Heart of Veridon (The Burn Cycle, #1)
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Heart of Veridon (The Burn Cycle #1)

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Jacob Burn: pilot, criminal and disgraced son of one of the founding families of the ancient city of Veridon. When an old friend delivers to him a strange artifact, Jacob's world crashes down around him as he runs not only from the law but also from those who were once friends. But even as the array of machines and strange creatures stalk him through the streets of Veridon...more
Paperback, 473 pages
Published 2009 by Solaris
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4 Stars

This is a very enjoyable steampunk novel that has a bit more science fiction than it does alternative history. It is an intimate story about a former pilot named Jacob Burns (Pilots are augmented people that are as much machine as they are flesh and blood which enables them to interface and thus fly zeppelins) all told in the first person.

Much of the book takes place in the strange city of Veridon and centers on the struggles of the Church of the Algorithm versus the Artificers. Although...more
Heart of Veridon is an entertaining genre mix set in a highly imaginative world. Foremost it is a Steampunk novel with zepliners flying through the air and many protagonists having complicated clockwork augmentations done to their body.
But this Steampunk scenario isn't based in London or the weird west, it's set in a imaginative fantasy city, the name giving metropolis Veridon. We have strange gods or the non-human race of the anansi, a human-spider hybrid.
Not everything about this world is comp...more
Superb debut; after reading the free fiction set in Veridon on the author's site a while ago, I kind of forgot about this marvelous setting until I read the short story “A Soul Stitched to Iron” featuring Jacob Burn the dispossessed nobleman, "steampunk cyborg" and former pilot working for organized crime which was a highlight of the superb Solaris Sf 3 for me.

The novel is written in first person with Jacob as a narrator and has a superb opening paragraph that cannot but hook you:

"I was on the...more
D. B.
A bizarre, somewhat disturbing mash-up of steampunk and cyberpunk, minus the usual Victorian malaise. The Veridon of the title is a massive, Rome-like city straddling two mighty rivers, on an otherwise undeveloped and unnamed Earth-like world. The level of technology is post-Industrial Revolution; zeppelins, repeating projectile weapons, and steam-powered whatever, but an upstart religion, the Church of the Algorithm, has caused a second, premature revolution by scavenging discarded technology d...more
Waffled back and forth between two and three stars for this one. I felt like I should have liked this book a lot more than I did. It's got an interesting set-up and the world is something that would typically interest me. It's got several intriguing races living in a city powered by magical clockwork. It almost seems a bit reminiscent of China Mieville's Bas-Lag, which is one of my favorite worlds. Still I mostly felt bored reading this book. It jumps right into the action and there's nearly non...more
I almost didn't read this. Why would anyone mark this as young adult is beyond me. This is not a young adult novel. There is absolutely nothing young adult about it.

Heart of Veridon is written in the first person.
Jacob Burn is a criminal working for a very powerful crime lord in Veridon. He is an exiled son of one of the nobles. He and his father haven’t seen each other for a long time. Somehow, he finds himself on a zepliner whose whole crew gets slaughtered and an old friend entrusts him wit...more
Edward McFadden
Heart of Veridon started strong, but for a book that’s considered a seminal work in the steampunk/fantasy genre, I was a little disappointed. There are some very cool ideas in the book, but rather than explore them in any depth the author chose to insert action scene after action scene. When I finished the book I felt like I had been in one long knife fight. It’s a chase book, with a little mystery thrown in. Strong sf elements. The zeppelins…I don’t know. They can do all kinds of cool things wi...more
Ian James
a great Gear Punk book
This is a book I cannot review objectively, as I know the author and his work before he wrote the book. Also I tend to score much lower than the typical Goodreads reviewer.

Although it is formally steampunk, with an emphasis on body modification, it reminds me more than anything of the Victorian adventure novels, more Rider Haggard than Verne. Which for me is the right influence for steampunk. A down on his luck but honourable (and tougher than nails) protagonist. A plucky damsel that no matter h...more
Linda Jaejoong
Endlich habe ich mich an das Steampunk Genre getraut und ich wurde nicht enttäuscht. "Das Herz von Veridon" ist eine spannende Erzählung die sich um den Gauner und Ex-Piloten Jacob Burn dreht. Er ist auf der Rückreise von einem Auftrag und freut sich schon wieder nach Veridon zu kommen, aber es kommt anders als er denkt. Die Reise mit dem Zepplin endet blutig und er ist der einzige Überlebende des Absturzes. Was hat es mit dem geheimen Mechagen auf sich das er an Bord erhält?? Warun wollen so vi...more
_Heart of Veridon_ is an enjoyable pulp crime story that takes place in an excellent steampunk fantasy setting.

At first, it isn't clear how the fantasy aspect matters. When an artifact of unknown significance falls into the hands of downfallen ex-pilot and small-time criminal Jacob Burn, people start trying to kill him. He doesn't know why. He doesn't understand who is after him. He's not sure whom he can trust. And for a while, it doesn't particularly matter that he is a steampunk cyborg in a c...more
A really interesting premise, but I don't know, the romance sucked? The beginning was really good, and got me hooked, but then I progressively became less interested. I guess that's not true, I had spurts of caring, followed by stretches of why should I care? The end was just pointless, at least it seemed that way to me. Wait, I gave this four stars, and I've only complained.
No, I really did like the beginning. And the whole concept of pilot hearts. That was pretty interesting. The secrets and i...more
Corey Frampton
A remarkable debut novel from an author that I would very much like to see more of.

