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.
Don't believe the hype. This is terrible. Google to find more info. This is not comparable to Tolkien by any stretch.
THIS is the way to write romantic fantasy.
This story is better than the synopsis sounds. The writing is very good.
Currently $1.14 for Kindle version and $1.99 for the Audible version. WELL worth it.
First off I'll admit Romances typically are not my thing. Now, I don't mind some romance in my stories, if done well, and not too angsty, have a love triangle and or insta-love, but too often I've found in books labeled "Romance" everything but the "romance" seems thrown in as window dressing.
However, there are a few notable exceptions, and this is one of them. I'd label this Romance/Fantasy. There is an actual, real plot here. Not too complex a plot, but in this case that didn't matter to me. Because, the writing is excellent, the world in which it takes place is well drawn, as are secondary characters, and it was a real pleasure to read this story. The author knows how to tell a story, set a scene and give us characters we can like and care about.
Bonuses: Our heroine is feisty, and our hero, while having his grumpy, testy moments, is not a jerk.
If you like Romances that are more than thrown together to be devoured and forgotten, and you can enjoy some fantasy and adventure elements mixed in, then you may very well like this one.
If you enjoy fantasy, adventure, with a plucky heroine and don't mind a bit of romance in the mix, then you also may enjoy this one.
And with a Kindle price of $1.14 there's not much risk giving it a try.
The story is self-contained. Although I'd love more stories set in this world it appears currently the author has no plans to write more.
I'll admit, I didn't really have high expectations for this one. I hoped for a reasonably enjoyable read and not really much more. I was in for a very pleasant surprise. This story hooked me almost right from the start.
I think time-travel stories typically have elements that if thought about too hard, or considered too closely, logic problems can be found. In my opinion the trick for the author is to tell the story in such a way so that there are not only as few of these as possible, but so that those that remain don't stick out like sore thumbs. In this regard I think this story delivers admirably. If there were any logic issues I didn't want to look for them, I enjoyed being caught up in a very good story that was very well told. I quickly became a very willing and pleased participant in the suspension of disbelief.
The writing is masterful. Enough detail and description so that I felt immersed in the story, but not so much that it slowed the plot. Provided naturally and seamlessly within the telling of the story.
I found Kate to be a believable and likable teenager. Some of her choices are questionable as far as being sensible, but I thought were still genuine for her age.
I enjoyed how the story developed and how the time-travel elements were handled. I found the story unique and imaginative.
There is a bit of a not-really-but-sort-of love triangle, but it fit nicely within the plot.
There's action, danger, and enough playing with time to keep me guessing and twist my brain a bit, but not so much as to become hopelessly lost and confused. It's not easy to write a time-travel story this well, and I am highly impressed.
I listened to the audio version, and the narrator was excellent.
I'll definitely read the next in the series when it comes out.
Other reviewers have commented in more detail regarding the story, and I hate to give much away. So I will end here.
My advice to a reader: if this looks at all like your kind of story don't delay, read it!
I have a few nits to pick with this one, so I want to say first that I did like it, and likely will read the second book in the series.
I found the main character likeable and appreciated that she wasn't a whimp. I particularly found the idea of winged messengers very interesting and pretty unique. I was also pleased that although it appeared there may be a danger of a love triangle, one never really occurred. Overall I give this book a solid "I liked it".
I just think with some minor adjustments this story could have been so much better.
Genre: I see this book being promoted as "Steampunk", and many seem to consider it such. I do not. There are elements that would be at home in a Steampunk novel, but I would categorize this book as Sci Fi. In fact I think it would best fall into YA Sci Fi.
This story takes place in a fictional universe, in a fictional society. The setting is not Victorian, nor Victorian-like.
I say this not to debate what "Steampunk" is or what it isn't. I know there are various opinions on the matter, and the line can get blurry. I simply want to point it out for anyone who would consider the term implying this story has elements it does not really have.
I also see this book in places promoted as, or considered to be a Romance novel. I think those looking for a Romance would be pretty disappointed in this one. There is a bit of a romantic element woven through the story, but it doesn't really drive the story and isn't really a core plot point. Personally I liked this handling much better, but I know others prefer more romance in their Romances.
Although the main characters are not teens, there is often a very young feel to thoughts, actions and dialog. It's definitely appropriate for a YA audience, and I think those who don't enjoy YA might not like this one as much as those of us who do.
I've also seen a few people call this Fantasy, which completely boggles my mind. I don't see any elements of a Fantasy story here.
World Building: Here I think the story had some issues. I wish there had been a bit more description regarding the place and more shown regarding the society. Particularly since this is a place of the author's invention. There is some, but it's fairly sparse, and is typically there only when needed for the plot. I had trouble picturing the scene, and being able to feel I was right there. I think it could have used more atmosphere, sounds, sights, smells, description.
For example, characters take a "hack" to travel in the city a few times. There is mention of the driver. There is no mention of a horse or horses in the entire book. I wanted to be able to picture this scene in my mind. Was this hack horse driven? I don't know. It's possible in this place it was machine driven. I got no snorting of the horse, stamping of hooves, or petting of a velvet nose. But also nothing to imply it was machine driven either. This kind of thing bothered me, and I don't think would have taken too much to improve.
I could give a few other examples, but I think that gives an idea of what I mean.
Characters: I found the main character very likeable. She's not perfect and felt reasonably real. She isn't a whimp, but she cares about people. The main issue I had here was with dialog. It seemed clear to me that the author was going for some reluctant respect coupled with annoyance, but also some humor between the main character and the man I thought would turn out to be her love interest (I won't tell you if I was right on that, or not :D) But it fell short a bit. At times there was more anger than I thought made sense, at other times anger switched to humor too quickly to seem realistic. I happened to be listening to the audio version and I will say that I believe only part of my issue with dialog was due to the writing. I think the narrator also could have done a better job interpreting emotion a bit differently. I've seen witty banter and sarcastic humor done better, and I admit I'm a bit spoiled.
I did very much like the fact that the romantic element was allowed to grow out of not simply attraction, but friendship as well. There's no real insta-love here. And the love interest isn't gorgeous, but is a decent man. How wonderfully refreshing!
Overall I liked the main characters, and I cared about them reasonably enough. I think this is a good and entertaining story by an author who is one to watch.
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 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.
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