Steam and Sorcery was a perfect summer read, a fun romance with bits of steampunk, fantasy and mystery.
For me, in a romance, the two main characters are the most important pieces, and I have to say that I enjoyed this couple. Sir Merrick Hadrian is a Knight of the order of the Round Table, dedicated to protecting Victorian London from monsters, both human and supernatural. He’s a skillful fighter and magick user, physically strong and sexy, but a good guy, not chauvinistic or cruel in any way. Miss Caroline Bristol is a governess, hired to manage Merrick’s five gifted ward, formerly street children. She’s bright, beautiful, and adores the children. The sparks of course fly between the two, and I liked how their relationship progressed. You’ve got the usual but “he’s out of my league” from Caroline, but Merrick is not one to bow to social conventions. They’re perfect together, a good team.
The mystery involves vampires, nasty ones. They are working together with an unknown person, posing a huge danger to the city. Caroline and Merrick have to work together to figure out who is behind the plan and to stop it. They are good partners. Merrick is protective, but realizes when others, including Caroline and the children can be of help.
Fantasy bits include the vampires, a werewolf, ghosts, the fae. It’s light on steampunk, although they do travel in a dirigible, there are several steam-powered pets, and a punch card machine is a major part of the plot.
I like the world Pape has created, the blend of historical London, fantasy and steam-power, but the characters are what made it worth reading. I loved Merrick and Caroline’s interactions, and the supporting characters are well-fleshed out too. The children each have gifts that make them extraordinary, but they’re also kids who like to play and need loved. Merrick’s aunt, who lives with them, is a delightful woman, strong-opinioned and supportive.
The sex scenes were a bit spicy, and fit in nicely with the story.
Published March 7, 2011 by Carina Press
Gaslight Chronicles #1
4 out of 5 stars
I received my e-galley for review and the above is my honest opinion.