YA Steampunk

There’s a saddening lack of books with pansexual/panromantic rep included in queer book recs, so I’ve compiled a list of books for us pans, that I will be continuously updating.

Some notes: I haven’t read the majority of these books, so I’m trusting the people who sent me recs and the research I’ve done. Some of the books are part of series, and I’m not sure if the pan character is in one or some/all books, so keep that in mind.

For each book I’ve put the genre, the names of the characters if I could find them, if it’s canon or implied/hinted, and a goodreads link.

Happy reading!

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

This was a great way to start the year. Reading a book about books and the secret Librarian spies who retrieve them from different alternate realities. Everything from the world building to the gender roles was thought through and how to execute it. If you read A Thousand Pieces of You, you’ll like this.


Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

No one said learning e t i q u e t t e a n d e s p i o n a g e would be easy, my dear.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Etiquette & Espionage is a cute, fast read that follows Sophronia through her new Finishing School - heavy emphasis on finishing, as in, assassination. Although there’s very little mention of it, you can certainly tell that they’re going to train for that possibility. After all, young ladies have to be prepared for anything. 

Sophronia is a delight. She’s quick-witted and kind, thinks out of the box, funny, and is far from perfect. Most of the characters are pretty well fleshed out, perhaps with the exceptions of Presha. However, she’s mostly just there to be the stereotypical mean girl every once in a while and doesn’t much contribute to the plot in any meaningful way. 

And Soap! I could wax on and on about Soap, he’s incredibly precious. Not to be old school, but he’s a precious cinnamon roll, to pure for the world.

Carriger’s writing is a little bit out there. She expects you to simply know what she’s talking about, and it takes a little bit to get used to it. It’s a Steampunk novel, so there’s Steampunk type elements that are not explained in the slightest, and that also takes some getting used to.

Overall, this is a great read.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

Disability in YA Lit: The Lunar Chronicles

I finished The Lunar Chronicles last week (YA steampunk fairytale series) and can I just say: read it. There’s no LGBTQ characters, unfortunately, but almost everyone is disabled, and the series deals with it really well. 

Also, much of the main cast is PoC; Cinderella and Prince Charming, the two central characters, are both Chinese, living in New Beijing. Winter, the most beautiful princess in the all the land, is a black woman with natural hair. A lot of other characters are dark-skinned as well, though with unspecified nationalities (I mean, a lot of them are from the literal moon, so it gets a bit hand-wavy.) 

The point though, is that whiteness isn’t portrayed as the pinnacle of beauty, and a black woman - who usually wouldn’t be portrayed as soft and gentle and a darling of the people - is a princess, sheltered and protected and very much loved (well, by all but the evil queen, but it is a fairy tale after all.)

When it comes to disability, this whole series is a treat. To start with, Cinder is a cyborg who has two prosthetic limbs, and a variety of other mechanical parts. The first book deals in depth with the stigma she faces as a cyborg, as well as the day-to-day difficulties she deals with because she doesn’t have the mobility equipment she needs. 

Next up we have Cress (Rapunzel, basically.) She’s a programmer who’s locked away in a satellite orbiting earth for most of her life, tasked with spying on the Earthens for the Lunar queen. She’s brilliant, obviously, but also very, very anxious. (mild/general spoilers ahead)

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“In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.”

A gifset for the awesome TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim. Keep your eyes out for when this beauty hits shelves in november! Add it to your goodreads list here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25760792-timekeeper

and follow the lovely author here: @tarasimauthor

The Rites of Lemuria eBook: Rosalind Mosis: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
The Rites of Lemuria eBook: Rosalind Mosis: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

In a Britain still under the rule of Roman Empire, it’s diverse population worship many gods, but all heed the rituals honouring the dead. One such ritual is Lemuria, a festival where the Unnamed Dead are given tributes so that they do not torment the living.
In the small seaside town of Clachintuna, Hatshepsut ‘Hattie’ Mery-Amun has come to visit her in-laws for Lemuria, in hopes of finally laying some souls to rest. Except there’s one restless spirit who’s name will not be spoken, one who has fed on the town’s tragic past and seeks to return and torment the living.
Hattie must use her knowledge of exorcism and find faith within herself to complete the ritual, but will the Rites of Lemuria be enough?

Extract below:

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