Expected Release Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Trade
Author’s Website: http://meljeanbrook.com/
My Source for This Book: Edelweiss
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Iron Seas Series
Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone
Steam Level: Warm
Romanceaholic’s Pet Peeves: Preachy
Romanceaholic’s Favorite Tropes: Physically Imperfect or Scarred, Starvation
A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.
Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airshipPhatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.
Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam…
What Worked For Me:
- I was very pleased with how well this book worked as a standalone. While I have, of course, read the rest of the series, I admit it’s been a while and a refresher was needed. While a few of my favorite characters were mentioned in passing, the rest of the story was completely self-contained, with all of the important parts of the world-building included.
- Oh I’m such a sucker for a physically imperfect hero, and David was absolutely delicious. With a prosthetic hand, eye, and both legs, his imperfections were simply a matter of a dashing scar upon his cheek, but instead changed him at a deeper level.
- On a similar note, I loved David’s insecurity, and relative inexperience as a result.
- The sadist in me really enjoyed the misunderstandings between Annika and David that resulted in both of them thinking that they weren’t quite good enough for the other.
- The chemistry between Annika and David was positively crackling, and the love scenes were deliciously hot.
- I’ve always loved the world that Ms. Brook has created for this series, and this book was no exception. The trolls, the whale, the experiments — they all had just enough impossibility in them to make them bigger than life, without being utterly implausible.
- I also really enjoy when characters are put through the wringer physically. David and Annika’s scenes towards the end of the novel were easily some of my favorites, and I especially enjoyed the very obvious emotional attachment they held for each other by that point.
- The secondary romances in the story were just as lovely as the main one between David and Annika. No spoilers, but I was pleased that most of the characters did seem to get a Happily Ever After of their own.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- I’m probably going to get crucified for mentioning this, but I was a bit annoyed with how we were continually bashed over the head about lesbianism/homosexuality and how it’s okay. I got that it played a huge part in the storyline, but it honestly seemed like every time we turned around people were discussing the social mores and ethics and whatnot of gay rights. Regardless of topic, I don’t care for books that feel preachy, and this one seriously toed that line.
- The villain was a wee bit over-the-top. This is just barely a negative point, but I think he did cross the line once or twice from “truly scary villain” into “mustache-twirling caricature villain”.
With one of the most creative steampunk worlds I’ve ever come across, the Iron Seas series as a whole has always been a favorite of mine. I was pleasantly surprised by how well this book stood on its own, even though a part of me was a tiny bit disappointed that some of my favorite characters didn’t make an appearance.
Even so, Annika and David were a truly fantastic couple, both full of their own insecurities and inner strength. I really enjoyed David’s character, in particular, with his many physical enhancements that both made him physically stronger and emotionally more vulnerable.
While I didn’t particularly care for the rather “preachy” undertones that rose to the surface on occasion, I loved the characters and the overall storyline, complete with vivid imagery and wild technology.
Though not my favorite of the series (that will probably always be the novella, Here There Be Monsters in the Burning Up Anthology), this one was still a solidly entertaining installment of the series. New readers shouldn’t fear picking this one up before reading the others, and I would definitely recommend this book to any fan of Romantic Steampunk.
Iron Seas Series Reading Order:
- The Blushing Bounder (Novella | Wild & Steamy Anthology) AMAZON | GOODREADS
- Here There Be Monsters ( Novella | Burning Up Anthology) AMAZON | GOODREADS
- The Iron Duke AMAZON | GOODREADS
- Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City (Novella) AMAZON | GOODREADS
- Heart of Steel AMAZON | GOODREADS
- Riveted AMAZON | GOODREADS