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Publisher's Summary

There are old wounds in the forgotten places of the world, and some are soaked in blood. Jacob and his allies flee into the Deadlands after the fall of Ancora. Charles, the enigmatic smith, hopes to find answers in the desert city of Bollwerk that could prevent a war. Their enemies are many, and here Jacob will learn the cost of life in the Deadlands.

©2016 Eric Asher (P)2017 Eric R. Asher

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • TU
  • 10-17-17

A great YA Steampunk Fantasy Trilogy

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Eric Asher is the author of one of my favorite series, the Vesik Series. So, going for this series was a no brainer for me, even though it is geared for YA. I wasn't sure what to expect from Saskia Maarleveld as a narrator but she had an interesting voice and I enjoyed listening to it. Steamborn is a steampunk, fantasy trilogy about a young guy with a knack for gadgets and a propensity to getting into trouble. This is the 2nd book of the trilogy. Very enjoyable, even for adults. Well worth a credit but I would recommend going for the boxed set.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Steambore more like it

First book took a bit to grab you and get you hooked, I guess the time between when I ended the first and started the second, that hook wore off. Do yourself a favor, if your gonna listen to the trilogy do it all at once, this never grabbed me like the first did, keep that momentum going...

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher

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

action packed with new characters to meet!

What made the experience of listening to Steamforged the most enjoyable?

Steamforged gives us a look into the world outside of the city of Ancora and into the Deadlands and the city of Bollwerk. Jacob, Alice, Charles and Samuel (a spider knight) travel across the Deadlands to Bollwerk, and new characters are introduced.

While Steamborn was more introductory, Steamforged brings much needed action and suspense to the trilogy. I looked forward to experiencing the places and people which were talked about in the first book.

There's tension and I love delving into the differences between the poor and the rich because a lot of those parts of the story seem to parallel what's going on in the real world. I think there's a message in this story about the lengths the rich will go to in order to protect themselves no matter the heavy cost the poor ends up paying.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite new character was Mary, who's not only a strong and independent woman but also an airship captain (go Mary!). I loved her!

What does Saskia Maarleveld bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator, Saskia Maarleveld, did an amazing job voicing all of the different characters. She has a lovely and pleasant voice to listen to, and her accent is fab! I was impressed with her ability to differentiate the characters so cleanly to where I never had to wonder who was speaking. I'm interested in hearing her also narrate other novels.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Steamforged gave me a lot to think about with terrific characters and stellar writing. I loved it!

Any additional comments?

I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Growth in characters and world,readying us for war

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


I do enjoy listening to Saskia voice this story. She was the narrator from the first book as well. She does a great job at differentiating the characters by voice. But, again, I felt I had to speed up the audio. At a faster pace, I moved through the book catching all that was happening.

We learn more of the land and see outlying areas. In the first book we primarily were in Ancora and started to hear names of other places, ending at a new place. Now we start to see different lands and learn more. There is a great deal more outside of Ancora than the kids had ever expected. They had read of the places in the book they found, but to see and experience the places is all new. However, with these new places come great dangers.

This feels a story that is catching for it's atmosphere. The world that the characters live in is different and interesting with the bugs and land and mechanics. We see many of what is described in the book Jacob and Alice have read. We do get to see the Mechs. The people with mechanical body parts that are feared. Though I do think the story is slower paced with all we see in the world.

For me, the beginning of the story is rather slow with all the world details we are given. I wanted to get to the important stuff. It felt that all we lived through was secondary items that are in life.

Every world has some sort of prejudice, whether it's poverty level or skin tone or even body parts of metal. This world has it too. We small glimpses of it as the story goes. That helps build the world but seeing some of this highlighted in the beginning and what is pointed out in the world, I expected it to surface again more importantly later in the book. Some of it does pop up, but not as heavy yet. Though, it does show where the fears and thoughts in the system at Ancora had come from. I'm wondering if it's a huge build up to the end.

Most of the story is from Jacob's POV, but we do get views from Alice, Charles, and Samuel. Even Drakkar. Jacob has an obstacle he must overcome. With the way the book began (actually the first book touched on), I expected it to happen. And it did. Alice is not a dainty little girl as some would thing. She hardens here, and comes to a new view on things. I like the person Alice is. She's got a flare to her.

If it wasn't for the danger that the characters are coming into, I'd say this book would be for the younger group of young adults. The story is simple and things are repeated to clarify what is happening and the plans they are making. Well written for a younger reader.

This book feels like a transition book. It's setting up for a great battle and war to come in the next book. It's putting into place all the pieces and people so we understand why things are going to get ugly in the future. It also brings the characters across events and actions they must take to be to a place to go into war.

