Scar Night

Scar Night

A city in the desert hanging by chains over a deep hole, the ancient city of Deepgate is home to a young angel kept locked away in a monastery. The last of his line, Dill is a descendant from legendary battle-archons who once defended the city. Forbidden to fly and untrained even to wield the great sword inherited from his forebears, he has become a figurehead for a dying tradition.

Now he lives a sheltered existence in one of Deepgate’s crumbling temple spires under the watchful eye of the Presbyter who rules the city.

This young angel Dill is taken under the protection and mentorship of a young assassin named Rachel. Rachel must protect Dill from the only other angel in Deepgate, a psychotic demigod hungry for revenge — or redemption — who drinks the blood of the citizens of Deepgate. A shocking betrayal will unite all three in a desperate quest.

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Agatha H and the Airship City

Agatha H and the Airship City

Agatha H and the Airship City is an illustrated comic made into a novel. The story has a very anime feel. Think Full Metal Alchemist meets The Last Exile. Most surprising is the minimal amount of true action that takes place in what should be an action-adventure. Rather, the story devotes a lot of attention to the development of the characters and the world in which they live.

The dynamic between nations is a little difficult to follow. Agatha starts out in a ground-based city that is in some way subject to the Baron superior city-state. She is then brought to the airship city, where she remains for the rest of the story.

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Railsea

Railsea

Despite being a young adult fiction novel, Railsea is a very interesting steampunkish novel. Railsea is imaginative and its story brings sufficient novelty to be worth a read. It is written by China Miéville, possibly the greatest author since Mark Twain.

The world of Railsea is one where there are no oceans, only a sea of rails that crisscross a dangerous prairie landscape where all sorts of carnivorous animals live below the ground waiting for a unfortunate person to walk by.

The railsea is broken up by islands of solid rock. These islands of rock are where the cities and nations are located. Men and women from all nations and backgrounds crisscross the railsea in search of fame and fortune.

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A Red Sun Also Rises

A Red Sun Also Rises

A Red Sun Also Rises is a pleasantly original steampunk book by Mark Hodder. A Red Sun is a break from Hodder’s flagship, the now growing Burton and Swinburne series that explores a completely new world but carries with it the traditional Victorian-based characters. It almost reads like a bizarre dream, where talking peanut-like aliens burst into horrible monsters. The planet has the feel of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine in Pepperland.”

Why is the story called a A Red Sun Also Rises? Because a red sun also rises.

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Iron Council

Iron Council

Iron Council picks up about twenty years after the events of the first book in the Bas-Bag series, Perdido Street Station (2000). Iron Council follows two separate storylines. The first is that of an adventure troop on a quest to find a golemist named Judah Low.

Low (who is very Qui-Gon Jinn-like) has left the political unrest of New Crobuzon to find the legendary Iron Council, a group of renegade railroad workers who have sought freedom and independence in the wilderness of Bas-Lag. Their home is a roaming city on wheels the Perpetual Train. Low believes that the return of the Iron Council to New Crobuzon will bring about the overthrow of the corrupt and oppressive mayor’s office.

The story also follows the tale of a would-be street thug and revolutionary named Rory. Rory joins with a subversive gang led by the mysterious and powerful Torro.

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Escapement

Escapement

Escapement follows three separate but intertwined storylines of Paulina, a village girl with great powers; al-Wazir, a British aerostat officer; and Childress, a librarian turned secret-order diplomat. They make their way either by foot, airship or by boat across a strange version of Earth.

An Earth where a giant 100-mile thick wall divides the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and the Moon and planets travel along visible clockwork tracks.

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Perdido Street Station

Perdido Street Station

Perdido Street Station was the first in China Miéville’s Bas-Lag series and the start of what has been coined the “new weird”. It’s gritty, dark and imaginative, but what is most interesting is its complex story. This book must be read more than once.

At its core, Perdido Street Station is a monster quest. Miéville has the unmatched ability to make every scene interesting. The reader gets to explore the strange world of Bas-Lag and the city of New Crobuzon. A city where the ribs of an ancient beast lie overhead and criminals are remade into grotesque monsters. A place where creatures of all types — human, Kehpri (women with entire bugs for heads), Vodynoi (frog people) and many more — live.

The father of all steampunk fantasy and a must-read.