Read Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1) by A.J. Hartley Online

Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1)

Thoughtfully imaginative and action-packed, Steeplejack is New York Times bestselling A. J. Hartley's YA debut set in a 19th-century South African fantasy worldSeventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, Ang for short, repairs the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm, the ethnically-diverse industrial capital of a land resembling Victorian South Africa. The city was built on the trade of luxorite, a priceless glowing mineral. When the Beacon, a historical icon made of luxorite, is stolen, it makes the headlines. But no one cares about the murder of Ang's new apprentice, Berritexcept for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician, who offers Ang a job investigating Berrit's death. On top of this, Ang struggles with the responsibility of caring for her sister's newborn child.As political secrets unfold and racial tensions surrounding the Beacon's theft rise, Ang navigates the constricting traditions of her people, the murderous intentions of her former boss, and the conflicting impulses of a fledgling romance. With no one to help her except a savvy newspaper girl and a kindhearted herder from the savannah, Ang must resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city is plunged into chaos.A fresh take on historical fantasy attune to today's demand for multicultural YA, Steeplejack will resonate with readers of all ages....

Title : Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1)
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ISBN : -
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 336 pages
Url Type : Home » Steeplejack » Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1)

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Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1) Reviews

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Before it showed up on my doorstep, Steeplejack was only mildly on my radar. I’d featured it in Cover Snark, and I thought the cover was gorgeous, but, other than that, I’d not given it much thought. Thankfully, Steeplejack did appear, because I would have taken a long time to get around to reading it otherwise, and it’s such an adventure.

    One thing I’ve bemoaned, even with the advent of more and more diverse books in recent years is that diverse genre fiction still lags behind. Steeplejack has a
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  • Sara

    4.5 out of 5

    I have a friend who works for Tor / Forge Books, and she'd mentioned this book last year after it had sold to the publisher. As soon as she said "South African inspired steampunk YA," I was on board. Now, after reading STEEPLEJACK, my first thought is this: Why isn't this book getting more attention?!?! Because it deserves it!

    THE GEMS...:

    - THE WORLD-BUILDING. The city of Bar-Selehm and its surrounding rural areas are indeed inspired by South Africa, with a steampunk flavor to the cit
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  • Natalie

    While I enjoyed this for the most part, I had a couple of problems with it.

    1) the political situation was never really explained. It basically sounded like none of the different races liked each other. There was one race that was always blamed but I found it odd that there was no character of that race in the story. As a result, the conflict felt forced and unnatural.

    2) characters appeared and disappeared. One moment, a character would be there helping Ang, and then that character would not be
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  • Sarah Sanborn

    It's refreshing to read something different. This is not your typical YA fantasy/detective story. It is set in the city of Bar-Selhem, a city with an Industrial Revolution feel to it. Now that's nothing new, but the wonderful thing is it's set on an African like continent, full of elephants, hippos, hyenas, and jackals. There are three main peoples in the city, the rich, white, Feldish; the native Mahweni who have either assimilated into the city or live as unassimilated tribes on the savannah; ...more

  • Drew

    “It really was that simple. You figured out what you needed to do to stay alive, and you did it.”


    3 1/2 stars. This was a slow moving, well written mystery with a freaking fantastic protagonist. The fantasy world was richly developed, filled with "steeplejacks" or rooftop climbers who repaired chimneys and spires, different races of people, and a clever, intricate mystery.

    Anglet is our awesome main character who is the best steeplejack in Bar-Selehm. The story opens with Ang going to meet her n ...more

  • Ben Babcock

    Oh my god give me more of these books right damn now.

    I don’t normally do this, but can we just stop for a moment and look at this utterly gorgeous cover by Mike Heath? I was going to read Steeplejack from the description alone, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the cover that caught my eye while I was browsing the New Books shelf. Everything about this cover is amazing. The entire shot is from an off-kilter perspective, neither horizontal nor vertical, forcing us to look at everything from a

    Why does everyone keep saying that?… Why does whether I knew him or not matter? He was a child, a boy you murdered. I have to avenge him because I didn’t know him. Because he will never have what other boys his age look forward to. He was snuffed out, all his possibilities ended by your knife, and I am not supposed to care because I didn’t know him?


    This is a powerful moment, Ang confronting Berrit’s killer and finally getting to explain why she feels so driven to bring the killer to justice. This is the culmination of days of Ang continually being subjected to more and more stress from every direction. Something has gotta give—and indeed, many things do—but she always remains true to her core desire for justice.

