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(Steamborn #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,321 ratings  ·  185 reviews
Jacob, a tinker's apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.

A swarm overruns the walls and wre
Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published November 29th 2015
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Rachel Stansel There are two sequels! Steamforged and Steamsworn. Both are only 3.99 for kindle :)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,321 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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Joey Woolfardis
Read as part of the Get Through The Crap On Your Kindle You Stubborn Eejit reading challenge.

Ancora is a city perched in the mountains to protect its citizens from the monster far below. Jacob and Alice live in the slum area and witness daily raids by one or two of the smaller monsters: giant, swarming spiders that are getting more bold with every passing year.

The introduction to the premise of the novel was slow and boring and there was a distinct lack of atmosphere. Ancora, the city, sounds w
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shadowdenizen by: NetGalley
Steampunk, though it's certainly been around for quite some time, is one of the hot new genres to check out, and "Steamborn" (the first book in a new trilogy by Eric Asher) is absolutely a stand-out new addition to the genre!

A fast-paced, exciting read, this book is engaging on many levels, and is suitable for fantasy/steampunk fans of all ages.

As the first book in a new series, it does a solid job of introducing both the characters and the world, and setting up the conflicts that are the crux
Bedelya (clockwork.bookdragon) Moreno-Roth
Wow what an incredible steampunk adventure! I loved all the mechanical marvels. The author did an excellent job describing them. I would love to have a pair of those sliding gloves the MC Jacob uses.

I was a bit unnerved by the intricate details of the horrifyingly large bugs that populate the world alongside humans. I don’t think I would be fond of a horse sized spider. I hate creepy crawly things.

Even with gross bugs, this story was very enjoyable and I would highly recommend it any steampunk
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This is a great steampunk novel for middle grade readers. Adults too, I enjoyed this thoroughly. It is full of adventure and the author has a great talent for describing a scene. I will definitely continue to follow this series as the author expands it.

My seven year old son enjoyed this as a read aloud. It was his first long steampunk. I think I have found a fellow family member to share my love of the genre with.
Meenaz Lodhi
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This YA steampunk series is exciting from the beginning, although I’m not a lover of giant insects stories. However, it captivated me and went on reading The struggles of the Lowlands people versus Highlanders, a secret discovery, and the characters resistance to survive the persecution is actively described and overwhelming! I’ll definitely read the rest of the series!
This surprised me so much with how much I ended up loving it. I find steampunk can be hit or miss, and this one is definitely a hit!! This focuses on Jacob, a 15 yr old apprentice, and the fact that one single event will change his life forever!!

The plot of this was fast paced and addicting. The world building was amazing too. It's set in a world that was decimated by war, and where all the "modern" conveniences have been lost. It's a world where steam powered devices are used for nearly everyt
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an easy reading and engaging steampunk adventure. My rating 4.25
When I started the book I thought it was perhaps written for middle schoolers or teens as the writing style is easy. However, as I continued I became engaged by the characters and the unique creatures. Although the wild spiders and bugs are dangerous, some of the spiders are trained as carriage ‘cattle’ or rides for the knights, and smaller bugs are raised as pets. I enjoyed watching Jacob as he helps others and begins to ma
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Good steampunk-ish novel

This was a fast and good read for me. Good protagonists, plot straightforward enough that's easy to follow, somewhat predictable, but with enough elements of novelty that it kept my overall interest in the characters relatively high. A first volume that leads me easily to the next one, and I'll be happy to knock out volume three as well when I get there. Volume 2 definitely seems intriguing since the heroes are venturing out of their city :-)
Apr 21, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (4/21/2019)! 🎁
Bill Tillman
This tale keeps you riveted to you seat. The narrator does a fantastic job, it's hard not to think she is not several people male or female. Steanpunk is one of my favorite fantasy forms. Jacob a tinker's apprentice and his best friend Alice manage to find trouble at every turn. An invasion of bug creatures changes lives for the worse. Charles the crafty old tinker, Samuel the Spider Knight flee Ancora with Jacob and Alice. Their underground into the garlands keeps you catching your breath. ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
My review (of the whole trilogy - spoiler free) is here, on my blog.

