Tag Archive | steampunk

3 Reviews : Deadly Little Secret, Fallen and Horns of Ruin

Today’s mini-reviews have all in common that despite reading reviews that clearly indicated that these books weren’t for me, I went ahead and gave them a try anyway, because Ooooh! The Pretty Covers!

I know, I know. I’m such a shallow reader!

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Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Pages : 252
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Touch, Book 1
My Rating : 

What it’s about : Even though she doesn’t believe the horrible rumors circulating about new boy Ben, Camelia can’t help but wonder if the recent strange events of her life are linked to his presence. Ben is obviously hiding something… but what?

My Thoughts : So this was neither good nor bad, and it fell in a kind of very grey area that made it absolutely forgettable to me. I read it a month ago and could barely tell you what it was about. The paranormal aspect is kind of interesting – psychometry, an ability to read one’s future through touch – but the characters themselves were a little bland. Also the ending was to me  completely obvious. I’m giving this 2,5 stars because I can’t remember enough to give it less or more. Meh.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Deadly Little Secret
  2. Deadly Little Lies
  3. Deadly Little Games
  4. Deadly Little Voices (coming December 2011)

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Fallen by Lauren Kate
Pages : 452
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Fallen, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about : After she gets involved in a tragic accident costing the life of another teen, Luce gets sent to the mysterious Swords & Cross boarding school. There she meets Daniel, a mysterious guy she can’t seem to stay away from. What secrets does he hide? What about the mysterious bond they both feel between them?

My Thoughts : Oh my! I’ll forever love the cover but it took me everything I had to finish this one. The beginning was kind of interesting, I was intrigued by Luce’s story until Daniel became her sole focus. I wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t already gotten so far in.

Like Deadly Little Secret, this book definitely comes running on the steps of Twilight‘s success. The formula is a bit of the same, with a role reversal of Luce being the new kid and the stalker. It just didn’t work for me, but I have no doubts fans of the genre will enjoy this one.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Fallen
  2. Torment
  3. Passion
  4. Rapture (coming June 2012)

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The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
Pages : 340
Genre : Steampunk, Fantasy
Stand Alone
My Rating :

From Goodreads : Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead God. Eva was the last child dedicated to the Cult of Morgan, forsaken by her parents and forgotten by her family. Now she watches as her new family, her Cult, crumbles all around her.

My Thoughts : I don’t know what to say here. I had such high hopes for this one, but it turned out to be a total disappointment. First, there was so much action I felt I never had a break to just enjoy and get familiar with this intricate new world. Plus, I just couldn’t stand Eva. It got better towards the ending, but not enough.

On the plus side, the world has many interesting aspects and gadgets. It just wasn’t enough to make me like it.

Review : Soulless

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Pages : 357
Genre : Paranormal, Romance, Steampunk
Series : The Parasol Protectorate, Book 1
My Rating :

From the back of the book :

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced! Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible.

I’ve been juggling with the idea of this review for a while now, but since I’m about to read the next book, now seemed like a good time to share my thoughts on the first one.

I’ll admit that, at first, Soulless was a huge disappointment from me. Part of it did came from the book itself I guess, but mostly it came from a misunderstanding on what the book was about. I got my copy soon after it came out, and read only a handful of reviews before reading it myself. Still, from all the publicity I saw on the blogs and various websites, Soulless was to be a paranormal novel set in a steampunk world. While this isn’t false, it isn’t true either.

Because Soulless turned out to be more about a paranormal romance than about the steampunk world. While I don’t have some prejudice against paranormal romance (I even read and enjoyed a few of those), it was a bit disappointing to see how little place took the steampunk elements. You could have easily suppressed them and made it a victorian paranormal romance, without much changes to the storyline.

That being said, I did enjoy my reading of Soulless. After having taken some distance from it, I have kept a mostly good memory of my time with Alexia. She annoyed me a little at times, and there were some repetitions (mostly about her physical appearance), but the writing had some great moments, too. The book definitely gave me a couple of smiles, and while the romance was a bit too buttery for my personal taste, it will definitely please those who enjoy some scenes of romantic hotness.

Gail Carriger has a unique voice and I’m sure this will shine even more through the following books. Now that I know what I’m in for, I am looking forward to reading Changeless!

Series Reading Order :

  1. Soulless
  2. Changeless
  3. Blameless
  4. Heartless (date to come)

Review : Leviathan

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, illustrations by Keith Thompson
Pages : 440
Genre : YA, Steampunk, Fantasy
My Rating : 

I couldn’t summary this better than the book did, so here it is, from the back of the book :

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Scott Westerfeld, I love you!

There, I said it. After falling completely in love with the Uglies series, I fell in love yet again with Leviathan.

I thought I would like it, but I was surprised by how quick I actually got into it. Often, I find that speculative fiction starts with a disadvantage : it’s a new or different world than our own, and there is so much to be explained that it often takes over the characters and the story, especially in the beginnings. I found Westerfeld dealt with this brilliantly in Leviathan, and from the start I understood who the characters were and I really liked them.

Deryn was a great young woman, intelligent and resourceful, but what I really admired was her sense of responsibility. She wasn’t just passing herself as a boy for fun or rebellion : she really wanted to be part of the British Air Service, and once she was in, she took it seriously. Of course, her secret leads to a few funny scenes, too, and it made her relationship with Alek even more complicated. Alek was also great. I felt for him and admired his strength at the same time. Watching him discover the world from outside his castle was interesting but also realistic.

There is so much I could praise about this book : the wonderful setting, the great action scenes, the characters who surround Deryn and Alek ( I especially loved Dr. Barlow!), the “slang” that was so well written that it actually made the language even more interesting… I don’t want to get everyone’s expectations too high, but at the same time, I find very little to say other than “I loved it”!

So I’ll end on a note about one of the most important aspects of Leviathan : the illustrations. They are detailed and really help create a visual of the world. They also reminded me of those books I read when I was a kid, with an illustration every 2 or 3 pages. Which is not to say that this book felt childish, not at all! I really wish more books had illustrations like this. So make sure to stop by the artist’s website, and also take a look at the beautiful map he created for Leviathan (which decorates the inside of the book’s cover.) It’s brilliant!

Map of Leviathan by Keith Thompson