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

Good writing, fun steampunk, could use more of arc

I really enjoyed the followup to Steamborn, the narration was excellent and really helped with immersion into the story!

I do enjoy Eric Asher's writing, I enjoyed the world building and characters very much. The only thing I didn't like about this book, and its not a unique problem with this book but with many series books, is that this book by itself had no story arc, it only served to further the series arc and felt like nothing was really accomplished.

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

An Excellent Sequel!

Steamforged is the second novel in the Steamborn series, a sci-fi world filled with steam, gears, and giant bugs. I personally hate bugs and would probably want to set the entire world on fire if they got any bigger than they are, but I adore this series. The inventiveness of the premise and the excellent characters make for a book that is easy to get lost in. If you have not read the first book then this review may by default have spoilers for it, but so does the summary above…so please be aware of that BEFORE reading the review below.

I was surprised with how much I truly enjoyed the first book in this series. I don’t think I’ve read many books with giant insects, because that seems like hell on earth, and I wasn’t sure if I could turn off the part of my brain that rejects the idea of giant spiders. However, I am totally on board with this now. Giant pill bugs sound like the cutest things ever. Bugs aside there is some pretty stellar worldbuilding happening, especially in book two. We get to see more of the world as Jacob leaves Ancora, and we learn more about the devastation that is detailed within the pages of the Dead Scourge. I love how much detail he packed into the story without it ever feeling like too much. It has an easy feel to it and it really helps keep the story moving forward.

As much as I love seeing more of the world and learning about the new cities, what really shines are the characters and their relationships. The relationship between Jacob and Alice is one that I really enjoy. Their bonds grow stronger and they grow closer but it’s subtle and slow. We also get to learn some new things about old characters like Charlies and meet some new people like the fiery airship captain, Mary.

Without going into detail on the actual plot of the story I have to say I’m really happy with the way it’s progressing. It does start off slow as the group makes their way to their first destination, but it really picks up as we get introduced to new places and people and see more of the natural world. War is on the horizon and tensions are high, but there is still quite a few nice light-hearted moments that made me smile and serve to give me a little break from the main plot. Saskia’s narration is wonderful as always and if you haven’t tried out an audio by here I fully recommend checking out her extensive list of audios.

I can’t wait to get a copy of the third book and dig in!

I received a copy of Steamforged in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good!

Good story and fantastic narration!


**I received a copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review**

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the first

If you have not read the first book, these are not standalone, go read the first one.

This book picks up right where the last one left off, after the events that pushed our heroes out into the Deadlands. They meet the locals, who challenge their perceptions of the world and teach them new skills. But the different people and beliefs are building towards a clash that will draw the teens in and change everything they know. I felt now that the initial world and conflict is understood Eric Asher can spend more time telling the story, which I felt was a little lacking in book one. This is a solid story here and a great launching point for the third (and final) book.

The great world building that begun in the first book continues here. Asher expands the world, focusing less on the ‘monsters’ and the technology than the previous book but more on the beliefs and prejudices of its inhabitants. We learn more about the war and the cataclysm that came before, and get a better idea of how this world relates to our own. But a lot of this is more character based, as fitting the fact that the world was established in book one.

If you enjoyed book one, but not enough to be certain to grab book two, I recommend doing so. This one improves on what was good in book one, and fixes some of the things that were a bit of a letdown.

Narration by Saskia Maarleveld continues the good work in book one. Well-paced and easy to follow, I enjoyed all her character voices etc.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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

Amazing continuation

Some series have an amazing start and then are lacking from that point on. This is not one of those series! Just like with the first book in this series, I wanted to listen to it from start to finish once I began it.

I love the Steampunk kind of world that is created here. I can see so many of the creations in the book and feel the character's wonder and awe at the new creations that they never felt was possible. I love that we're getting to learn more about this amazing world and the almost secret war that is lurking just below the surface of society.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the narration of the book. I can't wait to listen to the next book in the series!

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge.

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

I wanted to care about the characters

But... I just couldn't. Perhaps this just isn't my cup of tea.

I enjoyed the narrator a lot. And I struggle with many female narrators because of the tonal range wearing on my ears over time. Deeper voices don't have that same stress. But Saskia Maarleveld did a marvelous job and I really enjoyed her voice and her intonation.

The story is well crafted. The characters are interesting. The world building is wonderful. But I just couldn't get emotionally involved in any of them for some reason.

There was a scene where a character was injured and on the edge of death and they did a rash surgery to save him. Putting rivets into his leg bones and cutting away lots of flesh and other extreme stuff. and I wanted to care about Jacob the whole time. Hmmmm.

The world is fantastic. I love the parts about the skysworn, the air ships, and the unique challenges such a world created. All very unique.

All-in-all a very decent book. It may be your thing.