Posts Tagged ‘steampunk’

A Librarian Reads Goliath

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Deryn and Alek are back in this exciting steampunk adventure set against the backdrop of World War I. This time the Leviathan is sent to Russia to save Nikola Tesla, who has been experimenting in the Siberian wilderness and claims he now possesses the ultimate weapon that will end the war. The weapon is called Goliath and could level cities all over the world by harnessing the Earth’s electromagnetic field.

Deryn and Alek have to see if Tesla’s claims are true or if they are just the ravings of a mad man. This new adventure takes them on a world tour; from Tokyo to Hollywood, from Mexico to New York, with each new location comes new machines or new genetically created creatures. But they will have to discover Tesla’s secrets before he demonstrates his weapon on Berlin.

But Alek discovers a secret Deryn has been keeping from him. Can they trust each other enough to save the world in time?

Goliath is a fun and exciting conclusion to an excellent series. It is appropriate for all ages and highly recommended for adventure lovers.

A Librarian Reads the Iron Thorn

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Aoife is a ward of the state, lives in the city of Lovecraft, and attends the School of Engines. Her mother is an asylum for  madness and her brother has run away after viciously attacking Aoife on his sixteenth birthday. The doctors tell Aoife (pronounced ee-fuh) that her family suffers from a strain of the dreaded necrovirus. This strain causes a person to go increasingly insane as the virus eats away the person’s brain. It is only a matter of time before Aoife suffers the same fate as her mother and brother. The doctors assume she will go mad just like her brother: on her sixteenth birthday, which is only weeks away.

Aoife is almost resigned to her fate until one day she receives a coded message from her lost brother. The letter tells her to seek the witch’s alphabet at her father’s estate in order to stay sane. Aoife believes the letter to be a ravings of a madman. If anyone discovered the letter Aoife could be declared a heretic just for communicating with someone infected by the necrovirus. In Aoife’s world the country is run by a group called the Proctors and that anything dealing with magic and monsters are actually different side effects of the necrovirus. The Proctors prize rationalism and science. If anyone mentions the supernatural they can be thrown in jail or burned in a public display.

But Aoife does not want to lose her mind so she leaps at the chance that her brother’s letter represents. Soon she is running away from the only home she has ever known. Her best friend Cal follows her to keep her safe. Aoife and Cal must must trust the riffraff and heretics that they have been taught to loathe in order to make it to Arkham.

But there will be danger along the way; monsters beyond imagine as well as the Proctors who are on their trail. Aoife will have to trust her crazy brother, and herself if she is going to discover the secrets of the witch’s alphabet in time. If she doesn’t she will lose her mind and the world as she knows it will die, forever locked away on the other side of insanity.

The Iron Thorn is a great read. It does take a while for the story to explain how Aoife’s world works. The author has taken many different genres and woven them together in an impressive way. There is a lot of steampunk and the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, but there is also dashes of fantasy. This world might seem incredibly different to you but if you give it chance it is well worth the read. Highly recommended and appropriate for ages 14 and up only due to the high learning curve of getting to know the strange and wonderful world Aoife lives in.

A Librarian Reads Airman

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Airman by Eoin Colfer

It is the late 1800’s and Conor Broekhart dreams of flying. Fortunately he lives under King Nicholas of the Slatee Islands. Nicholas is fascinated by flying and new technology. He hopes that his nation can show the world how new sciences and the discovery of flight will make life better for all mankind. After Conor saves his friend and secret crush Isabella, who is also the King’s daughter, from a fire he is invited to study with King’s airman and friend, Victor Vigny. Victor becomes a teacher and mentor to young Conor; who learns not only science and aeronautics, but pugilism and sword fighting.

Years go by and Conor and Victor believe they have made a breakthrough in lighter than air craft. But before they get to test out their design, the King is assassinated and Victor is murdered. The dastardly perpetrator is Marshall Bonvilian, the King’s own protector and head of the military. Bonvilian frames Victor Vigny as the assassin. Yet Conor witnessed the whole event.

So, Bonvilian quickly kidnaps Conor and hides him in the underground prison on Little Saltee. There he lives his life as a miner of diamonds to support Bonvilian’s new regime. Even though he suffers years of imprisonment he never forgets what Victor has taught him and plans his escape. He must wait until Isabella turns 18 and ascends to the throne. During the celebration he plots to fly away on a hot air balloon used in the celebration for the new Queen. Once he is safe he plans to create a glider that will allow him to sneak back to the prison to gather diamonds he has hidden.

But if he escapes what does he do then? He would have money and freedom. But, he knows that Isabella is in danger because Bonvilian seeks the throne for himself. Then there is Conor’s family. How have the fared since his disappearance? But all Conor wants to do is move to America and discover the secret to manned flight. Will Conor turn his back on the girl he loves and his family? Or will he don his glider and become a hero?

Airman is an excellent steampunk adventure story. It is appropriate for all ages and highly recommended.