Sir Dennis Darby has been murdered, the Automaton has been destroyed, and Sarah Stanton has turned her back on a life of privilege and comfort to try and find her way in the unforgiving streets of New York. But Lord Eschaton, the villain behind all these events, isn’t finished with her yet. His plans to bring his apocalyptic vision of the future to the world are moving forward, but to complete his scheme he needs the clockwork heart that Sarah still holds.
But she has her own plans for the Automaton’s clockwork heart—Sarah is trying rebuild her mechanical friend, and when she is attacked by The Children of Eschaton, the man comes to her rescue may be the one to make her dreams come true. Emelio Armando is a genius inventor who had hoped to leave his troubles behind when he and his sister left Italy for a life of anonymity in the New World. Now he finds himself falling in love with the fallen society girl, but he is rapidly discovering just how powerful the forces of villainy aligned against her are, and that fulfilling her desires means opening the door to a world of danger that could destroy everything he has built.
THE SOCIETY OF STEAM takes place in a Victorian New York powered by the discovery of Fortified Steam, a substance that allows ordinary men to wield extraordinary abilities, and grant powers that can corrupt gentlemen of great moral strength. The secret behind this amazing substance is something that wicked brutes will gladly kill for, and one that Sarah must try and protect, no matter what the cost.
This book picks up within weeks of where the last book left off. The pace seems faster than “The Falling Machine”. “Hearts of Smoke & Steam” seems a little more focused than book one, and introduces fewer new characters. The comic-book action is still there, and it has that Stan Lee vibe.
With the comic-book vibe, the book should have had some artwork. While I didn’t like the cliffhanger ending of book one, I expected to have a cliffhanger in book two of a three-part series. I’m looking forward to the conclusion in book three.
All in all, Hearts of Smoke and Steam is an exciting neo-victorian page-turner. It has a nice pace, fun superhero action, and everything a steampunk fan would want. I highly recommend it for any steampunk fan.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pyr. 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.”