Today's review is going to be a quickie. Fair warning, I've been a fan of Katie MacAlister for a while now. I started with A Girls Guide to Vampires and I haven't looked back. I've found most of her heroines to be clever, strong and real. She has a real gift for making her characters people you would expect to meet in real life and I've been shocked to get to the end of a book and remember that I'm reading.
So, imagine my surprise when I pop into a bookstore to see if I left my cellphone there (I didn't) and they're putting a new Katie MacAlister book out. A quick glance and I realize it's a Steampunk Katie MacAlister book. I'd never parted with my lunch money so fast. I was honestly a bit surprised, at least at first, that I hadn't heard about it before that. I realized, though, that it was one of those strange hybrids that nobody knows what to do with. It was written by a romance novelist, and indeed was considered a romance by the publisher, but it was a subject that was only recently gaining much respect as a sub-genre. Forget asking for respect for romance books, apart from the fact that they're about 60% of the books sold right now.
The plot was fun and as original as any I'd seen in a romance book. I'm not a fan of pirate romance novels so maybe it's old hat to the readers who are but it was new to me as somebody who reads voraciously. After a lab accident, Dr. Jack Fletcher finds himself in a parallel world. More specifically, he finds himself on the airship of Captain Olivia Pye. Because he's wearing a shirt from a concert he attended the night before, The Airship Pirates, Captain Olivia initially thinks he's a pirate. There's much more involving a treasonous plot, airship pirates and a daring escape, but half the fun is reading the twists and turns that this book takes so I won't spoil them here. Just wait until you find out what happened to her father!
The Steampunk part of the book felt a little bit like window dressing in parts but it's treated seriously. The captain is dressed correctly, with her corset acting like the undergarment it is, and this is the only book I've read that has even addressed where the power source for the airship is coming from since they don't carry huge amounts of coal. A little knowledge of Tesla and Edison make the answer a bit unsatisfactory but it's at least attempted and for that I have to give her some respect.
Yes, this is a romance novel but I wouldn't let that keep you from picking it up (download it to your ereader of choice if you're really worried about what other people will think) and enjoying a very well-written story. It is not a bodice ripping sex romp (because, really, a properly made bodice shouldn't rip), so sorry if that's what you're looking for, but it is a good introduction to Steampunk novels.