Author: Meljean Brook
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012
Iron Seas #3
Genre: Steampunk Romance
Format(s): Paperback (416 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher, Author
About the book:
A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magical—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 an airship, searching for her sister and longing to return home. But that home is threatened when scientific expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard, looking to expose Annika’s secrets. Then disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, with their very survival depending on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam…
What I’m talking about:
Although Riveted is the third book in the Iron Seas series, it is a completely stand alone story. The only knowledge you need from the prior books is the history of Ms. Brook’s world – one where the Horde (Khan’s) invaded much of Europe and Africa, infecting the people with nanoagents and ruling for a long time. However, she explains much of the basics along the way, so newcomers can jump right in. You can also check out Ms. Brook’s Iron Seas Primer on her website HERE.
The story follows Annika Fridasdottor and her journey to find her sister, Källa. Annika left her small, isolated (and completely hidden from the outside world) settlement to travel the New World as an engineer on an airship, and for four years, she was unsuccessful in her quest. It was fate that brought David Kentewess into her life. David, a vulcanologist headed to iceland aboard Annika’s ship, is searching for the small village his mother hailed from so that he can fulfill her dying wish. It doesn’t take long for David and Annika to realize his mother is from the same place as Annika.
First, a bit about our main couple. Annika is a kick-butt heroine in her own quiet, subdued way – although she would disagree that she is even a heroine. She is fiercely loyal, smart and unique. Living most of her life in isolation, she has an almost innocent nature, yet she is extremely knowledgable and capable. She is mostly on her own, making few friends and keeping even those at a distance. She feels a fast rapport with David, who is a bit of a loner himself. David’s mother and several of his father’s native people were killed in a huge accident caused by inventor Paolo di Fiore. David himself was grossly disfigured, losing two legs, a hand and one of his eyes. Although he has supplemented his losses with nanoagents and prosthetics, he is regarded by most in the New World as a monster. The fact the Ms. Brook can turn a damaged man who isn’t handsome into a sexy hero says a lot about her mad writing skills. Since neither Annika nor David is “proper” or adheres to society’s conventions allows for a genuine relationship to develop beyond all expectations (and I love it!).
There are so many layers in this story. The first as mentioned, is Annika’s search for her sister. The next involves David’s wish to find his mother’s home and Annika’s opposing desire to keep her village hidden and protected. David’s unquenchable need to locate this mysterious village is what first brings him to Annika. After unsuccessfully attempting to garner any information about Annika’s home, he lays his cards on the table. It was because of his abruptness and honesty, followed by a genuine apology, that allows Annika to trust David. This is a perfect example of how the pair breaks through protocol and expectations to reconcile, thus creating a stronger bond.
Another layer of the story revolves around the di Fiore family – Paolo, a father whose visions and ideas rival those of DaVinci, and Lorenzo, the psychotic son willing to do anything to make his father’s wishes come true. Early on, David has a run in with Lorenzo, who attempts to hire David for his father’s latest project. Although David turns down the offer, it’s not the last we see of Lorenzo. This part of the story caused a bit of nail biting for me, but kept me glued to the pages–eager to find out how David and Annika would right the wrongs occurring around them.
Although the storytelling and intricately woven plots make this book well worth the read, it is the powerful emotions the story stirs that make it a favorite. Time and time again – scene after scene – I was absolutely blown away by the intensity and genuine honesty of raw emotions aroused within myself. First, there is the innocent desire that two lonely people feel for one another. It is sweet and even slightly erotic. Ms. Brook brought the lust to a slow, simmering boil that eventually exploded on the pages.
Next there is the determination in both David (to see that his mother’s final wishes are met) and Annika (to protect her village and people). In the scene when David bears all about his mother’s death, I teared up. I was torn. I felt for both and wished to find a solution to this dead end. It was so well written.
The entire situation with the di Fiore family brought an array of emotions to the surface. It was so hard for me to read Annika and David go through what they did – to witness them pretend everything was okay when it wasn’t.
I could go on and on about the many scenes that stole my heart. However, when David proclaims his love to Annika and Annika’s subsequent goodbye to David are probably my favorites. Just thinking about them now causes my heart to swell and frankly my eyes to tear up. I wish I was more articulate and could describe the immense emotional reactions. But my longing to see the couple happily together grew as their longing to love one another deepened. Love it!!
Riveted is a love story at its core. The love of a man and woman, the love of a person for his/her family, the love for life, the love of home. All of these are so wonderfully detailed and described. The story warmed me from the inside out and I know it will stick with me for a long while.
So I’ll just conclude with WOW! What an absolutely wonderful book. Like I said before, I cannot put into words how lovely Ms. Brook’s writing truly is. Her world-building skills and ability to detail the scene without overburdening the reader is superb. The multifaceted story lines are interesting and captivating. But it’s the characters and their journeys that will keep you thinking about the book long after you’ve put it down.
Personal favorite – a must read (A+)
and has also earned the title of one of…
Reviews in the Series: