Friday, September 9, 2011

Books for August

I'm on a bit of a steampunk binge at the moment. During August I read the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. So far there are 4 books - with another due for release in early 2012.

The series is described as: "comedies of manners set in Victorian London: full of vampires, dirigibles, and tea. They are Jane Austen doing urban fantasy meets PG Wodehouse doing steampunk."

They are hilarious. Funny and light with truly witty dialogue. The main character Alexia Tarrabotti is a woman facing some serious problems - she is without a husband, her social standing is affected by her wayward Italian father, and she is soulless, a secret she must keep from her family and friends. When she accidentally kills a vampire, Queen Victoria sends her trusted advisor, Lord Maccon (werewolf and rather charming alpha male), to investigate. And that's when things get interesting.

I will admit to finding the first third of the first book a bit pedestrian, but once I got further along, I couldn't put it down and read all four books in about a week. I am not normally a fan of the Victorian era but find myself captivated by steampunk at the moment - the retro-futuristic (isn't that a great term?) alternate histories are just so fascinating. The steampunk-ness of these books is on the light end of the spectrum, as is the explicitness of the romance scenes. It's all very light and fun - the sort of the books you could enjoy for some no-thinking required summer reading.

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook is also steampunk. It's not witty or light or frivolous like the parasol books. There is also no paranormal - just a sinister, dark alternate history of Britain where the people have been secretly infected by nanoagent automatons. "The Horde" rules over most of the world with their radio based technology which allows them to control the masses via the machines they have infected them with. It's pretty grim, and the author does a great job of creating a dark and smoke ridden London with the most unpleasant of histories. The Iron Duke - enigma, a pirate turned local hero who was successful in liberating the country from Horde rule, and Mina, a woman struggling against gender and class discrimination team up to solve a crime that threatens to affect the lives of everyone in Britain. The book has plenty of action, lots of steampunkish automatons and a definitely unique alternative universe. I cared less for the "love"storyline which has some questionable aspects, but overall a wonderfully sinister steampunk novel.

At the moment I am reading, yes another steampunk novel, The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia. This one is different again - the main character, Mattie, is an intelligent automaton. Literally a clockwork girl who has trained as an alchemist and who is about to get caught up in conflict between the Mechanics (including Mattie's creator), the Alchemists and the mysterious gargoyles. The writing is superb, and the atmosphere is almost fairytale-like. So far, a lovely haunting read.

If you've got any steampunk recommendations for me I'd love to hear them!

I'm at 70/100 and 2 books ahead :) You can find all my books on

1 comment:

  1. Have you read the Sally Lockhart series by Phillip Pulman? While not strictly steam punk a pretty good precursor. I wish I had know about these in the 80's when they came out.