Reviewed by May
From the author’s website:
Kalindi MacNeil survived the devastating enemy airship attack that obliterated Liverpool, but even her engineering skills can’t seem to repair her broken heart. Seeking to put her life back together, Kali retreats to a desolate, deserted island—only to discover she’s not alone. Captain Fletcher Adams, an elite man/machine hybrid, a Man O’ War, crashed his battle-damaged airship into this deserted island after Liverpool, never expecting to survive the wreck. But survive he did.
I adored this book, I couldn’t have loved it more. Words can’t express – it resonated with me on a bone deep level. This story is a part of the Ether Chronicles, but I want to say right up front that it stands alone beautifully – you do not need to read other books in the series to enjoy this.
“We’re still not on last names terms. Usually, it’s the other way around.”
“We do things differently here on Eilean Comhachag. It’s better with us being just Kali and Fletcher. we’ve got no history. We’re…” he struggled to find the right words.
“We’re simply us,” she filled in. “As we are at this moment. No past. No thoughts of tomorrow. Only now. Only here.”
This story brings to the table everything I know and love about Zoe Archer’s writing. There is action. Steamy romance. Rich characters who are strong and unique. The best heroines you will ever read. The descriptions give you enough to paint a vivid picture but not so much that they stop the story. I can’t say enough good things about Zoe Archer as a writer – she has been a favorite of mine since discovering her Blades of the Rose, and she continues to remind me why I should never say no to one of her books.
Now on this one I was a bit hesitant at first as I’m not really a steam punk fan. What I love with this book, and why I will recommend it to anyone – not just steam punk fans – is that any mention of things such as airships or mechanical devices or other steam punk things add to the story overall and enrich the tale, but they don’t take over or become the point. Kali can make just about anything and her knowledge of how to make things work and invent new incredible devices was really entertaining.
This story is very focused on the couple, for the majority of the book they are the only people in their little world away from the world. I really liked the pacing and that we got to know each of them and their back story then moved forward with more action towards the end. I found myself unable to put the book down for anything as I simply needed to read every word. In fact, I can think of not one flaw in this story, not one part I would change, alter, or do differently. The story allows for time and letting these characters get to know each other and build a loving relationship as well as and it was a delight.
She grinned suddenly. “Do you know what they call a woman with one leg?”
“Peg,” he answered.
She scowled. “If you steal my punch lines, then we most assuredly can’t be friends.”
“Promise to let you get in the last word.” He pressed a hand to his chest.
He added, “Next time.”
I adored the fact that we got to watch them build a strong friendship and trust, and that they found something special with each other that they nurtured and developed into something spectacular. It really struck me as awesome that they had such respect and regard for each other the entire time, and that they truly saw each other. Oh and of course there are the characters themselves.
Fletcher is a bearded hero who wasn’t over the top handsome. He’s been living alone for months in a fashion so primal that he really isn’t fit for company. But that’s ok- because where he is unsure there is Kali who seems to sense what moves to make and how to deal with the unexpected island inhabitant. Fletcher doubts himself at times, and he struggles with issues and things that he has done. Who is he now that he is a Man O’ War? Is he simply a weapon with no other value?
Kali is exceptional, and I loved every moment with her. She knows her strengths and her value as an incredibly gifted person, and while she is hesitant about exposing her lack of a leg, she doesn’t let it stop her from doing anything. She simply makes adjustments and reconfigures her plans.
Bottom line? I don’t believe I have the skill with words to truly verbalize why and how greatly this book rocked. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I highly recommend it. Every single scene, sentence, even word feels lovingly crafted and thought out to pull together an amazing story of two people getting a fresh chance at a new and improved life.