Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Steam and Sorcery

Author: Cindy Spencer Pape
Title: Steam and Sorcery
Description (source): Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.

Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she's ever met-and out of reach for a mere governess.

When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery... (netgalley description)

Review copy source: Netgalley

Plot: The plot had three main strands: the romance, the relationship of the two protagonists with the children, and the mystery of why vampires were suddenly working together (and working with humans). Of the three, the children’s subplot was the most enjoyable; each of the children had a special gift and a unique personality. I would have liked to see this take up even more of the book. The romance was ok, and I would have preferred to be without the mystery; it didn’t seem to matter except to take up time in between romance and kids. The heroine discovered something revelatory about herself, but it did not matter to the plot at all.

Characters: As I mentioned, the childrens’ characters were very well written, and the secondary characters (the aunt and the tutor) were entertaining as well. The two main protagonists, though, were pretty generic.

Writing style: This was my first steampunk romance (is that even a genre?) The author used some steampunk details in the story, but it probably could have been set during any historical time period. The one steampunk element that was important to the story was one of the children’s gift for mechanics.

Audience: Romance readers, especially of the steampunk subgenre. Paranormal fans would probably also like it, as well as folks who like governess stories.

Wrap-up: A pleasant read; I’m not the main audience for this book (as I don’t read paranormal or steampunk romance), but I would probably not seek out other books in the series or by this author. 3/5*

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