Reading Recap: Paranormal and Steampunk YA

My grad school class has wrapped up, and so I’m back to blogging.  I read a sampling of paranormal and steampunk YA. These are all backlist titles that I’d missed, and I do feel that even though none of them are new personal favorites for me, it does give me some more options for recommendations and readers’ advisory to patrons who will really enjoy them.

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Steampunk! AnthologySteampunk!: An Anthology edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant
GoodreadsAmazon

The anthology contains steampunk stories from a variety of well-known authors. I am generally not a fan of short stories collections from a variety of authors, although I do enjoy single author compilations of literary fiction. I find most short stories, especially those in genre fiction, don’t have enough space to fully develop a world. In my opinion, short stories are best enjoyed when they just have really great sentences or a well-developed sense of irony. Even though I’ve enjoyed novels by a few of the authors who contributed to this anthology, I wasn’t impressed by these stories.

However, I think they serve as a good introduction to the steampunk genre, and a few of them would be fine as read-alouds. We occasionally read short stories aloud to to teens at the juvenile detention center, and these might work for one of those outreach visits.

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Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBrideHold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Goodreads | Amazon

I thought this was an interesting choice for the Morris Award a couple years ago but just got around reading it. This is a book I will regularly recommend to readers who love Supernatural (the TV show), aren’t squeamish, and want something funny. I enjoyed this book, but also thought it was overly long, which could turn off some readers. I enjoyed the sections in first person much more than the third person perspective sections, which lacked the humor and voice. I loved the puns and sarcasm, and especially enjoyed the musical references.

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Wake by Lisa McMannWake by Lisa McMann
Goodreads | Amazon 

I had read almost every optional book for this week, so I picked this one because it was an older title and had an interesting premise. Why I can see a lot of teen appeal, it wasn’t a book that I enjoyed. There were some plot holes and the characters felt underdeveloped. The first person third tense is strange, and not something I’ve read before. It might take more getting used to — I remember reading first person present for the first time (that I really noticed) and it felt strange. The quick pace and short length make this an ideal recommendation to fans of the paranormal who are not interested in vampires, werewolves, or zombies and might also work for reluctant readers.

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The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady CrossThe Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
GoodreadsAmazon

I thought I’d give this one a try, too, but I wanted to give up after 30 or 40 pages because the writing just got on my nerves. I think it was the style—the third person with constantly shifting perspectives felt more like a romance novel. The fact that it opened with an attempted sexual assault that was nothing more than a plot device didn’t endear me to it. I have read Clockwork Angel, and can appreciate the addictive, escapist quality of it, and this might work for fans of Cassandra Clare, but I don’t think it’s quite as “good.”

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Have you read any of these? What did you think? What older steampunk or paranormal YA titles do you think deserve more attention?

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