Steampunk book looks at the struggle of politics

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Amber Sky by Claire Warner - a steampunk YA review on Reading List

The whole steampunk genre fascinates me.  The meshing of technology with classic lifestyles somehow always grabs my eye.  As a result, I tend to pick them up before really checking out the concept of the story... which means I have high expectations on nothing to do with the actual story.  And for that, well these books tend to not live up to my expectations.

Have you read any steampunk?

I love the costumes that show up for cosplay and festivals focused on them.  The dapper looking attire, hats, veils, dresses, shoes... all embellished with pocket watch chains, rivets, chains, gears... They tend to read like a fun mix of history and fantasy which give authors so many possibilities...




Amber Sky by Claire Warner - a steampunk YA review on Reading List


Amber Sky

Claire Warner




Story Overview 

Tay is focused on one thing - keeping her brother and her sister fed now that her father had been sent to the hard labor of the mines - also known as a death sentence for those of the working class who did not obey the powers that be. She couldn't waste one moment on discussions of rebellion, the same rebellion that had resulted in the death of her mother years before. 

She desperately needs the help of someone with more power, maybe the son of the Overseer of the mines and punishment of criminals. But risking her life keeps her fear evident as she approaches him for help. Reminding herself this is for her brother and sister is the only bit that keeps her courageous enough to attempt the request for help.  She is more than surprised when the Overseer's son, Darius, agrees to help her.  Of course, that surprise is quickly replaced with fear of the cost.

As Tay does her best to obey, and earn the rations her family desperately needs, she quickly realizes she is in the middle of the rebellion she refused to be part of for so long. 

Personal Likes

I enjoyed the details about the clothes and the rooms.  The idea of the steampunk aspect of the story in the setting was achieved quite well. It was a fun story to feel transported to a location that felt similar to England in a time past... yet so different than any actual place.

I also was a fan of the fact that Tay was focused mostly her family.  She doesn't get sidetracked with love, or the need to be loved by someone. She just tries her best to earn her keep in order to support her family.  It was refreshing.

The importance of family stood with Darius and his sister, Lyana - and that was also refreshing. So many YA books are centered on love stories that family dynamics suffer.

Amber Sky by Claire Warner - a steampunk YA review on Reading List


Personal Dislikes

This book was rough.  It felt like it was still in a draft stage, as there were abrupt scene changes in different chapters. And then for pages, it would feel like we were heading straight for a major plothole, only to suddenly have one odd sentence that "fixed" the hole completely, while not really fitting in the scene.

And then, because of the genre, there is an expectation of the language the characters use.  Proper, classic English is expected, at least extremely proper manners being attempted.  And yet, there were a ton of modern phrases that were out of place and too many colloquial words that broke the feel of the setting.



Reading List Rating


I am giving this book three hearts, barely. Partly because I have high expectations for this genre, no matter what. And partly because of the family focus.  But there are some serious issues with the plot and hope the characters will be more developed in the next book. 






My Suggested Audience

This book fits well in the YA/teen genre.  Tay is a teenager - even if she has to take on the life of an adult early - the reality in many of this genre. And the topics at hand are never so graphic as to make me worry about the appropriate age level.  Teens should be drawn into this setting and concept, even if the story structure makes my more mature vantage cringe.

There are many points of politic corruption, lack of human rights, and struggle throughout the book. 






Wondering Questions to Consider

Steampunk novels are nice opportunities to bring up conversations about technology.  How fast in recent years humanity has advanced technology, where it came from, and the impact it has had on people and the world?  This particular story opens up many opportunities to discuss the importance of carrying for your family.  For teens, how much would you give up to care for your family?  What kind of provisions have parents put together for their kids in the event of a tragedy?  Or take the avenue of discussing how much responsibility a government has to care for its people before it becomes too powerful?



Amber Sky by Claire Warner - a steampunk YA review on Reading List




Are you a Steampunk fan? What is your favorite as I am always looking for some great recommendations? 

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!


Marissa @ Reading List








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**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author & publisher, through NetGalley as a gift. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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