Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview – A Review

Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2013)From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

I must say, out of all of the derivatives of Pride and Prejudice variations that exist in this realm (yes, also including the erotica variety), I never thought I’d come across a steampunk version. When one thinks of steampunk, one envisions gears, motors, and mechanical technology that are as far removed from the refined halls of Pemberley as one can get. However, such is the beauty of the Pride and Prejudice variation subgenre: anything that can connect to the original work, no matter how slight it may be. It is up to the reader to decide whether or not such a connection was warranted in the first place! So, it’s no surprise that I was quite intrigued when given the chance to review Steampunk Darcy by Monica Fairview. I just had to know how such juxtaposition would work out.

William Darcy has a special fondness for his ancestors, the very real Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. Although it has been many years since they lived, Mr. Darcy comes upon a unique opportunity to immortalize their beloved Pemberley as it once was after the current version of it was destroyed during a great uprising. Now, the world that has arisen from these ashes is that of a steampunk variety, and Darcy’s Pemberley is a blank canvas he can work with to restore its former glory. He hires Seraphene Grant, an expert in restoration (who also happens to own a blimp-like airship), in order to assist with the project. Although his intentions seem genuine, Seraphene is cautious towards Darcy’s actions, and she intends to steer clear of anything that isn’t strictly related to the project. Will she be able to hold back in this new world or will Darcy’s mix of tradition and steampunk creativity get the best of her?

I have to admit, this book started off really slowly. However, at the expense of plot advancement, Fairview took a lot of time to build a wonderful steampunk world which drew me in immediately. Fairview’s descriptions of this world, which in and of itself could have been its own novel, were definitely on point. The beautiful combination of industrial age technology (the “steam” references the steam-powered engines which were the workhorse of this era) and the sci-fi aspects of this dystopic world were amazing. I love how the theme also adds Victorian-era flair, making the world even more magical. Unfortunately, the inventiveness of the steampunk environment could only keep me entertained for so long. I was slightly confused by some early portions of the work, as the characters mention the Uprising and past events that occurred before the book’s plot in detail. I felt as if I was reading the second book in a series that I had not originally started. This created a disconnect that took a few chapters to get over and get back into the swing of things. The Hunger Games and For Darkness Shows the Stars (other dystopic novels I have read) gave the reader a description of events (fairly early on) that led to the novels’ worlds becoming dystopic. I think had Fairview expanded upon the Uprising and the need for Citiships and biodomes, and where slime rain came from, I would have been more able to ease into the plot of the story. So much is unknown to the reader but known to the characters that it creates a divide.

Despite this downside, I really enjoyed the slowly- building relationship that Darcy and Seraphene experience throughout the story. It was their chemistry and development from animosity to friendship to ultimately love that really drew me in and saved this book for me.  Both seemed to definitely be reminiscent of the Elizabeth and Darcy who influenced them to begin with, with added character traits that made them their own individuals. Seraphene is a resilient, intelligent, and strong female lead. Darcy is kind (albeit with a slight temper), smart, and funny. The two characters were extreme compliments of each other which made the relationship storyline that much more exciting to read. I also enjoyed Fairview’s incorporation of original Pride and Prejudice characters such as Mrs. Bennet, who was represented as a shrill cat, which added a fair amount of humor. So, if you’re a fan of sci-fi and have enjoyed steampunk-themed movies or other works in the past, Steampunk Darcy may be right up your alley.

3 out of 5 Stars

Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview
White Soup Press (2013)
Trade paperback (328) pages
ISBN: 978-1492193234

Cover image courtesy of White Soup Press © 2013; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2013,

21 thoughts on “Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview – A Review

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  1. I always enjoy your reviews Kim, very interesting. It gave me a chortle to think of Mrs Bennet as a cat. Another of Austen’s characters has a kitty namesake, now I think of it, the Hogwart’s caretaker’s cat in Harry Potter is called Mrs Norris. I hope this cat is nicer!

    I’m not familiar with steampunk, seems like this might be a good place to start.


  2. It seems like there are Jane Austen adaptations set in every sort of world now. (Not complaining, of course. I just finished the Dystopian Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars, and enjoyed it.) I do love Steampunk so it would be interesting to see it mashed up with Pride and Prejudice. I do think Persuasion might have been the more obvious choice for a Steampunk mash up, but, I guess, that might come at some point in the future. :)


  3. I cannot imagine our Mr. Darcy in an era of uprisings, steampunk, and him with anyone other than our Elizabeth. I have read the Hunger Games series and loved the originality and creativity. I am excited to read this one!


  4. This sounds very interesting- I would love to win a copy. :) One of the beauties of JA’s writing is how easily the characters and plots slide into other genres- I must admit to knowing very little about steampunk, but from your review it sounds like an interesting coupling.


  5. I really appreciate Kimberly’s fine review and introduction to steampunk for us novices! The cover of the book is attractive and intriguing and the story line sounds like a fun read, though I imagine I’ll have a difficult time getting into the initial descriptions as well, but it will be fun to learn a new genre.


  6. I’m a fan of Austen & a fan of Steampunk, so combining those 2 genres has to be a good thing. Thanks for the giveaway.


  7. This is the first novel that I heard which combines steampunk and Pride and Prejudice and I’m definitely intrigued. I feel the original story can translate well regardless of any era as it is a timeless classic.


  8. I love anything steampunk and would be interested to see how this book plays out. I also love steampunk themes in paperarts. Perhaps something in this book would be inspiring to that end. Thank you.


  9. Delicious. I love to see how Mr. Darcy performs in front of strangers —-of any time and place. I wonder if Steampunk version is fascinated by mechanics or if he will stick to the naturalism of his era in a rebellious way.


  10. I’ve read some Steampunk & have enjoyed it. Teaming this up with anything remotely Darcy related says must read for me.


  11. I am a fan of sci-fi, but didn’t like the movie Hunger Games, and haven’t seen other steampunk-themed movies. I do enjoy the history of Victorian England so I will have to read the book


  12. It’s incredibly impressive the number of spins people think to put on the original material! I’ve enjoyed the steampunk books I’ve read, so I’m definitely intrigued by this adaptation :)


  13. I would like to win a print copy (I can’t do digital because I don’t have a computer or e-reader). I haven’t tried steampunk yet. I wasn’t familiar with the term so after I heard it a few times I looked it up online. Isn’t it weird how a new genre can just pop up like that? I just got my first steampunk book in the mail today, A Clockwork Scarab. I won it on Library Thing. It invents the new characters of Mina Holmes, Sherlock’s niece, and also Bram Stoker’s sister (I forgot her name). I’m always up for a new Darcy and Lizzy tale, so I’d like to try it. I love Victorian stories. Airships sound like fun.


  14. A print copy would be ideal and steampunk is so unique. Victorian era and the inventions are amazing and different. thanks.


  15. I’m super intrigued by this one, because steampunk is a genre I’ve found to be rather hit-or-miss in terms of whether I like it or not … but this has Darcy + Austen, so I feel like it could be one of the hits ;)


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