I am just about to start a YA steampunk/cyberpunk novel set in the future. One of the featured steampunk elements will be a mech suit of sorts. For context: It's six hundred years after the great war (WWIII). The planet was scarred by nuclear fallout and most of the world's population was decimated. The survivors in western hemisphere coalesced and decided to ban advanced weaponry and technology to prevent it ever happening again. This resulted in a new dark age, as well as a totalitarian country desperate to maintain power. 200 years before the story starts, the country undergoes a civil war and freedom is won for the southern half of the continent. Once again allowed to discover and invent, the people of this new country are embracing a new industrial revolution. Technology is progress, the solution to poverty and disease. Optimism is everywhere steam technology can be found, but things aren't what they seem. Soon there is talk of war, rumors of politicians in league with the mother country, stories of spies being sent to steal their inventions. The 17 year-old protagonist, eager to follow the footsteps of her brother, has joined the military border patrol. There hasn't been an incident in decades, until a routine inspection uncovers a devastated border town. Now here's where the tech comes in, my protagonist, as well as her battalion, all use steam-powered mech suits--the logic being that the rough terrain necessitates it, seeing as the trains can't come out that far and airships aren't allowed along the border. Later, we learn that the culprit responsible for the destruction is using one of these suits. It's also one of these suits which later allows the protagonist to disguise herself. My question is this: is the bipedal mech suit too gimmicky? Too transformers, pacific rim, gundam wing? My hope is that the suspension of disbelief will cover it. There is always an element of science fiction in steampunk writing after all, but I still worry about how well it will be received. It's a major element, and if I don't do it convincingly I could kill the story. I am open to other designs--quadrapeds with a lower center of gravity, etc. I also realize there is the quandary of self-contained steam engines, and I should add that rediscovered technology will come into play later on (it comes to their attention that their suits are fitted with advanced systems beyond their current scientific understanding). Certainly there is a lot of scientific issues that might need explaining, so my question would be: do I even attempt to? Or do I give an overview of how it works and rely on the fantastical elements to prevail over forced-rationalization? Also if you have any feedback on the world-building thus far, I'd love to hear it. Just to be clear, this will NOT be a reenactment of the Victorian age. It will feel much more modern and Americanized, seeing as I am American I doubt I could do anything else justice. It's not going to be a tale of cutesy gadgets and fashion either, but a coming of age story with life and death consequences, betrayal, and overtones of man vs. technology. I want to explore the morality of technology--how far is too far. When have we crossed that threshold? Is it something you would read?