- File Size: 399 KB
- Print Length: 100 pages
- Publisher: Carina Press (December 5, 2011)
- Publication Date: December 5, 2011
- Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005Z1CFSE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,059 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
Price set by seller.
Wanted: One Scoundrel: A Steampunk Christmas Novella (The Bustlepunk Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
What I know about steampunk, as a reader, I got from the big screen. 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 'The Golden Compass', 'Wild, Wild West'. So this book, for me was a really gentle introduction to it. The novella was well-paced and the tech stuff was, too. I get that it's possibly not typical of the steam-to-story ratio of the average steampunk but I don't think that's a bad thing necessarily. There was no disorienting disembarkation from an air-ship or a Vernesque submarine into a bustling technical wonderland. The scientific concepts grew with the story, and they really fit the society rather than feeling laboured. And they let the unique setting (the Swan River colony in Australia) have decent stage time.
Anyway, setting the science aside... The relationship between Jed and Esme reminded me very much of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane--both of whom I adore. I love a slow burn, I love equally matched intellects and a gentler pace that doesn't feel the need to get all heavy-breathing. Not saying I never want to see them getting below the bustle but I definitely don't want to see it in the first 25,000 words. I hope that (like Julia & Brisbane) Schwartz can stretch the relationship out over a number of books to keep Jed and Esme's romance alive much longer. And the mystery, literally. I'd love to see these two continue to best lesser minds together.
And lastly, hooray for a historical ripped from the ample bosom of England. That's well overdue.
The book has a fantastic start.
Esme Smith is a strong-willed 22 year old, daughter of the richest man in Australia, and staunch supporter of the women's suffragist movement. She has a problem, however. Many of the political discussions are held at men's clubs where she can't participate. She needs a man to advocate for her cause. More particularly, she needs "a well-dressed, well-spoken man" who will "do as he's told."
And that scoundrel happens to be Jedediah Reeve - an American and, unbeknownst to Esme, an inventor and son of a senator. He takes the job not because he needs money, but because he's intrigued by Esme.
As the two work on promoting the cause, Esme becomes attracted to Jed, although she struggles to keep it purely professional. And Jed tries to control his jealousy over the haughty, powerful Nicholas Brambury, who wants nothing more than to woo Esme.
And that's about what this book covers - in an uninteresting, droning manner. It amazed me that the author could flatten such promising and dynamic characters. The Esme who was looking for her scoundrel at the beginning shriveled up into an unemotional shell of her former self. Jed wasn't awful, but instead of being intrigued by and following in love with Esme as he got to know her, he just sort of went from intrigued by to possessive over. If there were any deep conversations or opportunities for them to get to know each other, they certainly weren't mentioned in the part of the book I read.
Also, this was advertised as a "Christmas" novel. Other than occurring during the time when there were holiday festivities - none of which played a role in the plot - this had nothing to do with Christmas.
I was baffled.
But I went into this as a preview to Courting Trouble and thought maybe the purpose was just to introduce the characters. I would've liked an exciting plot, but whatever. The next book was probably a lot better. At this point, I would've given Wanted 5 stars.
I know this isn't fair, but I felt compelled to take another star off when I started Counting Trouble. I read maybe the first chapter and was appalled. Jed seemed to be taking a little bit of a possessive stance in Wanted, but I shrugged it off. InCourting Trouble, he was a downright tyrant. He physically carried Esme out of a seedy bar (where he felt a lady shouldn't be) while she was listening to a political speaker. Then, when he gets her home and a verbal fight ensues, he physically grabs her and drags her off the street.
Excuse me? And she lets this happen?
I hadn't written this review yet and it retroactively tainted my opinion of Jed. As I said, it isn't exactly fair, but I couldn't write this review in good conscience without factoring that in.
Courting Trouble is now on my DNF list.
This is more historical than steampunk - the technological aspects seem only as set design, and not plot-centric. This is disappointing, because I WANT devices to be centre stage - they're vital for true steampunk.
But even though WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL is more historical than mechanised, I really enjoyed this. I've never before encountered a steampunk set in Australia, so the location here is easier for me to identify with, and a welcome change from the seemingly endless parades of English- and American-based corset-and-bustle dramas.
And I actually believe the relationship, and wanted it to happen - which I almost never do, so this is a big compliment to the author's considerable talents. Esme and Jed don't have silly misunderstandings to create a "darkest hour" - they're smart, likeable characters who don't turn into insufferable gits once they fancy each other.
In fact, the STORY is more central than the romance, and this is another brilliant difference that lifts this novella above its peers. I certainly hope to read more Australian steampunk from Jenny Schwartz.
P.S. I still don't know what a "scoundrel" is.
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