Hi everyone! This is Julia of The Broke and the Bookish, formerly blogging on my own at The Competitive Bibliomaniac.
I read mostly historical romance, but can often be found reviewing paranormal romance, young adult books (mostly distopian/fantasy), fantasy/sci-fi, classics, and the occasional non-fiction book about languages.
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I had high hopes for this book. I mean its Steampunk mixed with some Paranormal Fantasy. The story was pretty amazing as well. But unfortunately there was just too many little things that added up for me that made me give this a "just ok".
First of all some praise. YAY! No love triangles *dances*!! And YAY! A standalone book! Damn it, I checked the authors website and that is no longer true. Of course there is a sequel.
Anyway what I liked was the story. I liked the world. I thought it was super imaginative and really neat. Unfortunately, I didn't really have a chance to experience it. You see, the plot flew by faster than a speeding bullet. I mean there was really no downtime to the action. Something was always happening, and because of that I never really got to know the characters outside of when the action was taking place. So this fast plot shallowed my connection to the characters. In fact, some of the characters just randomly seemed to pop up and I had no idea if I knew them already (because that is the way they were treated) or if they were new. It seemed like the plot was driving the characters instead of the other way around.
This made me a little sad because all of these characters have potential. We just didn't get enough time with them.
One thing hat I think helped with this disconnection was the switching POVs. Not only did we constantly switch between Syrus and Vespa, but we switched from first person present to third person past. It really bothered me and jarred me out of the story on more than one occasion.
I guess the good thing about the second book is that Ms Trent may have more time to develop this really cool world to get us to understand it more, and also the characters within.
I am toying between two and three stars with this, because I did enjoy it for the most part, but all of the above really makes me push it down to two. If you live Steampunk and need a break from the normal YA fare, I would recommend you read this. But go into it with a grain of salt.
Edit: How could I forget?! The Chinese and the subtle nod to the Chinese culture I really did like. That was really cool!
Originally posted on GR in Sept 2012, and I bumped up my rating a half star, since I was wavering in this review.