I don’t normally pick up romances, but there were gears on the cover so I felt that I must. The romance I selected is Steamed, by Katie MacAlister. This has been her only literary foray into Steampunk, and she has a lot of fun with the genre.
Our hero is Jack Fletcher, a computer engineer who enjoys a band called Airship Pirates. I feel certain this is a nod to the actual band Abney Park. Jack is also a Quaker whose nickname is Indiana Jones. All this ceases to matter in about six pages, as his visiting sister touches something she shouldn’t have and zaps them both into an alternate universe.
Our heroine is Captain Octavia Pye, the commander of the airship Tesla and ex-girlfriend of two out of the three major political figures that appear in this book. After some inevitable confusion and resistance, Jack and ‘Tavy’ fall in love and have some deliciously explicit and well-written scenes together.
The dialogue is witty and fun. Octavia’s airship crew is delightful in their outlandishness, though I wish somebody had explained Mr. Llama and elaborated on Mr. Ho.
The story is so upbeat and cartoony that when actual danger comes up it seems out of place. An amusing chase scene with Hallie, the sister who exists in order to go missing and touch quantum circuit boards, ends in starving refugees. It’s jarring when the horrors of war appear in your adventurous romp.
I give this book three out of five gears. It’s fun but it seems like it doesn’t quite come together. Steamed is a good book to bring with you the next time you take an airship cruise to Hawaii.
Your Correspondent From The Bookstore,
Penny J. Merriweather