The Steam Queen is a steampunk novel that follows eighteen year old anti-hero Erica, who is not your usual hero. She has an extreme fear of dirt and a compulsive need to punish those who wrong her, sometimes going to such extremes that her father can no longer protect her. His solution: sign her up to mercenary team the Steam Queens in the hope that Erica will mature.
Erica does not start off well in the group as she immediately finds fault with all the members of the team, particularly the twins that man the cannon. After her first mission with the Steam Queens goes well they are drafted in to help the girl general, General Cuvelier fight against diesel fan Kaiser Eisenburg. When the battle turns into a full blown war Erica comes to the unsettling conclusion that the leaders of both sides are raving mad.
Worst of all Erica realised that she had gotten herself caught up in the middle of a war between an insane man and a silly little girl playing soldier. A dangerous combination if ever there was one.
When she discovers the horrifying rule of the Kaiser and the mad ambitions of the General she puts her personal fears and punishments on hold to try and stop the thousands of deaths that will inevitably occur if both these leaders accomplish what they want.
Steam Queen first got my attention due to the unusual and memorable main character. Erica is a wonderfully refreshing change, a character you would love to hate but by the end of the book you begrudgingly start to like her. Jack Hessey does a good job at getting the reader to understand Erica’s deranged mindset. In particular, her extreme phobia of dirt is brought across quite well and with Erica what you see is what you get. She doesn’t hide what she is but at the same time that is all she is and sometimes you hope for a few extra layers to Erica.
The storyline has several little plot twists and unexpected revelations which add well to the story. There are some clever little ploys that help to add to the frustration of the characters that anyone can relate to; incompetent leaders, bullies, the person who never shuts up.
Steam Queen was a good book that was an enjoyable read but I found it easy to put down when I needed to. I found Erica to be an interesting hero but not one that I could easily relate to. This could be due to her mentality being one that I am strongly opposed to, others may find her easier to click with, but she was very interesting none-the-less.
Steam Queen is only available as an e-book and this will appeal to readers, particularly those with iPad, Kindle and Sony e-readers. I would recommend Steam Queen to anyone who is just starting out in steampunk although I would have to also be honest and say that there are much better and more intriguing steampunk books and graphic novels out there, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen being an example.
Review by Anna Sheldrick
1 positive reader review(s) for Steam Queen
Sarah from Southwell
I read Steam Queen a few days ago and thought that it was a really fun book. I loved Erica, thought she was a really unique character. She was different than most YA characters in that she has plenty of negative traits and really shouldn't be all that likeable but somehow, she works. Main fault I found with the book was the length, I thought Jack Hessey could have expanded some scenes to add a bit of depth to it and also, some of the secondary characters were a little undeveloped. Still, I thought Steam Queen was a fun little read. Well worth checking out in my opinion.
7.8/10 from 2 reviews