Steamborn

Steamborn Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: Steamborn, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Teens, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A supernatural swarm. A treacherous scheme. A tinker’s apprentice may be the village’s only hope…

Jacob has yet to meet a gadget he couldn’t fix or an adventure he couldn’t resist. With trade routes to his remote Lowlands town cut off, Jacob must exchange his boyhood adventures for petty theft. After all, his wages at the tinker shop aren’t enough to pay for his father’s medicine.

But it soon becomes clear why few merchants brave the nearby roads as a plague of terrifying creatures descends upon the town. With the Lowlands under siege, Jacob and his friend have no choice but to run for their lives. When their escape uncovers a terrible secret, Jacob learns there are those who’ll stop at nothing to make sure the teen takes the scandal to his grave…

Steamborn is an inventive YA fantasy novel with a heavy dash of steampunk. If you like dystopian settings, killer insects, and resourceful characters, then you’ll love Eric Asher’s gear-turning tale.

Buy Steamborn to crank up a whimsical thrill-ride today!

©2015 Eric R. Asher (P)2017 Eric R. Asher

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

Original.

This surprised me so much with how much I ended up loving it. I find steampunk can be hit or miss, and this one is definitely a hit!! This focuses on Jacob, a 15 yr old apprentice, and the fact that one single event will change his life forever!!

The plot of this was fast paced and addicting. The world building was amazing too. It's set in a world that was decimated by war, and where all the "modern" conveniences have been lost. It's a world where steam powered devices are used for nearly everything. It's also a world where the rich live in the inner sanctum and the poor on the outside. It's a world where bugs are prevalent! And not just normal bugs, but giant supersized ones, that are often kept as pets, but more often they are dangerous ad deadly. It's a richly woven and detailed world and one that will grab you from the start.

The characters were all amazing. Well written and developed, they really captured my attention, particularly Jacob. He was a strong, kind and brave young man and was a worthy hero in the book. I liked his friendship with Alice and how much he looks out for her. I can't wait to see what happens in the next installment.

In all, a truly engaging and entertaining read and one that will grab you. I loved everything about this and can highly recommend this original and captivating read.

Saskia Maarleveld was great. She read the book well and had plenty of different tones for the characters. She was easy to listen to and made the story that more enjoyable. This is the first book I've listened to that was narrated by her, but it won't be my last!

I was voluntarily provided this free copy by the author, narrator, or publisher. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

6 people found this helpful

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

Worth a Listen!

Steamborn is one of those really need novels that sort of reminds you why you enjoy reading in the first place. I've had a rough go of it trying to basically choke down books this year, but Steamborn was utterly effortless with its amazing world building and attention to detail.

This book made me question why I don't read more steampunk novels because if I could find more like this I would be in heaven all day every day. Steamborn follows Jacob, the young apprentice to their town's tinker. Jacob is a wonderful protagonist! He's kind-hearted, brave, and talented; and he has a thirst for knowledge that I really admire. We also have Alice, his best friend, who matches him in intelligence and kindness but really stands on her own in ferocity. Their friendship is amazing. They look out for and rely on each other, and I love that they stick together to fiercely throughout the story.

For a novel that doesn't hit 300 pages, it has some amazing world building woven into the story, and I think that's due in part to Asher's wonderful writing style. He packs in plenty of details to make the story rich and vibrant without ever loading it down to the point of tedium. He tantalizes us with tidbits of information on the world outside of Ancora and builds up the mystery around hidden history and old wars while creating a lovely city filled with gears and insects. Which brings me to his rather cool use of insects! I'm not a fan of bugs in general, though there was a time that I ran wild in the grass and caught all manner of things that would make me go full ninja mode now, but I utterly love the idea of insects being such a huge (figuratively and literally) part of society and their ecosystem. We get everything from terrifying creatures called Widow Makers to knee high Pill Bugs that are kept as pets.

Saskia Maarlevald is one of my favorite narrators and when I see her name on something I know I'll enjoy listening to it, even if was something as dull and lifeless as a phone book. She has a wonderful reading voice and she's fantastic as really embodying the characters she's reading for.

