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Hearts of Smoke and Steam

(The Society of Steam #2)

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3.53  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Superheroes and steampunk come together in 19th century New York. 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 brin ...more
Paperback, 327 pages
Published November 2011 by Pyr (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

This is volume two of a new "steampunk meets superheroes" series from Andrew P. Mayer, a rather potboilerish adventure tale about masked vigilantes with fantastical weapons fighting crime in late-1800s New York; I reviewed the first volume last year and found it only so-so, while after finishing this lates
...more
Vanessa
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, steampunk
In THE FALLING MACHINE you were left with a cliffhanger: during the battle with Lord Eschaton, Tom is dismantled and Sarah leaves home after a fight with her father.

In the continuation, HEARTS OF SMOKE AND STEAM begins over a month later. Even though Tom was destroyed, Sarah was able to recover his heart in the chaos. Unfortunately it's broken, and she needs to find someone to repair the heart, but doesn't trust the majority of the people in New York who are able to do it. Her search leads her t
...more
Liviu
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As I will do the full FBC review next week and c/p it, I will limit myself to several points for now:

- the book builds on the first one and while it introduces some new characters, the focus remains on Sarah, Nathaniel and several villains so it's highly useful to read Falling Machine first

- same page turning qualities and all around fun that never descends into farce

- emotional moments, action galore and quite a lot of character growth, while the world building is still top notch

- another sort
...more
JA Garrett
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was very good, very brisk, and the definition of a page turner.

Storyline details (as spoiler free as I can manage, anyway): Sarah Stanton, our intrepid heroine who we last saw running from the scene of a battle that claimed the "life" of Tom the automaton, has discovered that being a hero is a dash of excitement, and a lot of boredom as she scrapes out a living working in a department store, rather than crawling back to her father. She waits for the right chance to put Tom back togethe
...more
Johnny
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: steampunk
I’m glad I decided to read the second volume of this series. Although I was very disappointed in the first volume of this industrial age version of the Justice Society (actually known as the Paragons in the book), I felt like this volume raised the bar from its position near the literary floor. In Hearts of Smoke and Steam, we clearly discover that Andrew P. Mayer isn’t afraid to have body counts only slightly less than those on nightly newscasts during the Vietnam Era. Innocent bystanders, hero ...more
Kim
Apr 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy the second book as much as the first in the series. It felt a bit loosely plotted and weirdly paced. But it was fun and it sets up the rest of the series in a way that makes me excited for the next installment. Of steampunk book series, this is pretty much a must read, IMO.
Milou
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This second book in the series was, just as the first, just okay. It had an amazing premise: Superheroes in a steampunk version of 19th century New York. Sadly the execution let a bit down.

First of all, this series revolves - for me at least - around the Automaton. However, we get to see our beloved Tom only very briefly in this book. Instead we follow some familiar and some new characters during their adventures. Of course Sarah plays another big part in the story, and she is very nice characte
...more
Favour Egbune
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Only thing I really wanted to know reading the entire thing: Where is Tom???

I don't know why, but I had a difficult time keeping focus on this book, maybe because it repeated scenes from different perspectives. Side note, I am truly not a fan of the romantic relationship in this book. It seemed needlessly forced.
Kerry
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Published 2011. Stronger than #1 in the series I would say. Higher development on character and plot. I'm reading #3 right now and I would call this a transitional period for the author as 3 is even more developed and mature in contrast to the other two.
Jeffrey Henning
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A decent read! Some of the plot was pretty easy to see far in advance, but the characters were very good.
Leah
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
It didn't capture my attention
Odin
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
After having reviewed Blackdog by K.V. Johansen, I was eager to check out a couple more books in Pyr's catalog. For (probably) obvious reasons, I am very interested in Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan. However, that title hasn't arrived in my mailbox yet, and I happened to have a copy of Hearts of Smoke and Steam at hand..

So on to the review.

Synopsis: 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 an
...more
Anthony
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review to follow in a day or two (thought I'd write it tonight but life sorta got in the way).

Finally, here's my thoughts:

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, THE FALLING MACHINE, which review can be found HERE. Thus, I had high expectations for the sequel, and Andrew Mayer didn't let me down. Middle books of trilogies often drag and feel incomplete on their own, but Mayer capably side-steps this issue for the most part. Yes, there's still a bit of a cliffhanger, but the main threads
...more
Barbara ★
I had issues with The Falling Machine but I liked the concept enough and the cliff-hanger ending forced me to continue the series with Hearts of Smoke and Steam. But alas it wasn't to be.

This one is more action-packed but the dialogue is trite and cliched and too comic-book-like to be enjoyable for this lover of the written word. I could actually visualize the POW-ZING-BANG of the fist smashing into someone's head just like you'd see in a comic. I've never been interested in comics and find the
...more
Fred Hughes
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is Book Two of The Society of Steam series but is more like Part Two of the story started in Book One called The Falling Man. Great Steampunk Stories

Starting off where book one ended the story teller just carries on with what was started in Book One. There are no references back to Book One that would assist a new reader however saying that although the story arc of GOOD (The Paragons) versus evil (Lord Eschaton and his Children of Eschaton).

