I haven't read too many steam punk stories, but the description of this one really sparked my interest. I was not disappointed either. This is an amazing book! I don't know if it qualifies as YA, but a mature young teenager (perhaps 12 years old) could read this. I think that it would help foster a bigger imagination if they did. My only complaint is that there's going to be a second book that I now have to wait for.
The story is about Synn El'Asim. He has been groomed his entire like to become captain of an airship. He lives with his father on the ship he will someday rule, but his siblings live with their mother on a lethara
city. This is because he is a product of two of the Great Families. His father is the ruler of the El'Asim and his mother is the ruler of the Ino. I would say it's easiest to understand if you think of them as tribes. They made created an alliance that resulted in their having kids. Synn's mother kept the ones that she thought would bear the mark of the Ino tribe. His father has Synn and one sister that were thought to have the mark of the El'Asim. Think of marks as hidden magic within their bodies that show up as something similar to a tattoo when they are ready for their powers. Some kids develop marks early in life and others, like Synn, develop very late. When they have their mark, they are able to control some element. Synn's father controlled lightning, while his mother controlled fire. Synn was the last child to develop his mark which you get to read all about. You will see how he has to learn to use it and live with it because his mark is one of the most powerful anyone has seen. They know this simply by how much of his body it covers which is nearly his entire body.
The entire story has elements that I can describe to you, but that really won't make sense out of context. The plot though is that Synn is captured by the ruling class and turned into Queen Nix's plaything. There are four queens, based on the tarot deck. Nix is determined to break his spirit so that he can be completely under her control. She intends to turn him into a weapon to control the world. Synn has other things in mind. You will be shocked what he has to go through to attempt to gain his freedom. You will question whether he will ever be truly free. Will Synn ever be able to be interested in women after the things he has gone through? Will Queen Nix destroy all the Great Families in order to keep her toy? Some questions will not be answered in this book, but you might have a general idea of where they are heading once you finish it. Again, this is an AMAZING story.