Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heart of Veridon (The Burn Cycle, #1)” as Want to Read:
Heart of Veridon (The Burn Cycle, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Heart of Veridon

(The Burn Cycle #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  655 ratings  ·  62 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  655 ratings  ·  62 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Heart of Veridon (The Burn Cycle, #1)
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
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
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
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Merc Rustad
May 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fantastic!! The world and the characters are super interesting. I loved the whole Steampunk setting and all the complex ideas about how the world in this books work. The characters were smart and likeable and I absolutley want to know what happend to Jacob next. It was a fantastic start and Im so excited to read the next one.
Ian James
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
a great Gear Punk book
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh. This wasn't a bad book, about halfway through I was pretty sure that I would continue on the series, but by the end of the book I decided not to continue the series. It falls off about 3/4 of the way through with some tired scenes of "villains" wrapping up all the holes in the story, it happens twice and just doesnt do a great job of putting it all together.

The final scenes were somewhat confusing when you don't know who is going to die or who is even allowed to die. It just seemed so muddl
Scooby Doo
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it
So this is steampunk? OK, so it's fantasy, but without swords and magic? Some alternate reality that doesn't have modern technology, but ... gears? Gears seem to get mentioned a lot.

I generally don't like books where I can't anticipate the story because it takes place in a world where I don't know the rules.

However, the writing was pretty good, and I found this "steampunk" unusual and intriguing. The fight scenes were overly long and the protagonist is basically indestructible so kind of borin
Benjamin Kahn
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steam-punk
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the world that Akers created, I liked the noir feel of the book, and how the plot kept moving forward relentlessly. I also appreciated that although it's part of a series, it's a self-contained novel, with no need to read the next one unless you want to. An engrossing read. ...more
Charles Cohen
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The only people who do steampunk right are Tim Akers and China Mieville. Only they capture the mix of awe and horror that comes with combining industrial-age technology with information-age interest in AI and biological enhancement. So much fun, and a little gross.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I admittedly didn't know what to expect with this book, as I'm not a huge fan of the steampunk genre. However, The Heart of Veridon turned out to be an entertaining enough read. I enjoyed the characters and the general flow of the story. It was a little lackluster in some areas, such as vague references to the main charterer's past or of the history of his city.

My only complaint was the abundance of grammatical errors. Good god, please get an editor, or if you have one, hire a new one. That was
Leader of the Pack
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Heart of Veridon is a high-action steampunk adventure set in a cruel city that runs on mysterious technology. It's an enjoyable read that kept me entertained right up to end. I've already picked up the next book in the series! ...more
Stiltzkin Vanserine
1. Very interesting world
2. Good action
3. Lacks character development
4. Steampunk thriller
5. Ending is abrupt, but makes you want to read more
Bryce Jones
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not quite on the same level as Perdido Street Station or The Library at Mount Char, but features a similarly crafted and unique setting, and a satisfyingly grim plot.
This book has been on my To Read this for a long time and I finally took the plunge. I should mention that the Kindle version has numerous formatting issues that leads to abrupt paragraph breaks, run-on dialogue exchanges that confused perspective, as well as several incorrectly transposed words. It's one of the worst kindle conversions I've come across.

I was very impressed with the opening chapter and the story had me hooked early. This seemed like a story I wanted to read; there were echoes of
James Hill
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
from Ryan:

Burn Cycle Books by Tim Akers

“He was waiting at the broad stone path that snaked up to the balcony above. I had the pistol in my left hand, the hammer in my right. I thought about running, but his wings were clenching and unclenching above his shoulders, like a giant fist waiting to strike me down. He looked at the pistol and shrugged. I raised the hammer.”

Anyone who has a love for fantasy should look to Tim Akers, even if they're not a steampunk aficionado. The books in the Burn Cycle
Jul 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, fantasy, series
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
Michael Mammay
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I really, really enjoyed this. The sub-genre was new to me, so I didn't really know what to expect going in. What I got was a great read.

Let me say this up front -- if you like a nice, leisurely book, you should run. Run far. This book is not for you. Heart of Veridon reads like a rabbit that got into a bag of cocaine. It takes off at high speed and doesn't stop.

Jacob Burn is definitely an anti-hero, and that works here. It's got sort of a noir feel to it, and the character matches.
Edward III
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Corey Frampton
Nov 17, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Feb 05, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
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
Logan Horsford
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it
You can play the special drinking game while reading this book! Any time steam, cogs, clockwork or grease is mentioned, drink!

That may be a common thing with all steampunk - not sure. Not my normal genre.

Having said that, I did like this book.

Though it sometimes got a bit confusing for my simple brain, it was a good mix of investigation, intrigue, horror (beetles!) and steampunk.

I will say the author has found a new way in which to take the genre. I will be interested in the next book when I eve
Petra Eriksson
Apr 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, steampunk
I haven't read much steampunk, which I guess is where this fits, but I definitely enjoyed the aesthetic of a crumbling city built on complex machinery that no one fully understands.

The twists and turns are maybe a bit excessive (says the guy who doesn't normally read mysteries, so maybe par for the course?) and the ending conflict stretches our hero a bit farther past the breaking point than I was willing to accept even with a lot of suspension of disbelief.

It's an enjoyable and fast-paced read.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Last Watch (The Divide, #1)
  • Hall of Smoke
  • Utopia Avenue
  • Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt, #1)
  • Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America
  • City of the Beasts (Eagle and Jaguar, #1)
  • The Water Knife
  • Kit's Wilderness
  • The Pox Party (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #1)
  • The Pale Horse (Ariadne Oliver, #5)
  • The Kingdom on the Waves (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #2)
  • Tiger Lily
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Hope and Red (Empire of Storms, #1)
  • The Pickup
  • The Rage of Dragons (The Burning, #1)
  • Set My Heart to Five
  • Waiting
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

The Burn Cycle (2 books)
  • Dead of Veridon (The Burn Cycle #2)

Related Articles

The idea for The Gilded Ones came to author Namina Forna in a dream. The recurring image was one of a young girl in armor walking up a...
101 likes · 10 comments