I can honestly say I'm so ready for book two, I'm just deciding if I want to wait for the audio or get the ebook. It's an inventive, fun and fast paced story that has rekindled my love of reading.

I received this audio in exchange for an honest review. This in no way has affected my opinion, and all thoughts are my own.

2 people found this helpful

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

Not too bad

Note: In exchange for an unbiased review, the author, publisher, and/or narrator were kind enough to provide an audio version of this book at no charge via AudiobookBlast.

I'm very late getting this review in, and for that I apologize. I actually finished this about three months ago or more, but didn't get around to writing this until now. So, some of my memories of this story are dimmed now. I remember that I enjoyed it OK. It wasn't anything spectacular, but I did like the unique world the characters lived in. I also remember liking the narrator. She reminded me a bit of Lucy Lawless (that only stuck out to me because I'd recently watched a documentary series that Lawless narrated), and she did a good job of distinguishing the various characters and such. Overall, though, there really didn't feel like enough compelling things were going on to make the story super-interesting. Adequate, enough to enjoy in the moment, but not necessarily enough to continue with the series.

1 person found this helpful

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

Steampunk in a post apocalyptic world

3.5 / 5


Steamborn is set sometime in a strange world, following an almost mythical war that brought the world to it's knees. Electricity and modern technologies are gone and only vaguely known of now, while the world is run through steam powered mechanical devices. The world is also populated with giant bugs, some of which are used as pack animals or pets, while others post a threat to civilisation.

Jacob is a 15 year old boy, learning how to build steam power devices as an apprentice. And he has a knack for it.

Civilisation is held up in cities, behind concentric walls, with the rich and powerful living in the inner city while the poorer live in the outer, less defended parts. Closer to the dangerous monsters. When a wall comes down and some monsters get in Jacob and his family and friends retreat into the inner city, where Jacob finds mysteries and dangers that will change everything for him.

The world building of Steamborn is great, with little bits of information about the world, the creatures and the time before being added along the way, creating a real and interesting world. The steampunk designs and devices are explained well and clearly, so that the reader gets a good impression of what they are, and how they look.

Jacob and those who surround him are interesting characters, each feeling real and interesting.

Where the book stumbles is in the overall story. While there is promise there it is ultimately a little lacking. The first and second acts are good, but it's not a complete story, lacking a proper and interesting 3rd act. It kinda kinda trails off at the end

This is made worse by the fact that the book doesn't contain a complete story. It's part of a larger story. I'm find with reading a series, even ones that you have to continue with, but each book within that series needs to have something of a complete story with a climax. And this doesn't really do that.

Narration by Saskia Maarleveld was good. He was well paced, clear and enjoyable to listen to. She does a variety of voices, providing each character a distinct voice. I've seen a lot of people complain at female narrators doing male voices but I thought Saskia did really well with that. Her old men sounded like old men, etc.

As a side note:
They say don't judge a book by it's cover. Well I somewhat did and I picked it up because the cover jumped out at me. A book may not always live up to it's cover (and a bad cover might hide a good book) but a good cover will always help with getting the book off the shelf and into hands (so to speak).
This book has a good cover and I wish more people made more effort with covers even for digital releases. because it is the first thing you see and it is the first impression you get (for better or worse).


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

1 person found this helpful

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

Loved this book!!!

This book has an amazing feel to it. Jacob is a young but strong character. The book shows how just one day, one event, can change the course of your entire life. I loved envisioning the different creations Jacob and his master created and how they could work.

There are some very suspenseful parts to this book and the narrator's voice helped to draw me into the story, wondering what would happen next. This is a book I wanted to listen to from start to finish in one sitting. I would definitely listen to an audiobook narrated by this narrator again.


