Steamborn by Eric R. Asher : An Audiobook Review

Jacob, a tinker’s apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.

A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob’s closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city’s elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city

It’s been about four years or so since I first stumbled across this book on Netgalley when looking for something new to read, and since I just recently listened to the audiobook again I decided it was about time I write the audiobook review I apparently never got around to writing. So first I have to say that Steamborn by Eric R. Asher is just as fun and amazing and as I remember it to be from the first time I read it, though I think I may have actually enjoyed listening to the audiobook even more than I did reading it. I made the mistake of starting my recent Steamborn audiobook binge at work and had to turn it off because I was focusing more on the book than on the work I was supposed to do.

Even though I’ve probably read this book a half a dozen times or more since it released, I was still struck by how well-written it is and how richly detailed the world and characters of Steamborn are. Out of all the post-apocalyptic or steampunk books I’ve read over the years I think I can easily say that Steamborn is my favorite. I just love how honest and hopeful the majority of the characters in Steamborn are. Even when things get dark and depressing for the characters, they refuse to sit down and just give in to fear or hopelessness and I just love that.

While I love just about everything about Steamborn, I still think that its characters are what stands out about it the most. Jacob is easily one of my favorite protagonists of all time. The relationship between him, his mentor Charles, and that of his best friend Alice really make the story I think. The way they interact with each other and the way their relationships grow and evolve is just fantastic and never ceases to amaze me.

Now I don’t usually review books twice like this, but I thought the audiobook really deserves a review of its own. It’s been a while since I’ve been so impressed by a narrator like I was with this book. Saskia Maarleveld did a completely fantastic job narrating this book — I thought she gave every character their own unique voice and managed to put so much emotion into her narration that you can practically feel everything that Jacob and his friends feel. I feel like she could have read the manual to my television and I still would have been amazed by her narration. I’ll definitely be looking at what other books she narrates whenever I decide to look for a new audiobook to listen to.

Steamborn will always be one of those books that I recommend to just about everyone whether they normally like steampunk or not, and I think the audiobook just makes it even more enjoyable.

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