In book one, Steamborn, we meet all our characters and are introduced to the world. The city of Ancora is split into two distinct classes, the highlanders (rich people) and the lowlanders (poor people). When the walls surrounding the lowlands is breached by giant insects, the lowlanders flee into the highlands, causing all kinds of strife. Jacob and Alice (and co.) discover a bit of a scheme going on in the city, and end up havi
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book was awesome!!! ALL the hearts!!

Favorite quote that made me love this book.

"He knew adults who didn't even read a book in a month. Jacob tried to read one every week."

It is obvious that the author LOVES books as much as most readers do. At least as much as I do. There were many gems sprinkled throughout this book where the love of reading, by the male MC and the female MC alike, comes out and makes you smile as you read it. SO good.

Now. There was ONE part that made me put the book down
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Asher, Eric R. Steamborn. Steamborn No. 1. Kindle, 2015.
Any novel has to do three things: establish its fictional world, establish its characters and voice, and develop its plot. Fantasy genres like steampunk, have a special problem in world-building since many of its elements are outside the reader’s experience. Steamborn does an adequate, but not outstanding, job in all three areas. Its characters are stock figures in most young-adult fiction—a well-meaning but overlooked boy, a girl to pursue
World building is cool, although incomplete. Characters are only fleshed out about 75% each, at most. Universe has some missing explanations of major plot points. Mediocre and repetitive description of characters and setting grew old after about 1/3 of the book. Tells classic dystopian story from perspective of 16 yo boy who is relatively boring. Listened to the audiobook and was almost too bored to continue.
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
Steamborn is one of those really need novels that sort of reminds you why you enjoy reading in the first place. I’ve had a rough go of it trying to basically choke down books this year, but Steamborn was utterly effortless with its amazing world building and attention to detail.

This book made me question why I don’t read more steampunk novels because if I could find more like this I would be in heaven all day every day. Steamborn follows Jacob, the young apprentice to their town’s tinker. Jacob
Audiobook review:
Overall –
Performance – 5
Story –

I loved Saskia Maarleveld’s audio performance.

I have to be honest; this just isn’t my kind of book to read. I purchased the complete series audiobook because it was available for only one credit. I listened to book one of it because Eric Asher will be an attending author at the virtual Coastal Magic Convention next month (Feb 2021). I’m participating in a reading challenge and I’m trying to read something by all of the attending authors.

So, my r
Anniken Haga
I picked this up for cheap on Kindle, and after listening for 4 hours and dreading every minute of it, I DNFed.
It wasn't that the writing was bad, but there really was no story, the characters were flat and there were a lot of characters that seemed convenient but not all that natural. I did enjoy the steampunk element, until the author used a whole chapter on describing how to make something mechanical, which was not relevant for the story what so ever as far as I could tell, other than to pro
Larry B Gray
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great Adventure

I really enjoyed getting into this book.The author did a great job developing a story that drew me into it keeping my attention and imagination.The story is full of adventure and fast paced action. I really liked the characters and found them easy to identify with. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
Altivo Overo
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steampunk dystopia

First of a series, sets scene and introduces characters. Promising plotline supported by thoughtful world and cultural development. Definitely worth following through, I think.
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Whilst this book isn't well written, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to continuing onto the next book in the series. ...more
Bob Michaels
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleasantly surprised. I found this on bookbub a while ago and just read it. Not very long, and it is one of three in a series. Not happy about the way it just stopped mid adventure but it was still enjoyable. Will definitely read the other two in the series.
Melissa Hayden
3.5 Stars

The people in this book are kind to each other. They are all suffering when the village is attacked by the huge insects. This is something our world needs to see more of. The kind hearts of adults and children willing to eagerly help each other, not expecting payment in return. This warmed my heart to hear! That's not to say there aren't people that look down on others, but there is a focus on kindness.

