Series: Gaslight Chronicles #7
Published by Carina Press on January 1, 2014
Source: Advance Reader Copy, NetGalley
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When airship engineer Melody McKay's dirigible explodes and plunges her into the yard of a gothic manor, she suspects foul play. With her ankle injured--an indignity far too feminine for her taste--she resolves to crack the mystery while in the care of Victor Arrington, the stuffy-yet-disarming Earl of Blackwell.
Ex-Royal Navy Captain Victor runs a tight house and is on a mission to protect his niece and foil a ring of smugglers using fire-breathing metal dragons. He has no time for romantic attachments. Particularly not with women who fall from the sky wearing trousers and pilot's goggles.
As he and Melody navigate a treachery so deep it threatens the lives of everyone in Black Heath, the earl becomes unexpectedly attached to his fiery houseguest, and Melody discovers a softness in her heart for him. But when the smugglers strike, there's more at risk than just their future together.
I like the Gaslight Chronicles series a lot, but I have to say that this isn’t the strongest in the bunch. If you want the world building you get in a fabulous Steampunk, unfortunately you’ll have to read in order. However, the romance works well as a stand-alone. So if you don’t mind missing the world building, you’ll be fine, i.e. won’t be confused or anything.
In this (long) novella, we see Melody crash and burn on a test run of her latest dirigible. But she didn’t fall out of the sky all on her own, she was shot down. The big question is, by whom?
The Earl of Blackwell has a smuggler problem, and he’s out hunting them when Melody’s dirigible crash lands in his front lawn. But he thinks she’s one of the smugglers! It takes some convincing that she isn’t, but he believes her pretty quickly. (which is why in a later scene I still don’t know why he said he didn’t believe her, and I’m not sure why she was so hurt. It was supposed to be a super emotional scene, but it left me scratching my head). Melody is really on assignment for the Crown. If you’ve been following the series, you know her family is part of a secret society that helps deal with Magick and mysteries.
Blackwell is stuffy, like stick up his arse stuffy. I can’t think why, since he was a sailor and sea captain for most of his life, but I guess it’s to show that he’s trying to act like an earl. He must think they act like stuffy prigs?
Meanwhile, the earl is taking care of his niece. Remember how I mentioned he’d been a sailor? It’s because his elder brother was the earl. But after a horrible carriage accident, his brother and his wife were killed, with his niece being the only survivor. There’s a lot of gossip surrounding them, though. The village thinks that she’s the cause of the accident and that Blackwell is the cause of the smugglers. A lot of this was sort of just set here and there, and it didn’t need to be, or it needed to be fleshed out more to work. I just feel like there was a lot going on that only happened in the latter half of the story, and it really felt like it needed to have at least been alluded to sooner.
And the ending, really? That was the villain? Again, foreshadowing could have been used at any time.
I liked Melody, I love her friends and family, Victor, once he unstuffed himself, was a decent enough bloke, but the plot itself was kind of weak. Being that this is a novella, it could have focused on one aspect, rather than all those different rumors and tangents. In fact, the brother plot line was sort of left hanging. He was the picture of a perfect father, then he wasn’t. But it went beyond ignoring his daughter. He was not even nice anymore. Yet this was sort of waved off as he found out his wife was having an affair.
However, it was still enjoyable, it was well written, minus the misuse of the pronoun “I,” (<—this was a big deal to me. I hate when it’s used incorrectly. Her editor should have known better-Here’s a tip, if you can take out the friend’s name, and it sounds wrong, it is wrong. “This coffee is for Victor and I,” is wrong. It is, “This coffee is for Victor and me.” You wouldn’t say “This coffee is for I,” now would you? Okay, grammar rant over. English teacher pants are off now).*
Okay, back to the story, I liked it, but it isn’t the best in the series, so far I think Kilts & Kraken was my favorite. But it’s still worth the read, and it’s nice to see what’s going on with some of Melody’s friends.
*Not an actual quote
***ARC courtesy of Carina Press