Showing posts with label steampunk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label steampunk. Show all posts

Friday, February 10, 2012


LARKLIGHT, by Philip Reeve (Bloomsbury 2006)(ages 8+).  In this steampunkish space fantasy, in the 19th Century, the British Empire has spread across the aether, and has established colonies as far out as Jupiter. 

Arthur Mumby and his sister Myrtle live in a rambling house called Larklight orbiting the Moon.  Their lives are turned upside down when they are kidnapped by giant spiders and rescued by the fearsome pirate Jack Havock himself.  And things get really complicated when they uncover a plot to destroy the very heart of the Empire, London itself....

LARKLIGHT is a swashbuckling romp through a fantastically envisioned British Empire aboard ships reminiscent of those from Treasure Planet.  Art and Myrtle are engaging and dryly funny as they tell the story of how they traveled the solar system and defeated the evildoers...   

Friday, November 18, 2011

The AIRBORN trilogy

The AIRBORN trilogy, by Kenneth Oppel, comprising: AIRBORN (HarperCollins 2004); SKYBREAKER (HarperCollins 2006); STARCLIMBER (HarperCollins 2009)(ages 12+).

At fifteen, Matt Cruse is the youngest, smallest cabin boy aboard the airship Aurora.  Beyond anything else, it is his dream to someday captain a vessel like the Aurora.

On one fateful trans-Pacificus crossing, the airship rescues an off-course balloonist, who babbles about seeing beautiful creatures in the sky, before he dies.

Some months later, Kate DeVries, the balloonist's beautiful and wealthy granddaughter, embarks on the Aurora, to see if she can track down the mysterious creatures and prove to the world her grandfather was not a madman.

Matt is more than willing to lend a hand, and the two begin to develop a tentative friendship, when the Aurora is attacked by a dirigible belonging to the notorious and murderous pirate Vikram Szpirglas...

AIRBORN is a rousing, swashbuckling adventure  and coming-of-age story.  The alternate steampunkish Earth, where dirigibles are the basis for air transportation and airplanes don't exist, is convincing and richly detailed.  Matt and Kate are believable and their relationship is complex and compelling.

Their tale continues in the equally terrific SKYBREAKER and STARCLIMBER.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


THE LEVIATHAN TRILOGY: LEVIATHAN (Simon & Schuster 2009), BEHEMOTH (Simon & Schuster 2010), and GOLIATH (Simon & Schuster 2011), by Scott Westerfeld, ill. by Keith Thompson.  Fifteen year old Alek flees from his home into the night with a handful of retainers when his parents -- the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife -- are murdered in Serbia.  At the same time, Deryn Sharp, disguised as a boy, enlists as a midshipman on the British airship Leviathan.  Together, as Europe erupts into war, their lives intertwine in an around-the-world adventure and in ways that they couldn't possibly have imagined...

THE LEVIATHAN TRILOGY offers a fascinating alternate history and steampunk technology, along with action and adventure, and compelling and likeable co-protagonists.  Three absolutely terrific, fun reads.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS, by Arthur Slade (Wendy Lamb/Random House 2009)(ages 10+). In Victorian London, fourteen year-old Modo -- a shape-changing hunchback -- has been raised in seclusion since he was an infant by a Mr. Socrates, leader of a secret society determined to protect the British Empire.

His first assignment: to determine what has caused a group of young men -- Britain's finest -- to turn on their fathers with murderous intent, and figure out if it relates to the kidnapping of scores of orphans.

In THE DARK DEEPS: THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS 2 (Wendy Lamb/Random House 2010), Modo finds his second: travel to New York to find out why one of their agents has disappeared and unlock the secret of the "Big Fish."

In THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS series, Arthur Slade presents a likeable protagonist in a fantastical, steampunk-inspired Britain. Modo's struggles between duty and self are compelling and the stories are action-packed. Readers will eagerly anticipate book 3.
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