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Publisher's Summary

The frozen wasteland of Snow World - known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization - is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom.

Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders' prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there's little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans.

Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base - and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.

©2013 Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joki
  • Helsinki
  • 02-02-14

Really Enjoying This Fun Series!

It's series like this one that make me fall in love with steampunk all over again. Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War continues the series, providing plenty of action/adventure, introducing new characters, and giving us more information on the dystopian Los Angeles world in which this is set. I'm reminded of great seafaring tales like Treasure island and Horatio Hornblower - with the action and adventure in the air rather than on the sea.

In this second book, Romulus sets out to discover who really attacked the Tehachapi stronghold - was it the Imperials or did the Founders have a hand in the action instead? For the land is in turmoil: rumors abound that the Founders are going to go all out in war - and the Crankshafts will need all the allies they can get. That is, unless one ally ends up being the daughter of Buckle's Imperial enemy. And along the way he is going to learn that all of the Crankshaft orphans have terrible secrets - including Romulus' sister Elizabeth. Cue krakens, sabretooth tigers, blizzards, air ship battles, explosions, and more!

There's a lot of male wish fulfillment here, as Buckle grapples with not two but now three nubile women on his ship as Valkyrie, daughter of the Imperial clean leader, is forced to join his crew. But that doesn't bother me in a book where the women give as good as they take. For once, every woman is on equal footing with their male counterparts and I just love that about the book. It's a book that is agreeable to both women and men (especially considering we have both male and female POVs).

While the first book was nearly non stop action, the second book takes its time to set up more world building, including intriguing hints about all the Crankshafts. We're also given a glimpse of more clans, their leaders, and some great foreshadowing to come. Each of those clans are really fun - from the Aztec inspired 'snakeheads' to the pseudoGerman Imperials.

There really is so much inventiveness in this series. I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series! This is steampunk done right - fun, exciting, thrilling, and joyfully over the top.

The narrator is very exuberant - the most animated I've ever heard, in fact!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DVarne
  • Loveland, ohio United States
  • 03-31-14

Outrageous SteamPunk fun!

Would you listen to Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War again? Why?

I would listen to this again, as the story is quite well done and the characters are just that touch of over the top in some of their actions that makes this fun to listen to. Plus Luke Daniels does an outstanding job with accents and voices to keep everyone straight in your mind.

What about Luke Daniels’s performance did you like?

Everything, from his excellent use of accents for different characters to deeper or higher voices. He has a fantastic ability to make you believe in the character by doing a perfect job of enacting their lines as he reads them.

Any additional comments?

Preston likes to use what some would call $50 words when doing his descriptions of characters and scenery. I can understand where this might throw some people off, but it is nice to hear some of the words in the English language that aren't used as much any more, without (in my opinion) over doing it too much and making you wish he would get on with it. I'm not a fan of using 100 words when 30 will paint the same picture, but I think Preston does a good job of walking the line. If you like SteamPunk and larger than life characters brought to life by a talented voice artist, then I highly recommend this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Potential but in the end not much there

As I wrote in my review of book 1 in this series, I really want to like it. Some pretty good ideas in here, and the style is spot on in the tradition of pulp adventure stories. Deadly action scenes but also some fun, especially when some of the tropes of the genre are way exaggerated. Alas, the author is his own worst enemy. There's simply no sense of rhythm and pacing in this book or the previous. Best example, the whole part 1 is one dragged out course of events that could have been easily covered in a third of the time. Words are concatenated to form sentences I guess because the author enjoys doing so, not because it actually takes the story forward. Many times I noticed my thoughts drifting off but when I focused back on the book I realized nothing had really happened. Also, in book 2 I think it's not unreasonable to expect a bit of background story to understand how the world in which all his happened came about. In the end it's the author's job to keep the readers/listeners attention and keep him or her wanting more. Instead these books almost feel like work to me, albeit pleasant, but work nonetheless.

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    3 out of 5 stars

I want so bad for this book to be good.

The concept for this series is brilliant. Although the writing is lacking and immature. I truly wish this wasn’t the case.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Where is the Aether?

I've been waiting for the audio book version since December of 15! love the series just never have time to read, please record so I can continue Buckle's adventures!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Good!

Good story, lots of action, interesting character couldn't ask for more. Waiting for the end of the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great romp in the sky.

This is a fun story with colorful characters and swashbuckling over the top action. The voice acting really brought the characters to life. I hope there are more in the series on Audible.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining start to end

Loving this series. Characters and sorry are expressed and represented well. Looking forward to the next installment

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Swashbuckling Tale

This story was hampered by the flash backs. In a print version they may be easier to detect, but in the audio version they seemed to occur without warning and several times had me checking my player because I thought I missed something. The narrator's normal reading voice was nice but the voices of some of the characters made them seem oddly feminine not a good fit for an adventure tale.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I can't get enough!!

The story is amazing, full of an imaginative genius. Every time I pick it up there's a new twist, or a new clan that comes in. Can't wait to start the next one.