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

1 person found this helpful

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

Great YA Steampunk novel

In this post apocalyptic start to a series the world is now filled with people and insects. Giant insects, nightmare sized, and yet I did not feel the "squemishishness" I thought I would. Giant pill bugs as pets. Todays modern conveniences have been replaced with candles and lightening bugs in a jar. A good steaampunk book has to have great descriptive writing to convey the gadgets that the tinker is creating, and Eric Asher has done this to perfection. I will look forward to seeing the past fleshed out more in the future books in the series. I like the interactions between the characters we have met so at, but as they venture into the outside world (outside the city walls) I expect to find differences of purposes. I definitely look forward to seeing the second novel done as an audio so I can enjoy it.

1 person found this helpful

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

gOOD READ

My first read/listen from author Eric Asher. An inventive YA fantasy novel with a heavy dash of Steampunk. Narrator Saskia Maarle’s talented narration & intriguing accent adds greatly to the book’s enjoyment. I was given an Audible copy of this book & am voluntarily reviewing it; I also own the Kindle edition so I was able to follow along while being read to. I’d gotten these back in July of 2017 and am just now getting around to reading them, my mistake. Well-written, with well-developed characters. I’ll be reading more in this series. (RIP Marley January 20, 2014 - July 24, 2018).

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  • GB
  • 10-20-17

Imaginative!

The compassion and humanity that this author writes into his characters never fails to impress and humble me. The friendships are strong and the world is so very vivid!

Lots of adventure and action. The book is so full of surprises.

As usual, the narrator foe this series does a fantastic job bringing the book to vivid life. I truly enjoyed listening to it!

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

Young man starts to grow up, for family & friends

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

This is my first listen to Saskia. She has a lovely voice that's easy to listen to. I didn't found there was some difference in tone or sound to help differentiate the characters, but nothing major. However, the book was still rather easy to follow who was talking. Saskia does sound older for Charles and a scratchy sound for men. She did well with slight differences. I did find the story felt to be moving slow, so I did speed up to 1.25x the speed as opposed to my normal 1.00x speed. I wanted to move along with all that's to happen, I was a little anxious to get going. I was back and forth on the speed.

This is very much a young reader style story. Not just because our main character is 15 going on 16 but in the reading of the story. It's easy to follow as Jacob grows from a teen into a young man, as the city sees kids this age but also in his own thinking and doing.

The world is different. It's a feel of post apocalyptic with steam and clockworks powering things. We also see large insects. Some are friendly and like pets or horses to ride. Other bugs are strong and attack the city, where the walls have grown weak. This shows the division in people in the village/city areas. There are lowborn and highborn sections of the city, a very fantasy feel to the city.

The people in this book are kind to each other, with a few slurs or feelings for the lowborn shown. But all are suffering when the village is attacked by the huge insects and they have to work together. This is something our world needs to see more of. The kind hearts of adults and children willing to eagerly help each other, not expecting payment in return. This warmed my heart to hear! That's not to say there aren't people that look down on others, but there is a focus on kindness.

The story is told from Jacob's POV. We see the city and people as he sees them. There is some bad out there, but the author has chosen to focus on the good. Thank you. There is to much bad out there that many see, so to have a story highlighting the good in people is a pleasure to read. And, even though the world is rough with the giant bugs attacking, it seems like a world I'd like to visit.

The only downfall in the story for me was I didn't feel Jacob, our main character, had a drive or want for something. Not even a major conflict in his character and world. He's a boy living to get by. Sure, he's poor and life is hard, but it doesn't feel as he has a real want, something to drive to get or fight against. He does come across events that give him points to work toward - his father being sick which is a desire for his father to get well, the bugs attacking his part of town and wanting his family and friends safe, then what he learns in the catacombs. But nothing overall for him other than curiosity of a brilliant kid getting him into trouble.

The world is attention attracting. And at the end of this book, I'm curious to where the story goes with what we are learning. I'll be carrying on with the books to see where our characters end up.

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Hooked

I can't wait to learn the backstory for all these characters. I came in expecting a Vesik like thrill ride and found a Terry Brooksian world waiting to be explored.

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  • The Bearded Bookworm
  • 07-25-17

Extremely well writen

This is a turly wonderful book and the start of a great series.
Read It.