Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Riveted by Meljean Brook

Riveted by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #3
Genre: Steampunk/Romance (Adult)
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A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.

Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam . . . (from Goodreads)

I don't often find myself liking books on more than one level. For me, the fun books that I usually gravitate towards don't offer a lot of thoughtful depth. The ones that do, usually aren't very fun. So, I really don't know why this book worked so well.

It's true, this book is a romance - it might even be considered erotica, it doesn't avoid talk of sex or the intimate scenes - but it is much more than that. The world that the author created is just amazing. I've not read any other books in this series, but there was no confusion over the setting. That is due in part to the amazing world-building.

I love how Annika and David approach everything: life, love, friends, each other. Everything about these two characters speaks to me. Annika isn't brave. She's a woman that doesn't really know the world that she's in, but she knows herself. David is broken more on the inside than he is on the outside, but he has this morality that's all his own, regardless of what people think of him. They're weak in the best ways and wonderfully strong in their beliefs.

I also must admit, I love the way sex was handled in this book. (Maybe not the act itself, but the way Annika and David were in regards to it.) Annika was a virgin, not willing to bed someone until she loved that person. But that didn't mean she was unaware of what sex was - was quite curious, in fact. David wasn't a virgin, but with the experience he had, he might as well been. He was also somewhat certain his experience would never get better.

There was also a large plot point of women preferring to love (in all senses of the word) other women. I like how that was handled, it seemed very mature and well thought-out. I simply adore the way Annika and David felt about this. I think when this really showed up in the narration was when I knew I loved these two characters.

Right up until the first sex scene. Now, before you start thinking I'm a prude, I'm not. I knew what I was getting with this book and looked forward to it. I love the characters and couldn't wait until they finally realized what they were to each other. However, once that happened, I am sad to say, my interest waned.

I'm one of those people that much prefer a slow burn. In fact, some of my favorite romances don't even have the characters kissing until the last chapter. I love the tension, the build up until the characters cannot take it anymore. I love that. Once this book lost the tension, it also lost me. After that, it started to get the sweet puppy love feeling that just isn't for me. There was also no more of the talking and getting to know each other that served them so well in the first half. It was as though talking in their free time had been pushed aside in favor of sexytimes. Much to my disappointment, because these two characters could have carried the story on the force of their personalities alone.

Seriously, up until that point, I was giving this book a four or possibly five star rating in my mind. Once the characters became a couple, around the halfway point, the book became repetitious and somewhat boring (even the plot started feeling that way) and was settling into a two star read for me.

I was generous and split the difference, though with my feelings toward the end, it leans much closer to a two star than a four star read.