If You Like….

Happy 2014! To kick off the new reading year, we have a special guest If You Like post by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance— a beginner’s guide to the souped up Victorian intricacies of Steampunk.

Without further ado, If You Like….

If you like your tea hot and your men decidedly British, have you thought about giving Steampunk a try? A feisty heroine, a dashing yet somewhat uncivilized/awkward man, witty banter, lots of can do attitude for Queen and County (the Queen being Vicky) and a stiff upper lip hiding the inevitable romance, yes I am talking about Steampunk! The trappings of the genre by throwing in some anachronistic technology and alternative historical settings might put some off, but underneath it’s the type of book you know and love, so dare to try something new and you will be rewarded!

But where to begin?

— Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate Series starting with Soulless.

The couple in question: Alexia Tarabotti (a woman lacking a soul and therefore feared by the paranormal) and Conall Maccon (a werewolf and therefore paranormal).

Like Amelia Peabody and her husband Emerson, there are parasols of unique function, a couple who never thought they’d find a perfect match, oh, and some werewolves. PS, there were no werewolves in the Elizabeth Peters books.

— Gail Carriger’s Finishing School Series starting with Etiquette & Espionage.

This series which is a prequel to Gail’s successful Parasol Protectorate Series, while lacking a couple, per se, we do have some very Pink-esque themes. If Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies actually taught espionage, this is what it would look like. Imagine Lizzy Reid actually being allowed to use a bow and arrow?

— George Mann’s Newbury and Hobbes Series starting with The Affinity Bridge.

The couple in question: Victoria Hobbes (able assistant with “mad” sister) and Sir Maurice Newbury (investigator for the crown with a drug habit)

While working secretly for The Queen, the couple in question complete each other, but both have a damaged past that they have to overcome in order to be together.

— Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’s The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences starting with Phoenix Rising.

The couple in question: Eliza Braun (violence prone and a field agent who doesn’t want to be chained to a desk) and Wellington Books (bookish by name bookish by nature, but with a troubled childhood)

These two agents for the British Empire are polar opposites that soon come to realize that what they thought the other one was is only part of their personality. Never judge a book by its cover…

— Lilith Saintcrow’s Bannon and Clare Series starting with The Iron Wyrm Affair.

The couple in question: Emma Bannon (chaotic sorceress) and Archibald Clare (logical mentath)

More in the vein of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, as their natures are so diametrically opposite they could never be together. But fear not! Emma’s able bodied assistant (“shield”) provides some delicious romantic tension.

Other series I have recently been recommended but haven’t had the time to read:

— A. A. (Anne and her husband Andres) Aguirre’s Apparatus Infernum starting with Bronze Gods.
— Beth Ciotta’s The Glorious Victorious Darcys starting with Her Sky Cowboy.
— Karina Cooper’s St. Croix Chronicles starting with Tarnished.

For full reviews of these books drop by my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance, I love having Lauren’s fellow fans stop in!

Huge thanks to Miss Eliza for this very comprehensive list! I’d read the Carriger books, but hadn’t heard of any of the others, so am immensely thankful for this primer. (Don’t you love the sound of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences?).

What would you recommend in the realm of steampunk?


  1. Janie Burke on January 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I have recently devoured the steampunk series by Emma Jane Holloway – The Baskerville Affair series: A Study in Silk, A Study in Darkness, and A Study in Ashes.

  2. Am7 on January 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series starting with The Iron Duke!

  3. Elizabeth Lefebvre on January 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Karina Cooper was telling me about how good the Iron Seas series is, I’ve been wanting to start it! Also Janie, I was totally planning on picking the first one up in the Emma Jane Holloway series when I was at the bookstore but they didn’t have it! Though it is very similar in theme to Colleen Gleason’s Clockwork Scarab.

    • Janie Burke on January 7, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      I know, Elizabeth, I couldn’t find it in my local library or bookstore, but I was so intrigued when I read the reviews (because I love steampunk and Sherlock Holmes)that I ordered the series from Amazon.

  4. Alice on January 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    The only steampunk I have read is “Nefertitis Heart” by AW Exley. It was surprisingly good with a kick butt heroine and complicated characters. There is a sequel called “Hatshepsuts Collar” but I didn’t like it as much. I despise when authors are crass for no apparent reason.

  5. Sandy on January 10, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I enjoyed The Chronicles of Light and Shadow by Liesel Schwarz. The first book is A Conspiracy of Alchemists.

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