Size: 352 pages
Release Date: February 2, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Rating: 2/5 stars
I originally bought this book because I was getting into reading Steampunk, had just finished MacAlister’s Aisling Grey series and found it amusing, and was looking for a light fun read. This book overall was a disappointment. I finished it because I was sitting on a plane for three hours and had nothing else to read. It started out kind of amusing but the plot got so convoluted and then wrapped up in such a contrived way I just had to roll my eyes.
Jack Fletcher and his sister Hallie are zapped into an alternate reality when a lab experiment goes wrong. They find themselves on the airship of Captain Octavia Pye. Sparks fly between Jack and Octavia, but Octavia is wrapped up in a number of political schemes that entangle her whole crew in a fight for their lives.
The book started out kind of amusing. Jack is a geek with a rep for being a ladies man and Octavia appears to be a straight-laced women commander who doesn’t take Jacks advances at all kindly. Of course this book being what it is, that eventually changes and Jack and Octavia couldn’t get enough of each other.
The world is loosely steampunk. That is to say there are some automatons, a Europe and Asia still stuck in war, lots of airships and a Victorian feel to it all. Given that the world felt a bit incomplete. There was a lot of political stuff going on in this book but most of it seemed contrived and all of it was tied to men that Octavia had slept with. This really wasn’t in keeping with Octavia’s supposed stuffiness. Most of the plot seemed loosely thrown together in a way that enabled Jack and Octavia to have more sex.
Jack was obnoxious as a character and I wasn’t at all intrigued by him. His sister Hallie was a doorstop more than anything else, oh and she was a bit of a plot device since she got lost and had to be tracked down. I am really not at all sure why she was even in the book.
The potential for Jack and Octavia to have a steaming hot relationship was there, but puttered out pretty quick. Octavia gives into Jack quickly and from there out they were pretty uninspiring. There wasn’t a lot to keep the characters apart and, given that this book focused mainly on their relationship, it made things pretty boring for the remainder of the story. There was so much potential here for a steamy romance set in a steampunk Victoria era and it just wasn’t realized. I felt like MacAlister wrote this over a weekend for fun and didn’t bother really making her characters, plot, or world all that filled out.
Given all of the above, the story was slightly amusing. I was stuck on a plane and didn’t have much else to do so I finished it; although I have to admit I had trouble getting through the last third of the book even though I had absolutely nothing else to do….
Overall my recommendation would be to skip this book. If you want to read something by MacAlister pick up her Aisling Grey Guardian series, it is much much better than this book. Keep in mind that MacAlister writes light fluffly, funny, paranormal romance. If you want to read a steampunk paranormal romance that is awesome pick up The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooke; The Iron Duke has an actual plot, awesome characters, and an absolutely fantastic world. If you feel like you still absolutely need to read this book do yourself a favor and get it from the library.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges: