Steampunk is a unique and fascinating sci-fi subgenre. It can include time travel, alternate histories, romance, magic, or even vampires. As long as the books incorporate some details that suggest technology never developed past the industrial steam-powered machinery, authors can truly let their imagination sparkle.
Although this creative freedom is one thing that makes steampunk novels so great, it can be hard to separate the good from the poorly written ones.
Because we know how frustrating it can be to find the best steampunk novels, we’ve created this short but helpful guide.
Take a look!
What You Need to Know About Steampunk Novels
A lot of people confuse steampunk with fantasy novels. Pay attention to these factors below if you want to find an authentic steampunk story.
- Look in the Science Fiction Section. Since it’s a subgenre of science fiction, it’s not unusual for steampunk novels to be listed as sci- Even if the library or online store has a section dedicated to steampunk, it’s still worth to search the science fiction category. You never know what treasures you might come across in your search.
- When in Doubt, Turn to the Classics. The term steampunk first appeared around 1987, so you might think it’s obvious to look for books published starting that year. Well, not necessarily. If you’d like to get acquainted with some of the first steampunk stories, then you should go back about 130 years and begin with the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
- Do Your Research. If you’re new to this genre and don’t know what to expect or look for, then it’s paramount you do proper research before purchasing a book. Learn more about the author, check some online reviews, and read a few paragraphs or pages, if possible. That way, you’ll get a more accurate picture of what you’re buying.
Top 10 Steampunk Novels Comparison Chart
|1. Cassandra Clare Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices)||Fantasy||$$||4.6|
|2. Philip Pullman The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials||Fantasy||$$||4.5|
|3. Naomi Novik His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1)||Alternate History||$$$$||4.5|
|4. Erin Morgenstern The Night Circus||Fantasy/Mystery||$$||4.4|
|5. H G Wells The Time Machine||Alternate History||$||4.4|
|6. Peter Clines 14||Fantasy/Horror||$$$||4.3|
|7. Gail Carriger Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)||Fantasy/Horror||$$$||4.3|
|8. Shelley Adina Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices) (Volume 1)||Victorian||$$$||4.3|
|9. Paolo Bacigalupi The Windup Girl||Alternate History||$$$||3.9|
|10. Dima Zales The Sorcery Code: A Fantasy Novel of Magic, Romance, Danger, and Intrigue (Volume 1)||Fantasy||$$$||3.9|
How to Find the Perfect Steampunk Novel
This section will get you one step closer to the right steampunk novel for your reading desires.
- Steampunk Isn’t Synonymous With “Victorian Fantasy.” Most steampunk novels take place back when steam power was the most advanced source of energy. However, don’t just assume that the novel isn’t worth your time if the story isn’t set in Victorian England.
More and more steampunk books are now set in more modern periods and different countries. However, what matters is that, regardless of the period or world, steam power is the catalyst for all the advances presented in the book, from computers to robots and rocket ships.
- Pay Attention to the Settings. As mentioned above, it’s rather easy to identify a good steampunk novel if you know what to look for from the beginning. Some of the most common settings include alternative worlds, post-apocalyptic, American West, fantasy, horror, and Victorian. Try to get a taste of each category to determine which stories take your fancy.
- Be Patient. The latest editions are also the most expensive ones. If you come across a novel that you’d like to buy, but don’t have the budget, wait a couple of months. You’ll see that once others have taken their place at the top, its price will go down significantly.
Top 3 Best Steampunk Novels Reviews
Clockwork Angel is the overall highest rated steampunk novel by most readers. Part of The Infernal Devices series, this novel is a true work of art that contains vivid descriptions of Victorian England, supernatural creatures and a plot that will engage even the pickiest reader in a heartbeat.
Cassandra Clare is a prolific author that has written over twenty books. With a unique writing style, this author describes adventures and characters in a way that can transport you in the middle of the action.
The Clockwork Angel tells Tessa Gray’s story, a girl who travels the world in search of her brother. As she gets to London, she discovers that the world is run by fantastical creatures, such as vampires and warlocks. After a secret organization kidnaps her, Tessa learns that she possesses supernatural powers too.
The plot takes a turn, and the suspense increases when Tessa finds herself having to choose between saving her brother or her friends.
If you are looking for a book that will captivate and transport you to a magical world run by sorcerous and fantastic creatures, then The Clockwork Angel is one of the best steampunk novels you can read.
This award-winning novel was published in 40 countries and turned in 2007 into a movie. That’s because the book is so good that you start to question yourself whether magic and parallel universes aren’t, in fact, real.
The Golden Compass is the first novel of the series His Dark Materials and presents the journey of a small girl called Lyra. She decides to go to the far, cold North to look for her friend, Roger, who was stolen by Gobblers. In this unfamiliar place filled with dangers at every step, Lyra discovers that the world is a truly magical place.
This novel is a masterpiece that will amaze you, keep you in suspense, and carry you into a different world.
Dragons, warriors, and epic battles come together in this novel that promises to give you the adventure of a lifetime. This literary work of art will thrill you by taking you into the middle of the 19th century and introducing you to a fantasy world of epic proportions.
Will Laurence, the protagonist of His Majesty’s Dragon, boards on a French ship to capture a dragon’s egg. Due to various circumstances, the egg hatches before time, and Will now finds himself bonding with the magical creature.
If you want to travel to a magical world where man and beast can become friends, His Majesty’s Dragon is a great novel for both teens and adults.