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Steam & Sorcery (The Gaslight Chronicles Book 1) by [Pape, Cindy Spencer]
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Steam & Sorcery (The Gaslight Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Length: 284 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Product Details

  • File Size: 447 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0373427778
  • Publisher: Carina Press (March 7, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 7, 2011
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,338 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bradley on March 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I wasn't really sure what to expect, when I first started reading this. I'm vaguely familiar with Harlequin, but not their Carina Press imprint. However, since I'm taking part in a steampunk reading challenge, I opted to try out Steam & Sorcery, and I don't regret it.

Supernaturals exist, though polite society does not speak of them. Secret organizations work for the crown and protect the populace from vampyres, rogue weres, and other supernatural beings whenever possible. Street urchins must either learn to fight, or die prematurely. Steam technology has allowed many advances which would otherwise have been anachronistic.

Enter Sir Merrick and his team of fighting urchins. When investigating the disappearance of girls from one of London's shadier neighborhoods, he comes across a surprising group of gifted youths who dispatch vampyres which would have otherwise killed him. Intrigued by them, and concerned about one boy in particular who has some very special powers, he takes them in, only to realize that he is ill-equipped to care for youngsters.

Luckily, his spinster-aunt knows just the woman to help him care for these children. Miss Caroline Bristol has been a governess for quite some time, but she has not had steady employment, due in part to her attractiveness; her employers can't seem to keep their hands off her, which causes her dismissal so frequently that she has begun to keep insurance for these instances. When she's offered a job with the attractive Sir Merrick, she hesitates, concerned that the handsome bachelor will be a problem.

With me so far? Because this is where it gets interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm very disappointed with this novel. It begun as a charming novel with intelligent leads, engaging children and a interesting premise. Then as soon as the book hits the first sex scene the male lead (who was formerly an man of integrity with respect for women) turns into a patronising a$$$hole with no regard (other than to get into her pants) for the female lead. Although who can blame him really when she turns from a highly intelligent woman into a desperate bimbo. The dialogue between them from then on was so unbelievable as to be laughable as well as insulting to women (I refer to his incredibly patronising "my little virgin" comment. I have no objection to romance and/or sex scenes but only when it is done appropriately and stays true to the genre. Gail Carriger (also a steampunk author) managed to pull off sex scenes without making them feel like they have been plucked from a 21st century Mills and Boons book so it can be done.

The plot also so potentially interesting at the beginning turns into an afterthought and the end was particularly unsatisfying. The children were the only saving grace of this book which is why it got two instead of one.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Sir Merrick Hadrian, a Knight of the Order of the Round Table, is skilled in magick and technology but completely undone by five kids. They saved his life when he was hunting vampires and he decided to take them in, partly out of gratitude and partly so he could hone their skills. These fairly wild children soon turn his house upside down and he discovers he needs a governess tout de suit. Enter Miss Caroline "Caro" Bristol aka Mary Poppins. Caro is able to sooth the savage little beasts with great aplomb but finds Merrick much harder to handle.

The relationship between Merrick and Caro is sweet but it changed very abruptly. I wanted greater chemistry and higher stakes in the relationship so as an audience we didn't know if they are really going to get together. Instead, Merrick suddenly decides that he wants to marry Caro which is a complete turnaround from Mr. I only want to have an affair. I prefer a little more foreshadowing in this respect.

The children were not well defined apart from their ability and one or two details. I think the biggest problem was that there were five of them and so it was difficult to develop them properly in the context of a paranormal romance. The purpose of this novel seemed to be to introduce them and having done that, I expect that later novels will round them out.

I really enjoyed the opening where Merrick tracked down the vampires and dispatched them with the help of the kids. Unfortunately we are then introduced to a series of clichés - the handsome father figure who is inept at dealing with children, the gorgeous governess who is really the illegitimate daughter of a member of the aristocracy, a spinster aunt who encourages the relationship, a tomboy girl who likes playing with machines etc.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Review copy source: Netgalley

Plot: The plot had three main strands: the romance, the relationship of the two protagonists with the children, and the mystery of why vampires were suddenly working together (and working with humans). Of the three, the children's subplot was the most enjoyable; each of the children had a special gift and a unique personality. I would have liked to see this take up even more of the book. The romance was ok, and I would have preferred to be without the mystery; it didn't seem to matter except to take up time in between romance and kids. The heroine discovered something revelatory about herself, but it did not matter to the plot at all.

Characters: As I mentioned, the childrens' characters were very well written, and the secondary characters (the aunt and the tutor) were entertaining as well. The two main protagonists, though, were pretty generic.

Writing style: This was my first steampunk romance (is that even a genre?) The author used some steampunk details in the story, but it probably could have been set during any historical time period. The one steampunk element that was important to the story was one of the children's gift for mechanics.

Audience: Romance readers, especially of the steampunk subgenre. Paranormal fans would probably also like it, as well as folks who like governess stories.

Wrap-up: A pleasant read; I'm not the main audience for this book (as I don't read paranormal or steampunk romance), but I would probably not seek out other books in the series or by this author. 3/5*
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