Normally, I don’t do a lot of reviews on this blog; actually, I think this is the first time I’ve ever posted a book review on this site, ever, much less book reviews about steampunk.
And I’ll admit, I’m not really a super steampunk fan. I’ve never really been into it, even though I’ve appreciated the aesthetics of the genre. It’s always struck me as a primarily aesthetic movement/trend, which is not bad, but just not something that interested me.
But I like helping other authors and I know that one of the best ways to do that is by writing reviews of their books. And Jon Del Arroz is an author I’ve come to know and like over the last few months, especially his posts on the comic book industry.
So when his new book, For Steam and Country, came out, I decided to pick up a copy and check it out. I already read and enjoyed his first book, Star Realms: Rescue Run, so I decided I’d like to see how he’d handle a more fantasy-oriented novel.
With that out of the way, let’s move onto the review itself:
For Steam and Country is a steampunk novel (the first book of the Baron von Monocle series) set in a world where steam powers most forms of technology, such as the airship, Liliana. It stars young Zaira von Monocle, a young farm girl who inherits the aforementioned airship from her adventurer father, who has been pronounced dead, and soon finds herself drawn into a war between her home kingdom of Rislandia and the powerful but cruel Wyranth Empire.
It’s a fast-paced, action-packed novel with plenty of interesting characters, plot twists, and ideas that keep your attention from start to finish. I read the whole book in about a week in between sets at the gym and always looked forward to reading it when I put down my Kindle each day.
My favorite character was probably Toby, Zaira’s pet ferret. I’m not sure why, but I really enjoyed his antics in the book. I also liked James, Zaira’s childhood friend, and am interested in seeing his development in the next books.
As for negatives, I don’t really have any major complaints with this book; the characters are good, the plot is solid, worldbuilding makes sense, and everything else is more or less in order. The biggest problem I have is that the copy editing, while generally pretty good, has a few glaring issues here and there, but it’s not bad enough to detract from the story itself, so this is a pretty small thing, all things considered.
Overall, For Steam and Country is an excellent steampunk novel and book in general and I enjoyed it even more than Del Arroz’s Star Realms novel. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys steampunk or fast-paced fantasy adventure novels and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the characters and plot in the following books.