Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I’ll always wait for you…”
Meljean Brook once again delivers a “riveting” steampunk fantasy revolving around two personable and quite adorable characters. Plenty of swashbuckling adventure and fast paced action still exists yet the setting and characters involved are completely new and fresh, which only heightens the ever evolving world building. Each new installment that Meljean Brook’s writes for this series manages to invoke new emotions without deviating from the main arc.
I enjoyed watching our protagonists meet and get to know one another. Especially when their backgrounds are unveiled. Both Annika and David have issues that cause them to shy away from relationships. Annika was raised in a secluded secretive community that did not entertain the rigid social structures and taboos of the New World. When she leaves her settlement, she is constantly finding herself committing a new faux pas with each new port she visits. She longs to find her sister and go home but there is a small part of her that also longs to be accepted for who she is.
David Kentwess studies volcanoes. He and a group of fellow scientists are heading to Iceland to study the volcanoes and develop a way to forecast eruptions. David was injured in an eruption, which has resulted in his having to wear prosthetics. These prosthetics are not pretty to look at it and they form an invisible yet solid barrier between him and society. He sees the disgust and pity reflected on the faces of those he meets and chooses to rise above it rather than give into it. David wants two things in life. To fulfill a promise and find someone who can accept him for the man he is; beyond his prosthetics.
Annika had no idea that her meeting David was not accidental. Annika has something David wants. David strikes up a friendship with her, attempting to smooth the way for his request. When outside forces intervene, Annika refuses to help David. In anger, David betrays their friendship and is shocked by his feelings of guilt and pain when Annika dissolves their friendship and tells him to take a hike.
From this moment on, we see two storylines intertwining. One, the main conflict, which is as just as entertainingly complex as in the last two books, and the subplot which focuses on David’s & Annika’s journey towards finding themselves and each other.
“He touched her with reverence, as if she were the most incredible thing he ever beheld.”
Emotionally fulfilling and incredibly sensual in its telling, I found myself falling in love with both of them over and over throughout the story.
Wonderfully defined secondary characters engage and uplift this unbelievably realistic alternative world. Throughout the story, we are treated to more explanations of the political unrest that has affected the world since the defeat of the Horde and a more indepth look at how the surrounding countries dealt with the Horde threat. I found the villain not so much horrifying, but rather more misguided in their own attempt to redefine themselves in this strange, new world. The ending comes crashing over you like an emotional tidal wave and I found myself both elated and sad that my journey was over.
The only reason I give it a B+ instead of an A is that I did find the first part slow in reference to action. Mostly set up as an introduction, it was hard to get myself involved. However, once I was hooked, it engaged me to the very end.
Riveted is another fantastic addition to Meljean Brook’s delightful romantic steampunk series. I recommend this to any reader who enjoys strong, unique protagonists, witty dialog, delish romances, and engaging adventure.
Overall Rating: B+