Reviews,  SJardine

Stormsworn by Eric R. Asher : Review

The finale of the Steamborn series is here!

An echo of war. A fractured alliance. A looming prophecy…

The attack on Ballern caught more than the Skyborn unprepared. Mordair’s sinister agenda has been revealed, leaving countless shattered lives in its wake. He seeks a pact with the Children of the Dark Fire. One that will break the foundation of the alliance.

Archibald and Lady Katherine have split their forces between Karn, Ballern, and the East, leaving them vulnerable to Mordair’s ruthless strikes. Karn prepares to fight beside the Stormborn, leading Jacob and Alice to a nightmarish place known as the Dead Woods. There, the land itself is poisoned, making the air toxic to every creature who dares enter. Secrets lie hidden in an ancient control center, a glimmer of hope in the crushing darkness.

But everything comes at a price.

The forests will burn. The skies will darken. Amid it all, the Stormborn will rise.

I’ve been an avid reader of the steampunk genre for a long time now as its unique blend of victorian aesthetics and futuristic technology always manages to spark my imagination. My main problem with the genre over the years has probably been how difficult I seem to find it to find new books in the genre that I really enjoy. That all stopped in 2015 when I stumbled across Steamborn by Eric R. Asher when I searching for new books to read. I don’t think I made it a quarter of the way through the book before I knew it was going to be one of my favorite book series. Each book seems to get better and better as Eric Asher has created a world rich in details and compelling characters that drag me deeper into the story with each new book. Though I have to say that as the series reaches its finale with Stormsworn I find myself both saddened by the fact that this amazing story is over, an just amazed by how epic the conclusion of the story was.

For me one of the standout qualities of Stormsworn (And the Steamborn series as a whole) is the depth and believability of its characters. Despite what has becoe quite a sprawling cast, Asher skillfully ensures that each character receives ample development and screentime, allowing them to grow and evolve over the course of the book. Whether its Jacobs genius and ingenuity or Furi’s unwavering resolve to protect her friends, every character’s journey is carefully woven into the fabric of the plot. This character attention to the characters really enhances the emotional stakes for me and makes their triumps all that more triumphant. Even more amazing is that Asher also manages to create an expansively detailed world with some really vivid imagery that helps bring the steampunk setting to life. Combine those two aspects together and you have a story that truly immerses the readers fully, ensuring that every twist and turn of the plot is even more engaging.

One of the many things that Asher excels at in this book is delving into the technical aspect of the tinkers and inventors of the Steamborn series , bring all of the various steampunk creations to lie with a great deal of creativity andd clarity. Each gadget and creation that gets described in a way that showcases the inventive genius of Jacob and the other tinkers while still maintaining a fast-paced and engaging narrative. It’s one of the things that has always surprised me about  these books as Asher manages to describe all these creations without stumbling into the pitfall of becoming bogged down in overly complex technical jargon as so many of the steampunk books I’ve read do. I don’t know of any other book in the genre who can describe so many mechical limbs or elaborate airships without having me fall asleep halfway through the description the way the Steamborn series does.’

While I’m sad that the Steamborn series is drawing to a close with Stormsworn I do find myself excited by the opportunity I have to recommend a completed and damn near perfect series to people. The detailed plot, well-developed characters, and immersive worldbuidling really make this series stand out in the steampunk genre and I can’t recommend it enough. I also can’t wait for the audiobook release later this year. Saskia Maarleveld is an exceptional narrator who will help breathe even more life into the story and enhance the exprience of reading it for me even more. I will say that I do hope that one day Asher will revisit this amazing world with a followup series and show us what happens in the world some generations in the future. All in all, I would say that Stormsworn stands as a testament to the enduring llure of steampunk as a genre and the talents of its amazing author.

Find me in that Steamworn grave.

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