Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers
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, something even more sinister and dangerous makes its move against him, an entity that will make Jacob question everything he thought he knew about himself and the city.
Remember when steampunk was all shiny and new instead of an established thing? Ah, the heady days of 2009. Now, it’s all established; I saw a flyer for a steampunk ball while wandering Atlanta last week. Heart of Veridon came out back then, just as I—and, apparently, the publishing world—was noticing steampunk for the first time, so I assume I picked up a free-floating recommendation back then.
Luviu Suciu at Fantasy Book Critic enjoyed the worldbuilding and the main character, but noted that the novel ends without resolving the main thread (I have a theory if this happens enough to me while I’m reading, I’ll spontaneously breathe fire). Graeme at Graeme’s Fantasy Review mostly enjoyed it, although he didn’t take to the resolution-less ending and thought the pacing was too fast to really get involved in Akers’ clearly thoughtful worldbuilding. The Mad Hatter enjoyed it, but notes the contradiction between the breakneck pace and the fact it takes two hundred pages to get a sense of everyone’s motivations. Thea at The Book Smugglers really loved the mash-up of urban noir and steampunk fantasy, although even she noted the resolution-less ending.
Heart of Veridon was released on September 29, 2009.