If you haven't figured it out already, I'm a huge fan of steampunk. I write it most of the time, and read it when I can get my hands on it. Unfortunately this isn't often - there's a lack of good YA steampunk and I haven't found as much of it as I would like.
(If you didn't know, steampunk is a subgenre of science-fiction that focuses on the steam-powered, clockwork world of the 19th century. It's a very loose genre, so there's lots of different types of steampunk - some take place in the future, some are an alternate historical fiction (like my very own Pariah), some are more sci-fi than others, lots are paranormal, etc. - but all of them tend to feature airships and gears and cogs and clockwork and Victorian-era inspired clothes. It's very cool.)
For you all, I've rounded up my favorite YA steampunks. You've probably seen some of them already, since like I said I haven't been able to find very many. But hopefully some of them are new to you. (I've also linked the titles to their respective Goodreads pages, so you can add them. I'm nice like that sometimes.)
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
This is the big YA steampunk, the one I notice a lot, and it's a perfect example. Leviathan takes place at the beginning of an alternate timeline WWI, which is cool in itself, except to add to that it features steam-powered, gritty war machines and - you'd never guess - genetically-engineered animals. And living airships. It's a very, very odd book, and it's lucky I didn't know all the specifics before or I wouldn't have picked it up. But Westerfeld makes the world believable, somehow, and it's incredibly rich and fantastic. The main characters, feisty and quite simply awesome Deryn and the Austrian prince Aleksander, can hold their own and are actually hilarious, with lots of clever banter and exciting action. (There's not a lot of romance, too, if you care about that.) It's a well-written, complex story, and also happens to be an equally incredible trilogy, so it's definitely worth a read.
Apparently there's more than one of these, but I've only read Airborn, the first, so that's what I'll talk about. It's got a less fantastical, more historical feel than Leviathan, although this one has its share of imaginative creatures, like most steampunk. This one follows the adventures of Matt Cruse, a cabin boy on an airship, and the following escapades of said airship. It's exciting. The characters are good. The writing is wonderful. Airships are cool. There are airship pirates. Need I say more? If you're not into stuff as weird as Leviathan, this one has a similar feel and is just as good.
I just read this one recently, and absolutely loved it. Like most steampunk, it's exceedingly weird. Don't believe me? This is an adaption of Moby-Dick. With giant moles and other giant wildlife. And trains instead of ships. Yeah. It's post-apocalyptic, and there's lots of cool train lore. The writing is odd and different, but in a good way that fits the story. Sham, the main character, isn't your stereotypical character! He's smart and funny and unique and I appreciated him a great deal. He also has a pet bat. It's wonderful. This one's a good fun read - I got through it in a day - if you can get past the totally bizarre world.
I reviewed this book just last week, as a matter of fact. This one, like Railsea, takes place in a quite bizarre future sci-fi world, but there's a good helping of steampunkiness, too. You can see the review for more information, but it features a steampunk prison and ah-may-zing characters and a totally epic, totally bewildering world with a twisty story. It's great!
As usual, this book is totally bizarre. Like, really bizarre. This one, as far as I can tell, is some kind of alternate England sort of thing, featuring junkheaps that move and a boy who can talk to objects and well, I won't ruin the surprise for you. It's rich (as is a theme with steampunk) and full to the brim with interesting objects. The writing's weird, but it fits the weird and quirky and altogether likable characters that inhabit the world. It makes you want to explore! Another good fun one.
This one is a little less steampunk than the others, but great all the same. It's darker, too. It's about Conor, who I personally really admired, a young man who's wrongfully pronounced a traitor and thrown into a dank, horrible prison. The catch? This hopeless prison is on an island, and the only way off is to fly. So Conor works on putting together a flying machine, and it's very impressive. It's set in Ireland, and it has sort of a...salty feel to it. I haven't read this one in a while, but I do remember loving it.
What about you? Are you a fan of steampunk, or no? Have you read any of the books above? What did you think about them? Have I convinced you to read any of the books above? Comment away. Let's talk steampunk.
You can find my Goodreads here, so we can talk books even more! I'd love to discuss and share with you all.
(Note: My short story project, A Year of Short Stories, is up and live! Do consider checking it out. I'll love you forever and ever if you do.)