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Review: Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister

Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister
Steampunk, Romance
Mass Market Paperback (SIGNET, 352 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0451229312
Jack Fletcher's heart is about to get punked.
Computer technician Jack Fletcher is no hero, despite his unwelcome reputation as one. In fact, he's just been the victim of bizarre circumstances. Like now. His sister happens to disturb one of his nanoelectromechanical system experiments, and now they aren't where they're supposed to be. In fact, they're not sure where they are when…
…they wake up to see a woman with the reddest hair Jack has ever seen-and a gun. Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain with a whole lot of secrets, and she's not about to see her maiden voyage ruined by stowaways. But the sparks flying between her and Jack just may cause her airship to combust and ignite a passion that will forever change the world as she knows it…

Author Site: www.katiemacalister.com

Not really the steampunk or the romance I was looking for. (2 stars)

Jack Fletcher seems to always end up in a situation where he becomes some sort of hero even when he isn't trying. Somehow he gets thrust into strange circumstances that make him seem heroic... and the ladies love him ever the more for it. When his meddling sister Hallie drops by his place of business to discuss setting him up on a date he becomes the victim of strange fates again. When Hallie messes with the wrong nano-whatsamahoozit and explosion rocks the two into an alternate reality where the year might be the same but the Victorian-esque manners and airship travel could hop right from the pages of one of Jack's favorite steampunk graphic novels.

Finding Jack and Hallie aboard her Aerocorps vessel, the HIMA Tesla, Captain Octavia Pye is in no mood to deal with stow-aways. As it happens Europe is in the middle of a war and between Moghul enemies and Revolutionaries dead set against bringing down the emperor Octavia has her hands full. But one look at the red locked Captain and Jack is smitten with lust. He'll have Octavia Pye and she him, if the two can survive the adventure ahead. If Hallie and Jack can't return to their own reality they may have to learn the ways of a steampunk lifestyle really fast.

Yet another book where the concept seems really great but just doesn't quite work. I'm no purist when it comes to romances. Sometimes I do like one where the narration is done in first person. Unfortunately, Steamed is told from both Jack and Octavia's eyes. It might work for some readers but I found it hard to tell the difference between their "voices" in this format. I didn't like it and by the end of the book I found it insanely irritating how shallow and lusty it made each sound. I like a lusty romance as much as the next reader but with the Victorian era mannerisms and speech it sounded kind of crass.

The story itself felt really slapped together. There were entertaining crew members aboard the Tesla to pepper it with funny dialog and euphemisms but at times it felt like there was no one really needed aside from the hero and heroine. It is my personal preference in reading—whether romance or not—that there be secondary characters. Those here in Steamed really do nothing for the story other than provide a little bit of conflicting force and backup. What little conflict there is resolves way too easily and that really cheapened the conclusion for me. This is the first time I've read MacAlister though I have some of her other titles in my TBR pile and if this is an example of the humor she threads into her work that is its main saving grace.

In summation, liked the humor, liked the concept, didn't care for the narrative style or general storyline. Would I read another steampunk romance based on this one as a point of comparison? Probably not. But I'm open to trying other steampunkish titles with romance in them.

Other Reviews:
SHUZLUVA @ dearauthor.com
Novel Addiction
Katiebabs @ Babbling About Books, and More!

Notes: I received this book through Librarything.com's Early Reviewers program.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review!!! I have read a few books from Katie MacAlister and for the most part I like them, but I haven't read this one; but I will keep what you said in mind.

Rhianna said...

Thanks for letting me know you found my review helpful Queen! It was a toughie for me to review.

vvb32 reads said...

ewww, sorry you didn't care for this one. i read this awhile ago and liked it for what it was. in june, i'll be having a steampink week, june 4-12, taking a look at other steampunk romance type novels come by to see if any of the titles i mention are of interest.

btw: you've just been awarded

Rhianna said...

I saw that Velvet! I'll have to come see if you have a button I can add to my sidebar to point readers to it. I love the whole Steampink idea... very clever. Did you come up with that yourself or is it a steampunk fan term? I'm so new to the genre I feel a bit like a preschooler when talking about it.


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