I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genre: Steampunk romance, Western
eARC: 272 pages
Publisher: Avon Books, Harper Collins
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Series: Ether Chronicles #4
Return to The Ether Chronicles, where the skies above the American West are about to get wilder than ever
Bounty hunter Anna Blue always finds her fugitive. But her latest mission is filled with mystery: a high price for an eccentric inventor. And her biggest rival, Jack Hawkins—a startlingly handsome, entirely unsettling man whose abilities match her own—is hunting the same bounty. Neither will back down.
When a rogue Man O' War flies his airship into the California skies, guns blazing, Anna and Jack are forced to team up or die. But it isn't the danger that has them ready to flare like gunpowder. They've circled each other for years as competitors only. Fighters and outsiders, they never thought they'd find a kindred soul. As hot passion and raw need draw them together, can they survive this mission long enough to track the most elusive fugitives their hearts?
This is the first time I’ve read something by Nico Rosso and also the first time I’ve encountered the Ether Chronicles, a series he writes with his wife Zoe Archer. It’s a really neat concept. They’re a writing team but they write separate books in the same world. They’re four books in with NIGHTS OF STEEL so it seems like it’s a successful formula.
The worldbuilding in this book is pretty standard. It’s a steampunk set in America’s West, with most of the action taking place in California. There’s not a lot of time spent telling the reader about the world, I guess because it’s the fourth book in the series, but I still had a good sense of some of the interesting technologies and some of the settings. I generally prefer mythologies that feel more fully fleshed out but I didn’t actually mind the sparser descriptions of the universe since the immediate settings were quite vivid.
The two main characters in this book are quite interesting. Jack Hawkins and Anna Blue are two of the best bounty hunters in the area but they’ve never really met until NIGHTS OF STEEL, when they’re both recruited to track down an inventor by the name of Dr. Song. They’re initially very wary of each other and view the other as competition but they eventually team up, leading to sparks flying. Jack and Anna have interesting histories and I enjoyed getting to know them and watching them learn to be emotionally intimate. (There’s a lot of steamy sex, too, for those of you who might be curious.) I also thought their romance was nice, especially since it’s an interracial romance, something we don’t see all that frequently in the literature.
I have to say, though, I thought the action was more engaging than the romance. What looks like a simple bounty hunt to capture Dr. Song turns into something much more complicated and the action scenes are amazing. I was really hooked on Anna and Jack’s mission and there were some nice twists and turns and reveals throughout, even though the book is short.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a nice read with some great action and interesting characters. I’d never heard of the series until I got an email about the blog tour but I’m very happy I gave it a shot. I’m definitely going to look for the rest of the Ether Chronicles so that I can see where the series began!
P.S. My post today is part of the NIGHTS OF STEEL blog tour so I’d like to give a shout out to Iris of Paranormal Cravings for putting this together! You can click on the button below to see some of the other stops and stick around to the end of the post to enter the tour-wide giveaway.
There’s a tour-wide giveaway: one (1) lucky person will win the three books leading up to this one in the Ether Chronicles series by Nico Rosso and Zoe Archer (NIGHT OF FIRE, SKIES OF STEEL, and SKIES OF FIRE)!
To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!