Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Steam heat: Riveted gears up for high adventure and romance

Image courtesy of Tantor Media, Inc.
People are often surprised that as a former English major and writer, I like electronics and gears. The first thing I do when I get a new computer, be it a desktop or laptop, is take it apart. I like to see what’s INSIDE. I may know only some basic HTML code and I’m no programmer, but when it comes to installing hardware, give me a screwdriver and I’m your lady.  Also, the 19th century  (think Jekyll and Hyde, pocket watches, Oscar Wilde) is something that has always captivated me.

This is probably why when Riveted, by Meljean Brook, came my way as a proofing project for work, I was ecstatic. Tough female mechanic on an airship? A sexy expedition leader with a mechanical eye and metal arm? All that spells steampunk, and I am SO on board for that.

The tale is artfully expressed through the soft tones of Alison Larkin,  famed British narrator and actress, who artfully captures the complicated tones of an Icelandic accent in the main character of Annika. Indeed, she slips in and out of various accents as the text dictates with all the ease of a master storyteller. The relationships in this book are complex and daring; defying the concept of “normal,” and widens its scope past the two main characters of Annika and David (the aforementioned sexy expedition leader) without sacrificing the significance of their storyline. The third book in the Iron Sea series; it works very well as a stand-alone, and the author is adept at getting the listener up to speed with the circumstances of the world and the characters.

What truly made this a great listen was the unexpected twists and turns of the plot, and the compassionate themes regarding humanity and its significance amid a cold, hard world of ice, gears and airships. Despite its length (a significant 14.5 hours, take this one with you on a road trip to make the hours stuck in traffic fly by) the pacing of the story is masterful and keeps the listener eager for what’s waiting around the corner while creating room for meaningful dialogue and the cultivation of close relationships – friendships as well as romance.

Ms. Brook’s complex tapestry of technology merged with emotions results in a tale that is truly unique, and will leave you "riveted" long after the final words are ethereally spoken by Ms. Larkin.

Click here to listen to an audio sample.

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