Book Blitz: Steamsworn – Eric R. Asher

Eric R. Asher
(The Steamborn Series #3)
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult

The world dies in war only to be reborn. It is the way of things, and always will be.

Forged in the Deadlands crucible, and armed with the knowledge of their true enemy, Jacob, Alice, and their allies bring the fight back to Ancora. They’ll liberate their homeland, or die trying.

The wounds cut deep in their darkest hour, but in the end, vengeance will light their path.

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Previous books in the series:
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“Whoa,” she said, jumping away from the burst of heat and flame. “That went up a little faster than I expected.” She reached the edge of the rack with her toe and forced it beneath the boiler.

Another rumble and crack echoed from the corridor behind them. Jacob turned around in time to see Drakkar come running back into the station, his cloak rising in the breeze behind him.

“Scythe Beetles!”

Jacob swung the air cannon off his back and racked the slide.

“Jacob, Alice!” Samuel’s voice rang with authority. “Fall back with Smith. If you need to use the cannon, use it at the last second. You don’t want to injure a Scythe Beetle. You want to kill it.”

Drakkar’s arm snapped out to the side, and his sword unfolded with a rapid series of clicks.

There was a calamity behind the Cave Guardian, and it grew louder with every second. Jacob and Alice scrambled off the railcar. Jacob paused and then ran to the pump to turn it off. The last thing they needed was wet fuel bars.

Alice made it to Smith ten steps before Jacob did. Samuel and Drakkar set up a loose line between the railcar and a steeper section of the shattered wall.

Smith spoke into his transmitter. “Mary! Get the chaingun down here now!

Her static-laced reply came back in an incoherent burst.

“Chaingun! Now!”

Mary cursed and began shouting orders before she stopped transmitting.

Drakkar had the best view of the corridor, and everyone tensed when he said, “Here they come.”

The iron gate in the stone hall collapsed at the first impact. The metal rattled and screeched as it was twisted and trampled. The creatures were not very fast, but once they were moving, nothing seemed to stop them.

They ran on three-toed claws, the spikes on their legs tearing through stone and rending metal as they crashed onto the platform. Jacob watched in awe and horror as the front most beetle paused, and its back split open. A pair of leathery wings extended from beneath the carapace and gleamed in the rising moonlight.

Author Bio:

Eric is a former bookseller, guitarist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.

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ARC Review: The Dream Engine – Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant

The Dream Engine – Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant

25894470When Eila Doyle first hears the strange boy calling from somewhere deep in her sleep, she begins to question her sanity. In the gleaming steampunk world of Waldron’s Gate, citizens aren’t meant to dream — and those who eschew their daily Crumble and dare to do so anyway face madness … and imprisonment in Joffrey Columns, the asylum of towers.

And yet, “Dreaming” of a very specific sort is what Eila does every day at the Ministry of Manifestation with her mind hooked to the great engine, called the Blunderbuss. She’s accustomed to using her thoughts to Build all that the city needs … but never before have her thoughts been so dark, so laced with demons and shadows. Now those nighttime visions hint at dark conspiracy, a millennium of lies, and a fathomless secret hiding beneath the quiet streets.

As Eila follows the boy down the rabbit hole, she discovers secrets that were meant to remain hidden. She discovers an unknown caste of underlings, an unknown place underneath the city. And she learns of her terrible destiny as her own dreams and reality blur, as “what is real?” becomes something uncertain.

This thrilling young adult dystopian adventure is the first in the Dream Engine series by masters of story Platt & Truant, authors of The Beam, Unicorn Western, and many more. The Dream Engine will have you asking yourself “What is real?” along with Eila’s strong female lead — but watch what you ask for, because the answer may unsettle and disturb you for weeks to come.

Release Date: July 22nd, 2014

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

That last paragraph in the synopsis makes me laugh because it’s SUPER DRAMATIC.

What I liked:

-I suppose Eila was a fairly strong female character, although her thoughts/actions seemed repetitive and boring up until the very end.

-beautiful cover.

-interesting concept.

