by Meljean Brook
Steampunk adventure in a world gone awry, people are enhanced and controlled with nanoagents, or turned mad and into zombies, plus there is a bunch of swashbucking on airships, adventuring for lost treasure and some wooing of an airship captain with a heart of steel.
Definitely read the first one, The Iron Duke before this book. While you could understand it, I found the whole world-building confusing and I read the first book, so make it easier on yourself and read them in order. There is a fair bit of history explained in this, I wasn’t too keen on fully grasping everything so I kind of skimmed, but I got enough out of it to enjoy the story. People are dictators, rebels and wanna be rebels or free agents. It is a tad bit involved so you do need to read closely in a few spots to understand who is what to who and why. The romance was much easier to discern. :D. Archimedes has a thing for Captain Corsair, they have to pose as husband and wife aboard another airship and it makes for interesting events. They fight their falling, well, the Captain does, who in their right mind could fall quickly for a man who wears lime green trousers with an orange waistcoat? Honestly. The sexual tension is high and the hard headed fall but hard.
It is cute, it is fun and it is sexy. If you like steampunk and pirate-type adventures, this series is great. This book even had novella Tethered included with the two main characters, where Heart of Steel ended. As Yasmeen is a Captain of her airship, she has never let anything get between her and her authority of the ship and crew, even love and lovers. These stories are about her finding love despite her desire not to be mushy with emotion and figuring out how to keep her authority as captain, if not her heart. “She’d always been afraid that love would bring her to her knees, destroy everything she’d earned. She’d never wanted it. But she had love now, and she still stood. Stronger, perhaps than she’d ever stood before.” (pg 356) Actually, I almost enjoyed Tethered more because it is all adventure story and less world history. The only think I was bummed about is that the ending was a bit too quick and easy. Well, easy is relative, but there were too few pages for what needed to be done! Also, in Tethered there was a huge “no way” moment of death defying stuff that, ok, I know this is all fantasy and most of the things are impossible, but, well, this was pretty crazy. But honestly, that is a nitpicky thing from me.
If you like romance and steampunk this is a great series. But definitely get a copy with both and read Heart of Steel first. 4 stars that control the nanoagents in your blood, if you get too close the signal, it heightens all of your emotions.