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and hav
Troy Davis
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confession time. First, I was given a copy of the book by the publisher for an honest review--no problem! Second, I’m an avid fan of Vesik . . . so going into the novel, I was already heavily biased in favor of anything Asher writes. This new work exceeded my expectations. The story is simple without being boring, post-apocalyptic without being dismal, chalked full of familiar themes without being ordinary, and clean without being Pollyannaish. It is predictable . . . in an enthralling sort of w ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Steamborn is a futurist steampunk type story with giant bugs, action, a little romance, and lots of inventive machines. The story doesn't end in a conclusive ending but leaves it open for the next story, so if you are one that like closure...
The plot is good, the characters are great, lots of action and emotion. It seemed to be a teen book but some adults might like it too. I like my stories to end conclusively and then tease me about a next book so this was a bummer for me, I guess you can't pl
Sandi Faulconbridge
Great start to a new dystopia style steampunk series for teens where bugs/insects are key to the storyline. I would be happy to issue it to our more sophisticated Year 6 readers at our primary school.
Josh & Alice are both strong main characters. Love the setting and the secondary characters.
Looking forward to the next one in the series coming in 5 days
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed by this book. The two main characters seemed much younger than the 15 with which the author described them. I was also sad that Samuel couldn't take Bessie with him on the quest. ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: Steampunk is not my primary genre for reading, but still looking one that I will like. I'm sure it's out there.

We find ourselves in the middle of a steampunk world, in a mountaintop, walled city with distinct feudalistic structure. Highlanders, Lowlanders and the rest outside the walls, nobody cares about.
The city is attacked by giant insects who bring down the wall defences and kill the lower half of the city. The main characters flee to the upper city and find themselves in the mi
Tim Gordon
Jan 27, 2021 rated it liked it
When I was a kid, played the classic Chrono Trigger on the SNES. It wasn't a good as Secret of Mana (which had multiplayer, meaning it wasn't just my brother hogging the system), but it was still pretty great.

The game starts off with the main character preparing for and attending a festival. You get to run around and play some games, and as a kid I thought this was fantastic. It lasted for a few minutes, then everything went wrong and the hero's journey began.

I bring that up because this book re
Steph Spitzy
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Eric at PennedCon 2017 in St Louis. I read this particular book to fit the steampunk prompt for the Popsugar reading challenge this year. I've never really read steampunk anything before, and didn't think I'd really care for it much. Once I got a few chapters into it, and started getting to meet the characters, I was actually enjoying reading. I do enjoy dystopian novels, and this is somewhat of a mashup of the two.

Ancora is a post-war city, segregated into the Highlands and the Lo
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice start

So good, I bought the Kindle boxed set. I'll do a full review there, but for now I'll give a quick run down of what I liked and what I hope will improve.


It was a nice change to see age appropriate behaviour from all of the characters in the book. It was further pleasing to see them react to the situations they and their loved ones found themselves in believable ways. In part, Jacob, the most prominent of the MCs, was as impetuous and rash and confused as one might expect many
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Add Audible Audio Format: Steamborn 2 11 Jun 22, 2018 11:11AM  
Steamborn 2 3 Jan 17, 2018 04:21PM  

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Eric is a former bookseller, cellist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.

Other books in the series

Steamborn (4 books)
  • Steamforged (Steamborn, #2)
  • Steamsworn (Steamborn, #3)
  • Steamborn: The Complete Trilogy Box Set (Steamborn Series Box Set Book 1)

News & Interviews

Nature, in Her infinite awesomeness, can provide solace even when you’re stuck in the house. As a matter of fact, the numbers suggest that...
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“I’m not arguing that, Jacob, but you don’t fix what’s wrong by doing something wrong.” 0 likes
“Cruelty is an earmark of murderers and politicians.” 0 likes
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