Steel & Sky

Author: Ren Cummins
Series: Tales of the Dead Man

Age/Audience: Tweens

Genre/Style: Adventure

Read If You Like: Steampunk that reads like fantasy, Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn


When an airship captain, a blind man, a girl child, and an adorable creature called Trill arrive at Firnis Eld to steal a corpse nothing seems amiss. The arrive in port via the airship Lamprey just in time of the big festival, the perfect distraction. They have tools, and they have a prophecy to guide them, they have a plan. That is until the find out that corpse isn’t dead. Perhaps things will go anything but according to plan.

The world in which Firnis Eld exists is full of steampunk universe, however that universe is not to my personal taste. While the technology is impressive, I found myself remembering all elements of the story except that technology. Each steampunk element or plot point always seems to be paired with (and often over shadowed by) a biological creation or cultural point that make a much bigger impact than the tech in the background. The cultural and biological pieces in Steel & Sky are creative and pleasantly complex, however that’s not what I look for when I read steampunk: I prefer science-fiction to science/fantasy.


Bottom Line:

While perhaps not my personal favorite item promoted on this website, it has inspired me to seek out Mr. Cummins’ other steampunk work, Chronicles of Aesirium, to see if those are written more to my taste. I do suggest this book for tween or HiLo teen readers who might find traditional steampunk in Victorian English too stuffy. It’s also a great suggestion to bring fantasy readers into the genre.


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Also a huge THANK YOU to Mr. Cummins for gifting me a review copy of the book. I enjoyed it!

Have your own thoughts on the book? Share them in the comments bellow or via Twitter @Steamlib and @rencummins