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Add a little Steampunk to Your Summer!

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I’m still working on my thesis, but while I’m engaged, let me leave you with some book recommendations.

As some of you might know, I’m an avid reader, but I do tend to fall into one category of books, trying to read everything written by one author that caught my fancy.

Although most of my reading recently concerned my thesis (bless you Henry Jenkins!) or was fanfiction (again, bless you fanfic authors), I have also branched out to Steampunk books.

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For those who don’t know,  Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery.

It’s often  inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century, in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era, American “Wild West”, or in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use.

It’s often described as retro-futuristic and features anachronistic technologies, with elements of fantasy, horror or supernatural.

It sounds more complicated than it is, I just describe it as a vision of the future in the past.

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I think what draws me most about steampunk books is that they often have a headstrong heroin as the protagonist, one that has fallen upon hard times, struggles with the social conventions, but is resilient and brave.

I guarantee that these books will prove to be the perfect light summer reading!

They are action-packed and offer a delightful way to spend a beautiful summer day.

My choices may be on the girly side of the steampunk spectrum, but I promise you’ll have a delightful time!

Here are just some of my recommendations, so pop on those goggles, tighten your leather corset, get on board the next ornithopter, and set of on an adventure!

The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger

One of the first steampunk books came my way by accident, or marketing, whichever way you choose to look at it.

I kept passing a poster adverting Soulless on my way to work, and I found the cover intriguing enough to check it out (oh, the power of billboards…).

The series can be described as a  steampunk paranormal romance,  set in an alternate history version of Victorian England where werewolves and vampires are accepted as functioning members of society.

The protagonist Alexia Tarabotti is a woman with several critical problems: she is still searching for a husband, her late father complicates her social standing in a rigid class system, and she feels boxed into the conventions she must abide by.

There’s one more problem namely she has no soul.

The fact that she is soulless leaves her unaffected by the powers of supernatural beings which only further complicates her life.

The plot is juicy, even though I felt that with each book the author loses…errr… a bit of steam.

Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful read, packed with adventure and delicious machinery!

Magnificent Devices series by Shelley Adina

This is another series of books that I found utterly charming.

This steampunk adventure series follows the Lady Claire Trevelyan, born a Blood (aristocrat), but she has the heart, soul, and mind of a Wit (scientist).

The novels are set in an alternate Victorian age where the combustion engine has been a flop and steam-powered devices are capable of sending the adventurous to another city or another continent.

After a number of unfortunate events Claire finds herself the charge of a group of street urchins, and having to battle for survival, a warm meal, but most importantly her freedom.

There are four books published to date, and the whole series will include seven.

Don’t judge the books by their covers, there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and the characters lure you in to the point where you find

yourself rooting for them, even a hen called Rosie 😉

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

If grittier is where you’d like to head, this book is definitely the way to go.
It’s the first novel in Priest’s Clockwork Century setting, although I haven’t gotten around to reading the others.

Here’s the synopsis:

Early in the American Civil War, rumors of gold in the Klondike have brought would-be prospectors to North America’s Pacific Northwest. Anxious Russian investors commission American inventor Leviticus Blue to create a machine which can mine through the ice of Russian-owned Alaska.

Boneshaker, instead destroys several blocks of downtown Seattle and releases a subterranean vein of “blight gas” that kills anyone who breathes it and turns some of the corpses into rotters (non-supernatural zombies).

A wall is erected to contain the gas within the affected part of the city.

I really enjoyed this book because it broke the mold of the other steampunk novels I have read to date.

We still have a strong female protagonist but expect no pretty corsets or charming hats with feathers.

The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley

 

If science is your thing, but you could do without the sci-fi, instead you prefer a good old juicy murder on the side, I highly recommend this series.

It’s not a steampunk series per se, but the teenage protagonist Flavia could give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money and displays a love for chemistry and gruesome murders.

Not many 11-year-olds from posh families get to ride the countryside on their bicycle courting danger, but no one does it better than the more than a little annoying, but wickedly funny Flavia.

