Alain and 18 year old Master Mechanic Mari.

They come from different guilds with very different and opposing outlooks. Each guild considers the other a fake and sham. Both consider the other human inhabitants, the ‘commons’ of their world far beneath them. The Mages use spells and magic to manipulate the world, while the Mechanics employ simple machines. The respective guilds hold the knowledge they posses closely so that none but their members are privy to the skills. Both guilds contract out the services of their members to which ever common is willing to pay.

Mari and Alain are thrust together after the caravan they are riding in is ambushed. Alain had been hired to protect the caravan, but the bandits attacked in overwhelming force. Alain and Mari escape, then rely on one another’s skills to survive. They soon establish a friendship. Once they make their way to town, their respective guilds criticize them for speaking with the other. Both have a history of bucking the system, so this incident leaves Mari and Alain suspected by the elders of their guilds.

Both though find that there is something beneath the surface, something that may tear the guilds as well as the rest of the civilized world apart. Though they are instructed to stay away from one another, they seek each other’s help. Together they investigate and find that there is another force at work beyond their guilds. A force that is willing to kill a Mage or a Mechanic if they get in the way. Before long Mari and Alain find that their friendship has grown to more romantic feelings, something that they cannot let any in the guilds discover.

I have liked Jack Campbell for some time, having read most of his “Lost Fleet” series. I thought that this was a good start on a new series. I liked both of the characters that he created and am looking forward to the next novel in the series. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Curtsies & Conspirators”

“Curtsies & Conspirators” was published in 2013 and was written by Gail Carriger (http://www.gailcarriger.com). Ms. Carrier has published nine books, this being the second of “The Finishing School” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy novel as ‘G’. The novel is written in the first person and is set in 1851 era England. Though this England is rich with steam powered devices and primitive robots. Rather benign vampires are a significant part of society, and werewolves have made up the backbone of England’s military for some years. The primary character is 14 year old Saphronia Temminnick. She is the youngest child of her family and has a reputation for trouble.

She is sent off to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality by her parents in the hopes that her rough edges will be removed and she can find a proper husband. Her parents have no idea of Saphronia’s escapades covered in “Etiquette & Espionage” while she was trying to recover a secret device.

Now having completed 6 months at the Academy, Saphronia’s progress is reviewed. To her amazement, she is excelling in every subject. This creates a rift between her and most of the other girls. Using her developing skills as a Intelligencer, Saphronia uncovers a plot around the test of a new dirigible. Before long she, and her close friends, are deeply involved with vampires and the Picklemen.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent with this story. The plot was a good continuation of Sophronia’s adventures. The characters in the story are typical of those found in Young Adult novels. The book reminds me of the Harry Potter books in some respects. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

Book Review of “Etiquette & Espionage”

“Etiquette & Espionage” was published in 2013 and was written by Gail Carriger (http://www.gailcarriger.com). Ms. Carrier has published nine books, this being the first of “The Finishing School” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy novel as ‘G’. The novel is written in the first person and is set in 1851 era England. Though this England is rich with steam powered devices and primitive robots. Rather benign vampires are a significant part of society, and werewolves have made up the backbone of England’s military for some years. The primary character is 14 year old Saphronia Temminnick. She is the youngest child of her family and has a reputation for trouble.

She is sent off to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality by her parents in the hopes that her rough edges will be removed and she can find a proper husband. Little do they know that the Academy is far from the normal Finishing School. Certainly the normally expected subjects are taught, but in addition, the young ladies of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy are being taught the skills needed to be an Intelligencer.

Saphoronia does not want to be sent the the school, but once there she fits in well and excels in all of the classes. On the way to the school, Saphoronia is involved in a skirmish with Skywaymen searching for a secret device. Once at the Academy, which turns out to be suspended beneath three large dirigibles, Sophoronia’s talent for mischief is unleashed. Before long she has engaged three of her fellow students in a search for the mysterious device.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent with this story. The plot was not a surprise, but I liked the Steampunk creations that Ms. Carriger wove into the story. The characters in the story are typical of those found in Young Adult novels. The book reminds me of the Harry Potter books in some respects. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).