Sarah Stanton is one of the few remaining Paragon
...more
Lili
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
I really liked it, I didn't think it was quite as good as the first book, it suffered from the typical 'second book in a trilogy' syndrome but it was still a very enjoyable read. I LOVE the idea of Steampunk superheroes, their costumes and personas are wonderfully inventive. Watching Sarah's growth and fulfillment of her dreams while trying to keep the evil Villains from completing their goals is an adventure. My biggest complaints are this, I don't feel like the villains get enough story time, ...more
Bruce
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Fans of the first book in this series will not be disappointed as Mayer delivers more surprises with the fates of established characters, introduction of new characters, and big steampunk settings.

Perhaps my favorite part of these books is the characterization of the main villian-- he's coming from an interesting place that is a commentary on our current times. I hope that Mr. Mayer will continue to develop these ideas and provide a conclusion to the trilogy that is both transformative for the m
...more
Phillip
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Andrew P. Mayer trumps himself in this second volume of his "Society of Steam" series. The action between the Children of Eschaton and the Paragons (and at least one of their children) ramps up creating exciting confrontations as they all vie for possession of the Heart of the automaton, Tom.

New characters are introduced providing depth to the storyline and color to the action. Some of the main characters find themselves rethinking their motives, adding depth to their journey, a journey that sti
...more
edifanob
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books, 2012-reads
Based on the information I had this should be the second part of a duology.

If this is true then I would have given not more than two stars because too many opened questions left.

I'm grumpily today and that is not good when I comes to ratings.
Anyway Hearts of Smoke and Steam deserves four stars.
It is definitely steampunk punk with a hint of love story.
Mitchell
Steampunk superhero team - not something I've read before - set in New York City. Kind of a fun Endeavour Award read. Had a weird stylistic thing that you'd see a scene from two different characters point of view, first one then the other - can't say I liked the trick but I rarely like stylistic stuff. This one was book#2, I don't think book#3 has been published yet.
Brian
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Did not end as abrupt and odd as the first book but it still feels as if this could be a better story if it was condensed or collected in one omnibus rather then split into different books. That being said it is still quite the enjoyable read with an interesting take on super heroes in the Victorian era. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment.
Gail
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
A light read. Read book one probably a year ago. One device that I liked was that the author would go back in the time line in the next chapter in the perspective of a different character and then pass the latest revealed plot in time, so you end up reading about the same event in more than one character's perspective.
Amy
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I think I'm now officially hooked on this series. There's something delightful about it. The bad guy is quite bad but he's got a careless way of going about it.
The heroes of the story are fairly straight-forwardly good. They do have their doubt's, etc.
Then the rest of the characters fall either into definitely bad or most decidedly gray...with good intentions but less-than-ideal moral bases.
Elizabeth Dodd
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Book 2 of the story
I took a while getting to this in my TBR pile. Silly me--I should have gotten to it sooner.
What great fun!
Can she revitalized her automaton man? Should she?
Who are all these seemingly evil people messing about?
Is Sarah really the last of her line?
If you like steam punk, you will like this. A lot.
Bruce
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Ok, so this one is definitely the middle one in the trilogy. It's got new characters, a resetting from the events of the first book, and lots of setup for the next. It's also kind of a mess, and more than a little meandering.

That said, there were some different things for the characters to do, and I am genuinely interested in what will happen next.

I hope there's a rousing finish!
Gregory Gay
Hearts of Smoke and Steam is a great read. Good, fast-paced Victorian superhero adventure.

It's the middle of a trilogy, so you should definitely go back and read the first book if you're interested in the concept. These are really fun books.
Eric
Feb 04, 2012 rated it liked it
To paraphrase Anubis, the masked adventurer (and book critic): "I have judged you, Hearts of Smoke and Steam, and I have found you worthy!"

Full review here: http://superheronovels.wordpress.com/...

...more
Cecilia Rodriguez
Aug 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: andrew-p-mayer
This book picks up where the first left off. The first paragraph has the story already in progress.
The Paragons are symptomatically murdered, at the same time, Sarah is attempting to adjust to life as an independent woman.
The plot has a budding romance and ends with a cliff hanger.
Richard
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Another good read by Mr. Mayer. And once again dying to read the next book.
Jess
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Much better than the series opener, and I'm looking forward to a future installment. The characters are better developed here, and I love the addition of Emilio. Good fun.
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53 followers
Andrew P. Mayer is an author and video game designer.

His first novel series, the acclaimed steampunk superhero trilogy, The Society of Steam, was published by Pyr books.

He has published two volumes of "The Fool", a cross-dimensional fantasy series, and is currently hard at work on a new epic fantasy series.

Andrew currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where he crafts his novels on cloudy days.

Other books in the series

The Society of Steam (3 books)
  • The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam, #1)
  • Power Under Pressure (The Society of Steam, #3)

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