Written in a sort of steampunk/cyborg city, similar in feel to the City of Deepgate from Alan Campbell's Deepgate Codex. The concepts behind the book are very clear from the outset and it makes for a very enjoyable read.

My only complaint regarding the book, and the reason it's getting 3 stars instead of 4 or 5 is that the latter half of the book feels a bit rushed. The ending, while good, should have been done ou...more
The quality of airship pilot training requires improvement. Our hero crashes 3 of them.

He is in addition an unfeeling criminal type, who shoots his way through 10s of police and assorted associates and friends, beats up old folk and hangs out with spider people. Everyone in the city dislikes him, is spying on him, actively trying to kill him, or trying to steal a mechanical Cog from him.

I like the biomechanical technology, the old gods and the new engineered replacement, the mysterious source ci...more
A. Merc Rustad
So. It has a great premise, it's gearpunk, and it's got lots of shiny in the world building (parasitic clockwork angels! airships! worms that create living dead in the river!). I began reading really wanting to like this, because in theory it has many things that Merc loves.

It bored me to tears. I tried to get over the issues of voice and flat characterization and the rough edges. I really, really tried to find something to engage in. (I did like Wilson, in the sense I found him to have the hope...more
I really like this guy's writing. Great style and I love the worlds he has created. At the beginning of this book I found myself wondering if his very different ideas were going to work, but I need not have worried, as the world made more sense the more new aspects were revealed. I recommend this book and am on the lookout for more of Tim's books to devour. I am looking forward to seeing the world developed further, especially those things that were just touched upon. Like the bugs! And the rive...more
It's a puzzling book. or maybe it's a puzzle book.
Steampunkish, reveling in its disturbing juxtaposition of people and cogs, religion and the grimy underworld and the aristocracy of the founders of Veridon.

There were some great ideas in here, and the setting is wonderfully weird, but the characters felt flat to me even as they got pulled into the whorls of a deep and deeper conspiracy. Too deep; I stopped feeling shocked early on and just waved the hero onward as he got into more trouble.

Sadly, one of the foremost thoughts in my mind is that th...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this mix up of steampunk and noir. Flawed protagonist. Crazy creatures. Mystery. Love interest. Cogs. Machines. Zeppelins. Betrayal. Politics. Beautifully choreographed action. Unique world building. This book has it all.

The only thing keeping it from 5 stars is some of the secondary characters don't quite round out for me. They seem there just to move the story along or to give the protagonist something to react to.

A very minor detail that didn't keep me from enjoying the...more
Petra Eriksson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Really good, and not what I was expecting. The book is sort of a steampunk-noire, balls out action style book. Most of it operates more on Rule of Cool, and if you think too hard about how the society and technology actually function, it does start to come apart.

It's a pretty fast paced, exciting ride and the plot really moves along at a steady pace. The world is explored and secrets are uncovered, no foreshadowing b.s. or dragging confrontations out for a later book in the series.
This was a fascinating story of a world where people could be engineered, either permanently or temporarily, to look like something else, or to have certain skills, through the use of "cogs". The hero is a failed pilot (his mechanism was faulty)working for a criminal boss. He gets entangled in a political/relgious struggle, and along the way learns about his own past and associates. I found some parts of the ending confusing, but overall it was very well written and enjoyable.
A great and fast read (as in: a real page-turner that makes you want to come back to the story asap, NOT a book with 10 pages ;)) that immediately made me feel at home.

Placed somewhere between the universes of Thief & Dishonored (the video games), but it's not a mere regurgitation of steampunk/gearpunk cliches. It has a strong flavour and voice of its own. Jacob Burn is a great anti-hero, and I'll be going back to Veridon, I'm sure!
Kellen Wilson

Gritty and unexpected. I was glad to see a hero character who wasn't a hero. Everything just goes wrong for this main character in almost every way... Love, finances, friendships, and even religion.
The city was very detailed, as was the mechanics of this world. Rich in world building even down to the religions (an area many authors avoid.) Can't wait to read the sequel book.
John Machell
Some fun concepts, but not a must read. Seems like an author's first book.
Tom Kollman
This book was a very pleasant surprise. I started reading with no preconcieved notions and was immediately sucked into the noir/steampunk mystery. I love me some world-building, and the author does just enough--a solid taste of his fantasy city without wallowing in minutia. Big recommendation and looking forward to the sequel.
The reader is dumped straight into an unfamiliar world with unfamiliar rules. Keep reading though and it is all sorted out very satisfyingly.

In general, loved the book. The ending, I suppose, makes sense, but I didn't -like- it.

Can't say more without spoilers. Read it!
Maureen E
I can’t even tell you how long it took me to read this book. I was not wild about it–too much noir detective about the main character. Also, I didn’t care about Emily and I was obviously supposed it. There was some nice imagery, though. [Sept. 2011]
Great characters, had me going right up until the end, and dud. Felt like the end could have really been much better. That said the rest of the book was amazing.
This book was well worth reading. I've always let the 'steampunk' label stop me, but now I wonder what else I've been missing. Great action adventure fantasy novel.
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Tim Akers was born in deeply rural North Carolina, the only son of a theologian. He moved to Chicago for college, where he lives with his wife of thirteen years and their German shepherd. He splits his time between databases and fountain pens.
- PyrSF
More about Tim Akers...
The Horns of Ruin Dead of Veridon (The Burn Cycle #2) Postmodern Magick (Unknown Armies) Dark Kingdom of Jade Adventures (Wraith - the Oblivion) Memories of Copper and Blood

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