-the fact that the authors wrote the whole thing (including planning, plotting, outlining, editing, etc) in 30 days.

What I didn’t like:

-this book dragged forever. I felt like I was reading it for months. It got to the point that I actually felt frustrated by my inability to finish reading something that had started off on a good note.

-as I mentioned above, the book was written in 30 days. Yeah, that’s impressive (though, really, if I was being paid to do NOTHING BUT WRITE for a month, I could probably churn out a manuscript too. I – and many other people – have successfully completed NaNoWriMo, and that was WITH a day job!), but I felt like there was little to no editing involved. There was a lot of repetition, a lot of introspection, a lot of explaining, a lot of build up, and not so much action.

I mean, as fascinating as it is to wonder how you’d explain “dreams” to someone who didn’t understand the word, it’s tiresome to read about it for twenty pages.

And it just made me confused, but maybe I shouldn’t have been reading about something as abstract and intangible as dreams first thing in the morning.

Also, if I had a nickle for every time the words “Joffrey Columns”, “Blunderbuss”, and “Crumble” were mentioned, I could have kickstarted their entire project myself.

-this book felt like a combination of Alice in WonderlandThe MatrixThe Giver (and every other dystopian YA novel ever), with a dash of “hey, I had a weird dream last night, I KNOW, I’LL PUT IT IN A BOOK SO THAT EVERYONE ELSE IS JUST AS CONFUSED AS ME”.

All those things individually are great. Put them together though, and you get a weird sense of deja vu (“follow the white rabbit”, was an actual line and I’m not sure if it was an Alice reference or a Matrix reference) (also Crumble seems like those pills that Jonah had to stop taking in The Giver so that he could be open to the real world. Just like Eila!).

-I respect that not all YA books feel the need to push the romance aspect and that’s cool, but if Levi is literally wandering through her dreams, you’d think there would be something going on there. But no. So that was disappointing.

It’s the first book in a series and has an open ending, and honestly, I’m not eager to find out what happens next. The whole thing fell flat for me, and while I’m impressed they could write this many words in a month, I would have probably liked it more if they had taken another week or two to really fine tune it.

That being said, I’m sure there are people who are falling all over themselves about this book. I’m just not one of them.


2 interrobangs

2.5 interrobangs

Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities

On Friday, I went to my first ever Cirque du Soleil experience: Kurios.

I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought about going to Cirque du Soleil before, but when we saw the ads for this new one, Ro pointed out that if I was ever going to go, it would be to the steampunk inspired show. So we did! We had great seats – side stage, row D – so we were really close. For the most part, it’s easy to follow along with what’s going on on-stage, though, like all productions, it can be distracting if there are other characters in the background and you can’t decide where to look. There were many different acts, but I can’t decide which one was my favourite. The opening was, of course, very fun because it (literally) set the stage for what was to come. The invisible circus was hilarious, especially when -MINI SPOILER ALERT- Felipe the invisible lion escaped and ran down the aisle. I’d probably have to say the upside-down dinner party – I didn’t even notice them setting up the upside-down table until the lights brought it to my attention. That was the other thing: these acrobats moved so fast. It was incredible to see how quickly they could move from one position to another, both in terms of how fast they could twist their bodies around and how fast they could get from one side of the stage to the other. The act that I thought was the most mind-blowing was the contortionists. HOW IS IT PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE TO BEND YOUR BODY LIKE THAT? I can’t even touch my toes without bending my knees (don’t judge, I’m working on it). One thing we didn’t count on: the stress of watching people catapult themselves across a stage without safety nets/harnesses. Yes, it was fascinating, but every time someone leaped through the air, we both cringed as they dropped down to the stage. Of course, they were always caught, but there were some moments – for example, when three guys were standing on top of each other’s shoulders and a fourth guy was tossed on top of them – where there was some staggering and swaying and genuine looks of alarm. I don’t know if that was part of the show, to make it more visibly death-defying, but it was a little scary. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I really enjoyed it. It’s amazing what people’s bodies are capable of with the right training and a good dose of flexibility.