Monday, March 7, 2011

Early Review: Steam & Sorcery (Gaslight Chronicles, #1) by Cindy Spencer Pape (ARC)

Book: Steam & Sorcery (Gaslight Chronicles, #1) by Cindy Spencer Pape
Release Date: 07 Mar 2011
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Historical Romance, Steampunk, Vampires
Summary: Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.
Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she's ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess.
When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery...
Note: Please note that I received this book for free from the publisher via netgalley in return for an honest review.

Review: Never would I have expected historical romance to blend so well with steampunk and the paranormal. Cindy Spencer Pape accomplishes not only that in Steam & Sorcery, but she also creates a full, rich plot, scorching hot romance, and lots of lovable characters. Despite being a quick read, Steam & Sorcery has all the elements I hope for in longer novels and the book never felt rushed or confusing.
Sir Merrick was a wonderfully unique hero. I loved reading about a magical knight taking on five magical, or equally hazardous, orphans. It was always humorous to hear his thoughts on the rag tag family they became and I couldn't help but fall in love with him considering how sweet he was to each of them. The plot was centered around Sir Merrick's secret organization and the possible disaster a steampunk machine could cause by giving vampyres the illusion of humanity. It was just as fun to read about him with the kids as it was when he was completing a mission or trying to avoid Caroline. Caro is another very unique character. I don't want to say much on that as the discovery and what that's about is integral to the plot. Caro is the most obvious deviation from a realistic historical (besides the paranormal and steampunk) as she's very forward thinking. I don't think this took away from the book's credibility and it certainly didn't diminish my enjoyment. Just because Miss Dorothy, Nell, Wink, Tommy, Piers and Jamie were secondary characters didn't make them any less fleshed out or lovable. Dorothy was the cliched matchmaker. I didn't mind her in this role at all though, in fact she brought something new to the role. The orphans... they completely won me over. I could read a twenty book series on them and never get bored.
When I began this book, I expected it to be like a typical romance; heavy on the build up, a few love scenes then suddenly the plot threatens to separate them. Steam & Sorcery is nothing like that typical mold. Instead, the storyline and the romantic aspects worked as one to deliver a wonderful book. I loved both of them. This is definitely an adult book, yum, but I think even nonromance readers would enjoy it. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Thoughts as I Read:
  • ""These days, we get paid by the government for hunting not just vampyres, but other things... feral werewolves, rogue wizards, sometimes even human criminals no one else has been able to catch."" Wow, these first chapters are jam packed... human trafficking, vampyres, steampunk pets, magical knights, a gang of orphans... Really interesting so far!
  • "Merrick suppressed a smile. Underneath her mousy clothing, the governess was a spirited woman-something he rather wished he hadn't noticed, along with her enticing scent or the lovely curves she tried to hide beneath her ugly gowns." The relationship between Merrick and Caroline has been so sweet thus far. I'm ready for something a little spicy now though. Especially after how horrible the tutor has been.
  • ""And another beauty. Merrick, are you growing them on trees in the garden now?" Sir Merrick didn't quite growl. "Behave, Gideon. Remember they're both under my protection."" The historical bits added to the book are some of my favorites. I love the dinner parties, dances, gentlemen admirers etc. The steampunk and paranormal has been woven nicely into it. I've yet to think anything was ridiculous or too bizarre.
  • ""And for God's sake, be careful not to fall out of that gown."" I absolutely love Merrick and Caro together. Definitely a unique, fresh couple.

 Rating: 4½ Bites


  1. Wow, just spotted this one. Thanks so much!

  2. @Cindy
    Thanks for stopping by! I really enjoyed Steam & Sorcery. Love the cover art too! It fits the characters and story really well.

  3. I've been wanting to try another Steampunk and so far out of the three I've read only one of them was worth my time. This one sounds fascinating so off to add to my wishlist on Amazon.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  4. I have this one from netgalley, too, but I haven't read it yet. From your review (and the cool cover) it looks like a great book!

  5. @Lisa R/alterlisa
    Hope you end up enjoying this one! :) Sorry to hear steampunk has been letting you down.

  6. @Lieder Madchen
    I love netgalley. I request so many books from them. I'm so glad that I requested and read this one though! I probably wouldn't have gotten a chance to read it otherwise.

  7. I looked through your review archive to find a unique sounding book that I had never heard of. This fit the bill! I love all things magical, paranormal and steampunk! Historical isn't my favorite but in this case I think it sounds well done and WORTH THE READ :) Thanks so much for this review!

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