Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 416 pages
Genre: Steampunk romance
Release date: September 4, 2012
Series: Iron Seas #3
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed by: Jenn
The New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel returns to the Iron Seas with a riveting new adventure of steampunk and passionate romance...
A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland's inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magical— and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.
Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on an airship, longing to return home. But that home is threatened when David Kentewess comes aboard, looking to expose Annika's secrets. Then disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, with their very survival depending on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam...
I've loved steampunk for quite some time, even before I knew there was a term for it. Meljean Brook writes some of my favourite steampunk romance, which is why I was so excited when Tynga told me that RIVETED was available on Edelweiss.
RIVETED is a bit different than the other Iron Seas stories (which I talk about here and here). It features characters we haven't met before and it takes place in a previously unused setting: Iceland. This is good news for folks who haven't had a chance to read THE IRON DUKE or HEART OF STEEL (or their respective epilogue novellas) because it means you can jump in with little difficulty. There are references to secondary characters in previous books and you won't have as much knowledge about the Horde and other parts of the Iron Seas world but you will definitely be able to enjoy the book without any backstory. (Don't believe me? Hear it from the author herself.)
When I started reading RIVETED, I was quite excited to meet Annika and David and learn their stories. They both have such interesting backgrounds: Annika was raised in a secret village of women on Iceland and David is from the New World, unable to return home because he was infected with nanoagents and given new limbs by the Blacksmith. They meet under completely random circumstances and end up spending a lot of time together when David boards the airship that Annika works on. Watching them get together was really sweet, partially because their relationship is a slow boil. The previous couples in the series moved a lot more quickly. In fact, the previous two novels move a lot more quickly than than RIVETED, which starts out somewhat slowly and then builds to a crescendoing climax. For me, this meant that it took me a little bit longer to really get into the story but I truly enjoyed it as a whole. The set up is rather different than previous instalments, which have more action in the early parts of the novel, but I like that Annika and David had a chance to get to know each other before danger reared its head.
Perhaps my favourite part of RIVETED was getting to explore new parts of the Iron Seas world. Meljean Brook has developed some incredible mythology for Iceland and Annika's village and I was completely fascinated. I love the worldbuilding of the entire series but I thought Iceland's history was particularly compelling. The trolls were awesome and I love the way the technology was explored in this novel. I also enjoyed experiencing airship life from the perspective of a crew member, not the captain, which we got last time around.
While this isn't my favourite story in the Iron Seas series, RIVETED is a solid story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love Meljean Brook's writing and think this series is a must for steampunk romance fans. Annika and David are unconventional people in a sometimes old-fashioned world and their love story is just so sweet and passionate!