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YA Book Reviews by Amy: Steampunk

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Steampunk is one of those genres that I have enjoyed throughout the years. Its part historical fiction, usually set in Victorian England (but not always), with advances to technology than they would not have had during that time which would be considered science fiction. Clockwork automatons, steam powered machines, and secret inventions that could lead to the destruction of humanity.

I really enjoy these different paths that history could have gone; the reimaginings of world wars, secret societies of spies, or even the retellings of different classic tales. Many of these book suggestions have a bit of  fantasy elements like paranormal beings, super powers, time traveling and advanced animals.

Put on your goggles and set your clock gears back and travel into these YA steampunk novels.


Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

The year is 1914 and Prince Aleksander is the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire.   His life is in danger when two different groups are fighting for power: the Darwinists (England, Russia, and France) that have created super animals and the Clankers (Germany and Austro-Hungary) who value the technology of the machines. Deryn Sharp, from England, wants to be a part of the air force, but as a young lady, she must disguise herself as a boy to join. The two main characters are from the two opposing forces, but their paths will cross. Will they get along or will their different upbringing and beliefs challenge them?

The beautiful illustrations by Keith Thompson add so much to the storytelling. If you enjoy this reimagining of WWI continue with this completed trilogy with Behemoth and Goliath. 

This title is available on Overdrive a nd Hoopla


Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Sophronia is more interested in learning about the workings of machines and spying on others than learning about the proper etiquette to be a marriable lady in Victorian times. When her mother enrolls her in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, she finds out it is not a normal finishing school. There Sophronia will learn to throw knives and the art of espionage. With a group of friends with varying skills, Sophronia and the rest of the finishing girls will learn of dangers against their school.

Recommended for readers that like a strong cast of female characters. Continue this story with Curtsies & Conspiracies, Waistcoats & Weaponry, and Manners & Mutiny.

This title is available on Overdrive


Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

Jonathan has the ability to work with a special chemical that makes the users hallucinate and see and use illusions. Jonathan becomes more interested in his illusions than real life and it could cost him when the parallel words collide. In the real world, he and his father must find a cure for a plague. Will Jonathan continue to want to live in the illusions he has created? Will he find the cure?

This standalone has an interesting take on steampunk. There is a plague plotline so do not read if it is triggering.

This title is available on Overdrive and Hoopla


Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey

Meg’s life and family are ravaged by a deadly fire. She lost her home and her parents; the only thing that she has is a pocket watch. Meg becomes a maid to keep everything the same after the Baroness died. There are secrets linked with the Baron and the pocket watch is really a key. Meg must learn about her family, the key, and a secret order.

This is one of my favorite trilogies of all time; continue reading if you enjoyed the romance and the steampunk elements with Rise of the Arcane Fire and Shadow of the War Machine. This series only gets better!

This title is available on Overdrive


The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

Mina Holmes is the niece of famous detective Sherlock Holmes; just as analytical as her uncle, Mina can come across as cold and logical even when her mother went missing years prior. Evaline is the sister of famous author, Bram Stoker (Dracula) and has a secret, she is a vampire hunter during the night. Mina and Evaline are to work with each other to solve a murder at the museum. The only clue that they have is a clockwork scarab.

This is my favorite steampunk series! It has a great combination of strong, realistic adoration between our two main characters, fantastic slow burning romance, time travel, mystery and more. This is a really fun series, continue reading with The Spiritglass Charade, The Chess Queen Enigma, The Carnelian Crow, and The Zeppelin Deception.

This title is available on Overdrive and Hoopla


The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Near the turn of the century, Finley Jayne is supposed to be a proper lady of society, but she has this side to her she does not understand, and that side is violent. Griffin King has a band of misfit friends that are helping him investigate a criminal mastermind named the Machinist. Griffin meets Finley and thinks that she can find a home and solace with their group.

Many of the characters are inspired by classic works of fiction like Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and others that make this series especially fun. Continue with The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, The Girl with the Iron Touch, and The Girl with the Windup Heart.

This title is available on Overdrive


Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Tessa Grey travels to England to escape an unspeakable past and find her missing brother. She is thrust into the paranormal workings as soon as she sets foot in London. There she meets demon hunters, called Shadowhunters, Will and Jem. The three of them are up against vampires, warlocks, and other creatures that are attempting to take over the city with clockwork automatons.

This is the companion book to Cassandra Clare’s other series, The Mortal Instruments starting with City of Bones (The Shadow Hunters television show).  Readers might enjoy reading The Mortal Instruments before the Infernal Devices to fully understand all the inner workings, but it is not necessary. Continue with the series with Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess.

This title is available on Overdrive


The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley

When Sebastian Tweed’s father goes missing, he knows that Professor Moriarty (originally made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes) is behind it.  Sebastian teams up with Octavia Nightingale to find him. The city of London is overran by automatons that are powered by human souls and the ministry is up to something sinister in the name of the queen. Will Sebastian and Octavia learn to get along long enough to find Sebastian’s dad? Will they find Moriarty to get their answers? Read to find out!

Recommended for readers that enjoy a solid mystery and likable main characters; the companionship between Sebastian and Octavia is fantastic; they are an unlikely duo that respect each other. There is a sequel to this book called The Osiris Curse.

This title is available on Hoopla


Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.