I am thrilled there's a new set of stories in the Valdemar series. Can't wait till the next installment.
This is a short story which is a prequel introduction to a series. I found it enjoyable. Finley was an interesting and pretty likeable character, but I found the plot a bit silly. As far as "Steampunk", I'm not sure I would quite classify it as such. There are automatons, etc. But the Victorian atmosphere was very thin. I may read the next (officially first) book in this series, but was not inspired to want to do so right away.
Readers should be aware, this is a romance wrapped in a bit of sci-fi time travel. With that in mind, and even though I would have preferred the story had been longer, fleshing out Stormy's time travel back story, I found it very enjoyable.
Disclaimer - the author is primarily a romance writer, so there's some predictability here, the occasional mild ick factor, and several explicit sex scenes. But overall a very light, enjoyable read with characters to care about.
I listened to the audio version, and I confess I fell asleep during the last portion only to wake right before the end. So, this is based upon me missing a bit near the end.
I also confess I do not enjoy stories that are mainly romances, most especially those of the current fad of teen hearthrob vampire romance variety.
So, your mileage may vary.
I did not expect this story to be great literature or the next blockbuster. I did have hopes for a fun and entertaining story, with hopefully likeable characters.
It partially delivered. It is disappointing though, because I think it had the potential to be so much better.
All the main characters are described as gorgeous - repeatedly. When a new character is introduced he/she is (surprise, surprise) gorgeous. And the characters talk to each other about how gorgeous the other is, repeatedly. This was, for me, the most annoying and distracting issue with this story. I felt I was being hit over the head, repeatedly, with the CLUE to expect a romance. With characters that were not only all unrealistically and uninterestingly attractive, but that they also lacked skillful and witty banter.
The inclusion of Sherlock Holmes is unfortunately simply a plot device, and after the needed scene he is never heard from again (although I may have missed a reappearance if it occurred in the portion I slept through). As pointed out by other reviewers, this story really is not Steampunk, and does seem to be intentional inclusion of many popular YA themes. Vampires - check. Romantic triangle - check. Steampunk - missed the mark.
The writing also gave me the impression of an inexperienced author, who still lacked a bit of polish, finesse and subtlety. I was surprised when I discovered this is not the author's first novel.
For those who want to read about a plucky and beautiful heroine, with potential romance with several gorgeous male options, with some danger and vampires thrown in, this might be a enjoyable diversion. But for Steampunk, Adventure and even Holmesian take offs I can think of better options.
Try Airborn, Enola Holmes, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Good Morning, Irene. Lloyd Alexander's Vesper Holly series.
I could have done without the blatant political commentary peppered throughout this story, but overall I really enjoyed it.
There are some gruesome bits, but this is not a horror novel. I stopped reading King years ago because his stories got so icky and odd, but here he's again at his best.
Miss Pettigrew is part Mary Poppins, part Pygmalion/Cinderella. An enjoyable read with likable characters.
I saw the movie first, not realizing it was based on a book. The movie was one of those rare movies inspired by a book - it actually did justice to the story and was also quite fun.
Airborn is about a cabin boy on an passenger air ship. It takes place in an alternate history of our world - so it may be classified as fantasy, but it is not really a fantasy story - it's an adventure story. Has an 1800's or maybe Edwardian feel. It might appear to be more of a "boy book", but there is a main character who is a girl, so there's someone girls can relate to, and a bit of wholesome romance. I wouldn't assume girls wouldn't like this one.
There's also a bit of a mystery. The protagonist, 15 year old Matt, is likable, responsible, honest and the story is well written.
For parents - There wasn't anything in it to give parents pause - except for a few deaths in the battles with the pirates - a couple good guys, a few bad guys, but although there were sad deaths (the good guys) nothing was too graphic. No bad language, a couple chaste kisses. I think this would be a great book to read to kids that were not old enough to read it themselves. Pretty G rated. I'd only hesitate with very young children because of the deaths, and the pirates may be scary for them.
I enjoyed this book, but I had a couple of issues with it. I listened to the audio version, and the narrator did an excellent job. The story just dragged for me for awhile in the 2nd half, but I really did care about what happened to the characters, particularly the main character Jena and her endearing pet frog. So I stuck it out and I'm glad I did. The other issue I had was that although Jena had some strength and a mind of her own there were times when she was indecisive, too passive, slow to figure things out that should have been fairly obvious, and it caused the romantic angst, as well as the frustration and uncertainty of their problems, to drag on to the point that it was almost unbearable. I prefer female protagonists with a bit more spunk than Jenna had when things got tough. I kept wanting to shout at her to do "such and so" already! And several times was tempted to skip ahead, but didn't. If it weren't for that I would have given it four stars.
Overall an enjoyable read for a romantic fantasy with a bit of a dark twist. Teen and tween girls who like romance and fairy tales should like this one, and it's clean enough for particular parents.
2nd after "The Doomsday Book", but a separate story - do not need to read "The Doomsday Book" first. A lighter read, fun story involving time-travel. One of the few books I try to get all my friends to read because I enjoyed it so much.
I've read this book twice, and now just finished listening to the audio version. I love this story. It has time-travel, Victorian England, London during the Nazi air raid, literary references, historical references, humor, romance, a bit of mystery, a dog, a cat, a comedy of errors, what more could a person want?
The story-telling is delicious. Ned - the character who narrates the story - has a dry, witty sense of humor and a lot of heart. His comments had me quite often chuckling at his jokes. The Victorian era, viewed through the eyes of 21st century time-traveling historians, pokes fun at some of it's silliness but Ned and Verity treat those they meet, including the dog and the cat, with good-humor and affection. Ned's interaction with the pets, particularly the dog Cyril, is touching, talking to him humorously as though he were nearly a person.
Ned and Verity together, attempting to correct a temporal incongruity, are delightful. But this story never gets sappy or sentimental. There is no "ick" factor here.
Every time I join these characters in their story I thoroughly enjoy my time spent with them. I wish there had been further stories of their adventures. This book is definitely on my list of all time favorites.
The narrator of the audio version, Steven Crossley, did the job to near perfection.
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