Source: Narrator – I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Series: The Steamborn #2
Narrator: Saskia Maaleveld
Edition: Audiobook, 7 Hours 27 Minutes
Genre: Sci-fi, Steampunk
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4/5 Stars
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.
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!