Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review of "Steamed" by Katie MacAlister

Ahhh Katie MacAlister, one of my favorite authors. And when she said she wanted to try a Steampunk novel, well... I said Alright, I'll try it to. And I did. And we'll just see how it goes, okay? Okay!

Disclaimer: I purchased this book on my own, no money nor any fun freebies were exchanged for a review. Or even un-fun freebies (whatever they may be).

From the back of the book: " 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 nanoelectrical system experiments, and suddenly they aren't where they're supposed to be. In fact, they're not sure where they are when...

...they wake up to find 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 have 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. "

First off, I'm totally in love with the tag line "Jack Fletcher's heart is about to get punked." It's perfect, and just sparks immediate interest. Along those lines, the cover is stunning. I'm usually more of a fan of non-illustrated covers, but this one is definitely an exception.

This was actually my first journey into steampunk, and I know well not to judge every style of novel by one example. However, I think my first glimpse at Steampunk wasn't a bad one. I can't see all steampunk novels being like this, since Jack starts out in our world, and is knocked into a different version of reality - one that is steampunk-y.

I could see a lot of the things I love about Katie MacAlister's stories in this book. There are character types you find in her other novels, with just enough spin on them that they don't get old. I liked Jack and Octavia both, but I felt like Jack had a bit too much of a backstory. The author made me feel like I had missed something, that Jack Fletcher had had novels previous to this, and that I had come in on the middle of a series. I always love it when characters had an interesting life, one that shaped them in amazing ways - but this seemed like just a bit too much for me. Octavia, on the other hand, seemed better, easier to understand. Yes, the reader is told she has many secrets, but it never gets to be too overwhelming, while Jack's past seems like too much information thrown at the reader at once.

But that wasn't too much of an issue. My main problem with the book was the switching of perspective. Chapter one started from Jack's perspective, and the second chapter switches to Octavia's perspective. It just feels a little jarring when you get used to seeing things through one character's eyes, then the next page moving on to the other person. And there were ways to help the reader realize whose thoughts we would be hearing for that chapter, but sometimes it wasn't enough.

All that said, I really did enjoy "Steamed" by Katie MacAlister. There are certain habits Katie MacAlister has that I love, and they showed up in this book. I really enjoyed the characters, the plot was interesting, and I thought the steampunk-y elements were well done. However, as I said, I am new to this genre. I think "Steamed" is a good stepping stone for non-steampunkers to break into the genre, if they wish.

That said, I'm giving "Steamed" by Katie MacAlister a FOUR out of FIVE. I did enjoy it, it was a quick, fun read, but as I said, the switching of perspective gave me pause a few times. As far as I remember, Katie MacAlister's earlier novels never had this issue, and it wasn't until her past few releases that's she's picked up this habit. I just wish there was a smoother way to transition between the two, if she decides to keep it up.

Happy reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

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