Chasing the Star Garden is in the top 10 percent of audiobooks I’ve read. The complex cast of characters, the fragile yet resourceful Lilly Stargazer,..Show More » airship pilot, and the mysterious quest across Europe for an ancient mystical statue combine for a compelling story. The narrator did an outstanding job of bringing this story to life.
Chasing the Star Garden has many characters from different nations and stations: English, Scottish, French, Greek, Italian, working men and women, privileged and titled lords. If I had read the book, all of those characters would have had my voice. Libby Clearfield skillfully moved from one character and accent to another quickly without hesitation and with clarity of speech. The variety and accuracy of the accents was amazing and definitely enriched the experience. Humor, sadness, concern, frustration, love and excitement were expressed by her tone of voice for each character as appropriate. I particularly appreciated her ability to voice realistic male characters with different accents without making them sound like a woman trying to imitate a man’s voice.
I was initially concerned about reading this story, based upon warnings of abuse, sex and drug use in another review. While it is present, the abuse is presented in flashbacks, without excessive detail, but is necessary to the character and story development. The sex and drug use is in current time, but much less graphic than many historical romance novels and not an issue.
The unveiling of Lilly Stargazer’s background and emotional development, through flashbacks, gradually helps the reader understand her complex, driven nature and why she gets into trouble. Fortunately, her own skills and friends, like Lord Byron, help her evade disaster time and again. Lilly has not shared all of her secrets by the end of the novel and has more air races to win. I want her to succeed in her quests for love and success.
Melanie Karsak has created a believable steampunk universe with interesting characters, adventures and thrilling airship races. I look forward to the next novel in the series and hope that Libby Clearfield will return as Lilly Stargazer.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.