The Chronicles of Aesirium, Book One -Reaper's Return - by Ren Cummins is a delightful mix of Steampunk and Fantasy. The world of Aerthos is intricately crafted around a mixture of magic, technology, and dramatic intrigue. In Reaper's Return the reader follows two young orphans destined for greatness. Rom and Kari are merely eleven years old, but already it is clear they are under a great destiny. Kari is academically brilliant, with a penchant for steam technology, and Rom has an uncanny way with animals and the ability to leap tall bullies with a single bound.
The two girls cling to each other, even sharing Kari's birthday since Rom's is unknown, and dream of the day they are old enough to apprentice and thereby leave the orphanage. Their dreams come sooner than expected, and their destinies take shape, when an ancient lady takes them as wards and arranges their continued education so they may fulfill their world-changing calling.
Ren Cummins shows himself to be a master of the genre as he weaves a world of astounding detail while building characters the reader will come to love as family and friends. There isn't a dull or tiresome page as the world comes to life in the background of exciting battles, interesting character interaction, and a good amount of wit thrown in. The dialog is natural and each character, down to the agricultural workmen, has a unique voice.
Reaper's Return is a great start to the series and the teaser for Book Two - The Marrow Stone - convinced me to purchase the next. There are six books currently available in the series and I look forward to reading them all. I heartily recommend The Chronicles of Aesirium, Book One - Reaper's Return - to all readers from YA's to old scifi guys like me. If you've never read Steampunk, this is the book that will make you a fan.