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Skies of Fire: The Ether Chronicles Mass Market Paperback – April 17, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Ether Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Zoë Archer is a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of adventure, sexy men, and women who make no apologies for kicking ass. Her books include the Hellraisers paranormal historical series and the acclaimed Blades of the Rose paranormal historical adventure series. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the '80s. Zoë and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, live in Los Angeles.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Ether Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Impulse (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062184490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062184498
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,253,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story centers around Christopher Redmond, a Man O'War in an alternate Victorian-era, steam punk Europe. In this world, scientists have discovered how to turn a few rare men into Navy Men O'Wars. The Men O'Wars have extraordinary physical abilities and act as symbiotic power-plants for the arial ships they captain. There's a lot of hand-wavy science going on but you have to expect that with steam punk, and I didn't mind it since it was internally consistent.

Anyway, when the story starts, Captain Redmond's busy with an arial naval battle in which he and a few other British vessels are fighting against a greater number of vessels manned by the Huns of Hapsburg. So the action is off to a rollicking start. He's a paragon of captain-ly-ness, and the only thing that he has trouble with is keeping the thoughts of Louisa Shaw off his mind. She's a covert operative that he had an intense relationship with, but she left him three years ago, and he's never recovered. Of course, they soon meet up in dangerous conditions, deep in enemy territory, and they're thrown together in an adventure together to save themselves and Britain.

So, on the romance side, it's a former-lovers-coming-together tale with some real emotional poignancy as well as explicitly (and well) described sex scenes. On the adventuring side, the author does a great job of keeping the action rolling and the stakes high within a fairly simple achieve-the-mission-and-get-back-home plot.

The story's real heart is the romance, so the author focuses tightly on the two main characters. I liked them both. Christopher is sexy, honorable, tortured, protective, loving, and brooding. Yum. But for me, Louisa stole the show. She's brilliant and driven and flawed and courageous.
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By Mandy on September 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really like Archer's writing and I love steampunk, so this should have been a winner for me. Archer is a pretty solid writer that usually does an excellent job of mixing action and romance. Here, she missed on both marks. I never connected with these characters. Their backstories weren't really interesting and I didn't care if they hooked up or not.

Archer missed some huge possibilities with the action section, too. The hero, Christopher, is a Man O'War. Archer goes into great detail about the torture it takes to become a Man O'War and the dangers of Christopher being separated from the ship for too long. But, instead of using that in her plot, Archer has everything go as planned. While on the ship, Louisa and Christopher come up with a plan and they follow it. The end. It definitely felt formulaic. There were no twists, turns, or surprises.

The next book in the series is written by Archer's husband. I am interested in seeing how he writes. Before I had started this book, I bought the rest of the series. I'm hoping it gets better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is interesting that I like the couple in this book so much while feeling very meh about the actual story. The world is interesting but there is simply not enough of it. There are no real antagonist present. All we get is the idea of the villains. Because this is a series book I figure some of the world book losing took place in earlier instalments.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Captain Christopher Redmond was just a man when British Naval Intelligence agent, Louisa Shaw, left him years ago. Since then he has become a Man O' War, something more than human and tied to his ship in a way no other man can be. Protecting the skies of Europe is a duty he takes very seriously and when Louisa's mission gets compromised bringing their paths together again he'll suffer the constant reminder of their past for the sake of duty. But this is one mission that might cost the pair everything as they find themselves stuck behind enemy lines and the skies afire with the unresolved passion they once shared.

SKIES OF FIRE has a terrific set up. The steampunk elements Archer (and co-creator, Nico Rosso) has put together are sure to find fans. The story itself had some moments of drag where it felt like not much was happening but once the action picked up it was impossible to put this one down. SKIES OF FIRE is definitely for fans of the Meljean Brook's Iron Seas, a great wait filler between installments. If you liked Rhys and Mina (from The Iron Duke) you'll love Christopher and Louisa's ability to carry a steamy relationship along through one heck of a dangerous mission behind enemy lines.

I liked Christpher and Louisa from the get-go. Both are very no-nonsense in their respective duties and yet in private, manage to show amusing quirks that made them both very endearing. If you love a romance pairing where the hero is the brawn and the heroine is the brains without either actually being weak or unintelligent you will enjoy them immensely. They work well together and carry the action of this steampunk adventure well. Romances where the hero and heroine have a past can be problematic but in this case it actually gave it a richness that worked in its favor.

Highly recommended for steampunk romance readers looking for some serious spice and a solid adventure too.

***ARC received via publisher.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Skies of Fire kicks off a new steampunk series by Zoe Archer and her author husband Nico Rosso. Archer's entry has in the lead a Brittish airship captain who was enhanced with implants that make him more than human. His ship is damaged behind enemy lines when he rescues an undercover operative - who happens to be the former lover who abandoned him years ago. Her mission is not complete yet and he must help her in a suicide run to destroy the enemy's secret munitions plant.

I am intrigued by the alternate historical worlds of steampunk and, since I am a die hard romance reader, if there is a romance too it's all the better. That said, Skies of Fire didn't really fire me up. Don't get me wrong there were definitely some exciting parts of the story, the mission to the munitions plant was action packed, but neither of the leads really caught me for some reaason. I am exceedingly hero-centric and the uber strong, ultra capable, honorable captain with the cracks in his heart from the woman he can't forget should have reeled me in, but didn't somehow.

So the bottom line on this one is that, for me, this was a mixed read that had steamy stuff but just didn't capture my heart. And wierd as this may seem, since short stories almost always leave me wanting more, this story was almost too long in the setup. Consequently, Skies of Fire ended up being on the okay side of 'I liked it' even though I've liked other things written by Archer - her Blades of the Rose series for instance - but I do like steampunk so I may give the second book a try - it is Rosso's turn in the author role and his story is set in the Old (steampunk) West .
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