Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Series: The Aether Chronicles #2
Published by Flux, Llewellyn on August 8, 2013
Pages: 381 pages
Also by this author: Innocent Darkness
When her true love, Steven, is forced to break their magical bond, Noli Braddock decides to join her brother on the crew of the Vixen’s Revenge.
With its gleaming brass, dark wood, and spotless clockwork gears, the Vixen’s Revenge is a beautiful airship. But Noli discovers a dangerous secret beneath its polished exterior—the crew has been hired to steal dozens of priceless Otherworld artifacts. Desperate to keep her past Otherworld experiences hidden from the airship crew, Noli fears that if she doesn’t risk telling her own secrets, the stolen artifacts will be used to destroy both of the worlds she loves.
What can I say. I was charmed by CHARMED VENGEANCE. From the first few chapters, I was hooked and could not let go. It’s definitely not a book to read as a stand-alone. It should be read as a series, and while book one might not have been a favorite of mine, it’s worth pushing through since this sequel is definitely better on so many different levels. It’s more steampunk, more adventure and more torturous romance.
So many things are going on in this book, yet Lazear is able to keep track of things wonderfully. One thing flows nicely into another and the result is a fantastic novel. First, Noli is forced by her mother and grandfather to leave Los Angeles, but instead of joining them in Boston, she decided to run away with her air pirate brother, Jeff. She runs away, not only because she despises the idea of taking part in Boston’s high society, but also because her “boyfriend” V (Steven) has broken up with her, and fleeing to become an engineer of a pirate ship seems so freeing. Noli suspects there’s a reason why V has broken things off and knows he’s not allowed to tell her. In fact, V has been ordered by his mother, the Fae Queen to go on a quest to find her something “entertaining”. And ordered to break things off with Noli. Kevighn Silver, cast out of the Otherworld, is a fae just living day to day as an air pirate but one thing leads to another and is drawn into Noli and Jeff’s pirate life. Like I said, many things happening at once but everything happens for a reason.
The characters remain pretty much the same as in book one yet have grown and evolved because of what they’ve been through. Noli has been transformed into something fae by the Queen, and she is living with a sprite personality in her head. She’s still the same herbal enthusiast/genius mechanic she was in the past but now, with this girly and ditsy sprite personality living in her head, she sometimes has episodes where it’s hard to control who’s in charge, her normal self or her sprite self. Her brother Jeff notices this, but because she can’t fully explain her situation to the mortals she’s living with, she feels very alone and confused. I’m still on the fence about believing this split personality because I know deep down Noli would never paint flowers on the engine of an airship, yet for some reason she allows the sprite to entertain the idea that everything can be pretty and paint the engines. I guess “allow” isn’t really the right word, because Noli has trouble controlling the sprite but it’s still hard to grasp the idea of the dueling personalities, especially since the original Noli was portrayed as such a strong-willed character.
I’m glad we were able to learn more about Jeff’s air pirate life. The airship life is definitely steampunk and it gives the novel a more steampunk feel, which in my opinion was lacking in the first book. While INNOCENT DARKNESS concentrated more on fae and Otherworld elements, this sequel allows us to see the characters develop in different situations. Feminism is a strong theme in the book and I particularly like what Jeff says to his female captain, Vix: “You work for women to have choices. This means they should have any and all options–not just the ability to wear trousers and take on men’s jobs, but the right to wear skirts and stay home with the children if they so choose. The point is they have a choice.” (p. 73)
Suzanne Lazear succeeded in developing a wonderful alternate reality world. She has envision a steampunk America where Hawaii hasn’t join the United States and territories inside the continent exist apart from the USA. The fact that it’s steampunk allows her to have some liberties and the paranormal aspect allows her to add an air of mysticism to the story. At the end of the book, many story lines are left open, yet this installment has satisfied me. I’m anticipating a wonderful follow up to this novel and I can’t wait to see what happens between Noli and Steven.
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