I loved the first four book and the last one is waiting for me like a delicious dessert!

The final book is yet to be released.

Yummy!!!
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I hope you enjoy my summer reading recs and as I continue reading, I hope to come up with some more 🙂

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About Agzy The Ripper

Sew, Rip, Repeat... and love each moment of it! Join me as I embark on a myriad of sewing and crafting shenanigans.

19 responses »

  1. There are steampunk books??! I am a huge fan of steampunk fashion and have spent many hours lately finding all the pics I can (and purchasing a few things too!)
    I will definitely have to check them out.

    Reply
    • Steampunk is a huge genre and I guess I go for more girly books. All the books apart from the Flavia series are steampunk. I added the last series because the protagonist loves science and chemistry in particular, and because I freakin’ love them 🙂
      Don’t get e started on steamunk fashion and design. That’s a whole post (or three) right there! It just amazes me how creative people are! And some have the gall to describe steampunk as goth in brown! I think there’s more to it than that!

      Reply
  2. Never heard about this genre… Anyway, never heard about many things… LOL
    It’s always good to learn!! I have to try one of these books sometime!!

    Reply
    • They are a wonderful summer read! I’m just digging through some steampunk romance books I can recommend, just to make summer… even steamier 😉

      Reply
  3. I hope they are also good for a winter read… Although it’s hard to convince people it’s winter when it’s 27 degrees outside there!! 😉

    Reply
    • Oh Luciana, if you only knew what last winter was like… it started pretty early and didn’t let go till second week of April. We were joking that “Winter was coming” (Game of Thrones) each time we looked out of the window. It was the longest winter I’ve ever experienced and there’s something really depressing about months on end of snow and frost.
      Seeing that you’re in Brazil I guess each book is a summer read for you! 🙂

      Reply
      • Absolutely right, but this endless summer is also annoying!! Sometimes I dream about some snow falling over my head…. specially when I can’t sleep because of the heat!! 😉

        Reply
  4. I have the Carriger books on my wishlist for ages…and added the series written by Adina right now. Thanks for the tip!

    Flavia de Luce is truly a fun read. That girl really cracks me up sometimes while reading

    Reply
    • Many people comment that the third Carriger book disappoints, but once you push through it, it gets better. I didn’t really feel that lull, but then I stormed through the books in one swift go, so maybe that’s why.
      Regarding dear Flavia de Luce, apparently the books are to be turned into TV series. They better not mess it up is all I’m saying!!!

      Reply
      • Really? Great news. Do you know if the Brits or the Americans do the series?

        Reply
        • All I’ve heard is that the director Sam Mendes bought the rights. Is it terrible of me to hope that it’ll be produced in the UK?
          Here’s the news:
          http://variety.com/2012/tv/news/brits-savor-flavia-1118053847/

          Reply
          • Mmmmh, I like Sam Mendes and I hope he’ll do good!
            I don’t know but I hope the same so we are both terrible 😉
            Thanks for the link

          • Although the author is Canadian, the story takes place in Britain, so that’s one of the reasons I’d prefer a British production team. These books have so much potential and the character of Flavia is so characteristic, annoying and lovable, it could really be a huge success. BTW have you read the last published book? I hear it ends with a cliffhanger and now all the fans are waiting for book 6 to see how things work out 😉

          • Yeah, I think so too. They have to be careful with the casting of Flavia but if they do it right the show could be a great success.
            I only know book 1 so far but I have bought all of them for my Kindle

          • They are delightful, although all those murders in such a small town is a bit of a stretch 😉 Having said that, Flavia courts trouble, she’s lie the 11-year-old detective grim reaper!

          • Yes, that’s right…tough times for that little village 😆

        • Just read up, it’s the same production company that did “Starter for Ten,”and“Stuart: A Life Backwards”. I’m doing cartwheels as I type, I’m so happy 🙂 Not to mention both productions feature Cumberbatch. Oh happy Flavia days!

          Reply
  5. Pingback: YA 101: Steampunk | The Dreamweaver's Cottage

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