*This title will be released on September 4, 2012*
by Meljean Brook
Genre: Steampunk |
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: Publisher
Near Perfect – Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke andHeart of Steel returns to the Iron Seas with a riveting new adventure of steampunk and passionate romance . . .
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 . . .
I was both hopeful and trepidatious approaching RIVETED, the third book in the fantastic Iron Seas series. With an unknown hero and heroine, I was concerned that meeting these brand new characters would make or break my enjoyment of the book. Not only were Annika and David interesting and winning, I had forgotten that the Iron Seas series is more than the sum of its characters. The world itself is utterly captivating, and RIVETED delivers a really interesting look outside the boundaries that prior books had explored, in the New World and trade routes of the Atlantic.
The main characters, Annika and David, are more familiar with this conservative, nano-fearing New World than England’s post-Horde society, and it is that political climate that shapes Annika’s “big secret” and origins. RIVETED explores many social issues regarding homosexuality in a way that aligned with my own beliefs, but I would guess that anyone with a more traditional or conservative bent may start feeling defensive. Overall, however, Brook weaves this important issue into her story with a nuance and sensitivity that should be accessible (and educational) for all readers. Regardless of personal beliefs, I felt Brook made a point of humanizing the social conflict, even to the point of keeping it separate from the main villain who is “defeated” in the traditional sense. The acceptance of gay couples in this book ends on a happy note, and it’s clear that prejudices against them are overcome through community socialization and acceptance, not overthrowing a single, “evil” opposition.
Though the romance in RIVETED won’t unseat THE IRON DUKE as my favorite of the series, it has taken the second place crown away from HEART OF STEEL. Annika is winsome and refreshing, managing to be innocent but earthy, unspoiled without ever seeming stupid. As she always feels like an outsider, it was very believable to watch her unique and rare feeling of connection with David grow into a healthy sexual interest. And David is worth the curiosity; he is a gentle, damaged hero that soaks up Annika’s happiness and kindness like a sponge. David is the first augmented main character that hasn’t had the benefit of The Blacksmith’s mechanical flesh, and his perception of his prosthetics was one of the interesting parts of his character. Losing a limb is a traumatic event, and rather than waving a magic wand to make everything better, Brook explores David’s complicated feelings about loss and his current abilities. Annika and David both come to the relationship with little or no sexual experience, and the way they grow comfortable and confident with one another was both sweet and sexy.
As a romance, RIVETED is refreshing and well written, touching on complicated themes with sensitivity and realism. As a steampunk world, this story is five stars across the board. I can’t get enough of exploring The Iron Seas, every glimpse of this alternate history leaves me fascinated and hungry for more.
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