Book Review: A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my favourite Shakespeare play so naturally I was excited to read Tarbet’s Steampunk twist on the story. The Steampunk sub-culture is one I’ve been interested in for ages, although I tend to lean more toward the Dystopian style, Steampunk is something I still adore. This novel entwines Shakespeare’s wonderful play with Scott E. Tarbet’s fantastic writing to create a masterpiece.

“”…Direct two Enforcers to ride behind the coach as footmen. Make sure they are cloaked so they don’t cause comment.”
“Any particular two?”
“The two most psychotic, violent, undisciplined Enforcers you have. Preferably two you haven’t been able to allow out on the street. Tell them nothing of the demonstration, but warn them that unless they behave themselves you will dispose of them. And be prepared to do so at a moment’s notice.””

Cover“Pauline Spiegel, a master artificer like her mother before her, wants just one thing: to wed the love of her life, Alexander MacIntyre, a lowly undersecretary of the Royal Household. However, a long-term pact, between her parents and a noble House, stands between her and her happily ever after. When a priceless mechanoid of unfathomable power is stolen, Pauline finds herself entangled in skullduggery and 
international intrigue, upon which the fate of nations rest. 

Only with the help of her friends, and a brilliant scientist with a swarm of micromechanical insects, can Pauline survive the dark forces determined to destroy her. But will her betrothed and his rag-tag band of semi-mechanical soldiers reveal Alexander’s secrets as well?

Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.”


I thoroughly enjoyed A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk, Tarbet references ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ wonderfully while giving this novel it’s own exciting twists. If you’re expecting a copy of Shakespeare’s play with the odd Steampunk reference, think again. This book is an onslaught of stunning Steampunk imagery, you will meet  mechanized men who have been ostracized by society, beautiful micromech ‘Friends’ and colossal megamechs! You will see the wonder of magical automatons and the excitement of Victorian London in this alternative world.

Catherinette Rings Steampunk
Image courtesy of Catherinette Rings Steampunk on Flickr | Licenced under Creative Commons

Tarbet really brings the characters to life, mechanising men isn’t considered normal in this Steampunk universe, these men are veterans of war who were experimented on. Society is scared of them and quite understandably so. You get all of the characters of Shakespeare’s play, plus some shocking extras, with truly marvelous twists.

I’m not a very… political person. Although this book is full of political references and characters I’m afraid I can’t really comment on those because, quite honestly, they aren’t the aspects of the book that I tend to focus on. Despite this, there are some significant political differences in this universe and they did strike me as interesting.

I loved this book, however, I do wish the chapters were shorter. Each chapter was about a twenty minute read and I do prefer shorter chapters.

A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk is a marvelous mixture of Shakespeare’s play and the Steampunk theme, Tarbet brought this world to life, breathing life into his mechs. The subplots are fascinating and, in all, this book was a delight to read.


This book is getting four stars from me, I loved the story and its rich imagery but I would have liked shorter chapters and perhaps a little less deviation from the main plot.

I would recommend this book to teens and adults, the characters are vibrant and the story is full of wonderful concepts.
If you enjoyed A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare or His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman you’ll enjoy this.



You can  get A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk in eBook here: eBook 
and in paperback here: Paperback

Find out more about Scott E. Tarbet here:

*Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
All opinions are my own honest thoughts. I would never lie to my readers. 



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