Regular price: $29.95
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $29.95
For honour, for friends, for family, for country, protect those who cannot protect themselves and woe be unto the man who shatters his vow, for we are the Steamsworn.
This was my first foray into the world of Steampunk and it was outstanding. I loved The Steamborn Trilogy by Eric Asher. It’s so rare to find a series where all three books are equally excellent. It really was 27+ hours of sheer excitement and enjoyment. The characters in these books were wonderful and fully realized. While there is tons of action in the series, the story is very much character driven and definitely a team effort. All characters are important and have their strengths and weaknesses, and their value to the team. The characters really bring heart to the story with their love and loyalty, and their dedication to do everything they can at whatever cost to protect their cities and their people.
The story opens with regular life in the Lowlands (the poor section) in the city of Ancora and the main character gearing up to dance the Cotillion (I was surprised/happy to see the Cotillion, haven’t seen it mentioned outside of a Georgette Heyer) at the big Festival Dance. Fifteen year old Jacob splits his time between thieving to help his poor family and working with a wonderful and brilliant old tinker named Charles to learn the trade. Jacob’s best friend, and partner in the Cotillion and other amusements is Alice, a very capable and caring girl. Alice is usually the one to temper Jacob’s proclivity for pilfering and misconduct, well, unless there is a bookstore she can’t get in to and then it’s ‘Should we break the window?’ Then there is Samuel, a Spider Knight, who patrols the city on his Jumper (massive spider), Bessie. As the story progresses, terror and chaos soon rain down upon the Lowlands and the characters must work together to find resolution. In doing so they must set out to travel the lands outside the city of Ancora. The world opens up and we learn about mysterious places like Cave, The Scorched Plain, The Deadlands, Bollwerk, Fel, Dauschen, The Burning Forest, Beldorn and the Sea of Salt. New characters are introduced as the story unfolds; Drakkar, Skysworn Mary, Smith, Gladys, George (#1), Archibald and more. There are some really fabulous characters and I hope we will see more of this world and these characters in the future!
Full disclosure: I am terrified of spiders. I know, it’s silly and irrational, but my immediate response is terror (not terribly fond of bugs either.) However, I was fascinated by all the insects in Steamborn. The descriptions were so vivid, I found myself listening intently to every word, so I could really visualize what these creatures looked like and how they moved. In the end, I quite fell for Jumper spider Bessie and got a kick out of George #2 (a Walker with 40 legs!) with his quirky personality during his small part in the story. The creatures in the books were really quite fantastic. There were Jumpers, Walkers, Red Death, Widow Makers, cute Pill Bugs, Giant Mantises, Sky Needles and that was just in the first book. Just when you think you’ve encountered them all there’s Fire Lizards, Tail Swords, Stone Dogs, Tree Killers, Plague Bugs, Emerald Needles and still more. They were all so different and so intriguing that I wanted to hear more about each creature, except maybe the Carrion worms. Ok, those ones were really icky (but I was still mesmerized by the details;).
Eric has done an amazing job of world building. He manages to introduce the reader to the world and its history through the dialogue and the action that takes place. It’s such a seamless integration, enriching the story without any info dumps. His treatment of the technology was pretty amazing. Everything from the weaponry (bolt guns, grappling guns, chain guns), transport (Porcupines, Bollwerk Cruisers, Puffing Demons/Crawlers), bio-mechs and everyday tools were described in such a way that they could be visualized and understood without the descriptions ever becoming too technical or heavy handed. Eric really does have a brilliant imagination and the ability to convey his imaginings through glorious detail. You really experience the ride as you read!
‘What did you shoot that with?’ - ‘Science!’
‘I have no use for cruelty.’
‘I have heard tales of the fire in the hearts of flame haired maidens. I begin to think they have some truth.’
‘Leave me to my complaints would you, I don’t know what else to do with myself.’
The architecture changed so fast it almost felt violent.’
‘I’ve always found humans to be the most frightening thing that lurks in the dark.’
‘Whoever loses has no say in what history remembers.’
‘Mankind will always be mankind. It fights what it fears. It rages against change and it kills almost without conscience.’
‘It will also get better and those are the times that must live in your heart to chase away the darkness.’
‘You will change your mind when you’re older and have less sense.’
‘The bombs added their own instruments to the chaotic symphony of stamping invaders and the cannon fire of warships outside.’
Mantra of the Sky Riders: ‘Look at the world with an unbiased eye and its secrets will fall away.’
Narration: Saskia Maarleveld’s narration was absolutely gorgeous and her pacing was perfect. She voiced women, men and children equally well, providing excellent and appropriate voices and depth of emotion for each character. She pulls you right into the story and you never want it to end. Saskia is right up there with top narrators like Barbara Rosenblat, Katherine Kellgren, Steven Crossley, Hugh Fraser and Stephen Briggs.
I have been recommending the series to everyone. A good friend bought the trilogy for her 13 year old daughter who is an avid reader (reads JK Rowling, Jean Auel, Ken Follett, Steven King, Cassandra Clare, etc). She has so far zoomed through the first book and proclaimed it ‘amazing’, and is now in the midst of the second which she is loving.
For those who like to know... There is lots of violence (battle situations), no sex and no profanity until the last book where it is sparingly used and does fit the scenarios. Unless a sensitive reader, I would recommend 13+ .
I received The Steamborn Trilogy free in exchange for an unbiased review.
Through the black we ride once more within the flames our fortunes told.
The gates of hell lay broken wide within the steam no hold abides.
Feared and cast upon the stones, we fight to save the sacred lives.
When all is done and all is safe, find me in that Steamsworn grave.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Audible's summary of this trilogy covers things quite nicely. I liked the idea of bugs that evolved to gigantic proportions and that the people learned to live with some of them as we do with our domestic animals. Also, the post apocalyptic resurgence of steam power was interesting.
I think it would be difficult to read/ listen to these stories out of sequence as they aren't really stand-alone stories.
The speech at the end is appropriately politically charged and uplifting and encouraging for the characters, yet, it is not final. It makes me wonder if there will be another series to follow this one. If so, I would like to read/ listen to it as well.
This is the first I've listened to this narrator. I enjoyed listening to her. She had decernable voices for all the characters. I would like to listen to another book read by her.
I would like to read/listen to another book by this author.
There is a lack of swearing, explicit sex or overly descriptive violence.
I received this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this review.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Taken as a whole these three stores tell a complete, completing tale of adventure, politics, war all mixed in with a coming of age story for the young heroes. The post-apocalyptic steampunk world full of monster bugs is a truly interesting one. The world has clearly had a lot of work put into it granting it a sense of believability and history to everything.
The writing is top notch in both the story and dialogue; add to that the great narration with every character has their own unique voice conveying their personality and emotions. The character’s reactions to everything that happens around them and even their own actions is another thing that makes this story so completing to listen to.
All this together is a recipe for an enjoyable and engaging book to listen to and I very much enjoyed my time with this audiobook. So I can highly recommend Steamborn: The Complete Trilogy Box Set, It is a lot of story for a single credit.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I love Steampunk and this is a worthy addition to the genre.
I enjoyed the giant bugs and Spiders and all the plot twists
I received a copy of this audiobook for free in exchange for an unbiased review.