I recently read that “Steampunk is science fiction after a few LSD-laced absinthe jello shots” and it’s totally true! I couldn’t describe them any better. If you love science fiction and you’ve yet to give steampunk a try, you need to. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started…
The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson
The story centers around a young girl named Nell. By a twist of fate, Nell comes into possession of an interactive book called the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. She becomes immersed in the fantasy world of the Primer and undertakes a number of symbolic journeys and adventures that serve as life lessons towards her final goal of self-realization.
What I love about this is that its set in Shanghai. It makes for a magical backdrop and you’ll still get the feel of Victorian England. The protagonist is a female and I kind of love steampunks with female leads.
Leviathan, Scott Westerfield
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.
Yes, this is considered a middle grade series but I promise you that won’t hinder your reading experience. These books are tons of fun. If you love historical fiction, you’ll dig Leviathan. Like The Diamond Age, this book features another female kicking butt.
Parasol Protectorate, Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti has no soul. She’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. She is (very rudely) attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
Told you I was a sucker for a steampunk female lead. This book has vampires and werewolves and they make amazing subjects for novels. Pair that with a steampunk background and you’ve got a recipe for a killer story.
There are so many awesome steampunk books that I had a hard time narrowing down my suggestions. I didn’t want to overwhelm you so these three books are a great place to get started with the genre if you’re interested.