    It takes a long time to get to that moment, and I forgive anyone who doesn’t see what I see in Steeplejack. Ang is an incredibly poor detective. She doesn’t follow leads properly, is terrible at playing a part and blending in to other parts of societies, and she always bites off more than she can chew. As a result, her investigation is frequently snarled and tangled up in side-quests. This is a little frustrating, as a reader, even though I appreciate that Hartley does not give us a Mary Sue character around whom the entire world turns. The fact that Ang, while being a kickass climber and courageous person, generally bungles her detecting and has trouble taking care of a newborn child, shows the richness and roundness of her character.

    Indeed, Steeplejack ultimately won me over for two reasons. First, Ang is such an interesting character. Second, Hartley’s depiction of race politics is more subtle than I expected.

    I’ve already discussed Ang’s desire for justice and how terrible a detective she is. I appreciate that we get to see so many different sides of her character. On the one hand, she perseveres incredibly at solving Berrit’s murder. On the other hand, she eventually admits she made a mistake trying to raise Rahvey’s child (and I agree with her on this). The result is very interesting, for Hartley does something rare here, particularly in YA: we get to see a protagonist who both never gives up and quits at something. Kelly Jensen recently wrote about the importance of giving up, and I agree with her. Seeing Ang come to the realization that she is not ready to act as a mother, that she cannot both pursue Berrit’s murder investigation and halfheartedly care for a needy infant, is one of the most powerful parts of this book.

    Race is the second powerful motif here. The book’s cover copy mentions the way three races cohabit in Bar-Selehm. And Ang gets into the consequences of being Lani fairly early on in the book. This being a YA novel, I was a little concerned that the book would beat us over the head with its ideas. I was concerned that the portrayals of the Mahweni would be a little too stereotypical. Fortunately, Hartley does a good job depicting the diversity within races as well as between them. We meet plenty of Lani, and they none of them see eye to eye. Similarly, the sharp divide between the rural Mahweni and urban creates a source of conflict as well. Despite this being a fairly short book, Hartley does an admirable job adding depth to all three races and their involvement in the city.

    The same can be said about how Hartley portrays women. There is a diverse cast of female characters here. In addition to Ang, we have: Rahvey and Vestris, Ang’s sisters, each different from Ang and the other in a great many ways; Daria, sister to an important politician; Florihn, a Lani midwife with whom Ang finds herself at odds; and Sarah/Sureyna, a newspaper hawker whom Ang helps actually become a reporter. Each of these women has her own little story, her own goals and motives. They don’t always agree or want the same things. They talk to each other about stuff other than men (yes, this book passes the Bechdel test with flying colours). I particularly love Daria; Hartley introduces her seemingly as a background character, a well-bred lady there to sniff at Ang and look down at her. But then he gives her so much more life, such a great personality, and her relationship with Ang changes for the better as the two come to know each other.

    My one disappointment when it comes to such relationships would be with the one between Ang and Vestris. This is only because Hartley makes so much of it while Vestris is off the page. I somewhat understand what he’s doing here, because the point is that Ang has romanticized her memories of Vestris as the glamorous, ne'er-do-wrong older sister, and reality is so very different. Nevertheless, because we don’t actually know Vestris very well until she finally shows up, the revelation regarding her true goals lacks the sucker-punch impact it was likely intended to have.

    I’ll end by commenting that Steeplejack, in my opinion, is many things, but it is not steampunk (and I have a fairly broad definition of steampunk). This book does not feature impressive clockwork or steam-driven apparatus. As one blurb puts it, it’s kind of an alternative Victorian South Africa, which is an accurate description of the technology level. Aside from the weird mineral luxorite, there isn’t much in the way of magic or anything different from our world aside from different animals and geography. This is not a criticism or praise, mind you, just information for those who come to this hoping for steampunk (or are steering clear because they want to avoid steampunk!).

    Steeplejack fits the drama of its exhilarating cover art: it is exciting and intense, and I really enjoyed it. I cannot wait to read whatever is coming next in this series.

    My reviews of the Steeplejack series:

    Firebrand

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  • Roger Whitson

    WARNING: This review contains mild spoilers. Also, full disclosure, Diana Pho graciously provided me with an advanced copy of the book.

    The most compelling moments in A.J. Hartley’s steampunk novel Steeplejack occur when Anglet Sutonga recalls the deaths of people lost in the city’s forgotten corners. Characters are murdered with great frequency in the novel — their bodies stashed inside buildings targeted for demolition, suffocated inside labrynthine chimney stacks, or ripped to shreds by yellow
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  • Helen

    This was a pleasant surprise; I started it on impulse and it was nothing like any expectations that I may have had.

    Ang is a steeplejack, she works for a shady gang repairing steeples, cleaning chimneys and other, more illegal, activities. Ang is unusual in that not only is she a girl but she's older than most of her 'colleagues', so far surviving the daily danger of working at such heights. The job is dangerous but as Ang says climbing up an extra fifty feet becomes irrelevant after a certain h
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