A Full Steam Ahead Steampunk Story!
Taking the situation into her own hands, Belle decides to charter an airship to take her, her steadfast butler Jasper, and her young stuttering friend Benji, and fly them to a dangerous area in Carabarras where she believes her father has be taken to. Along the way the airship she hired crashes and she is forced to transfer to the only other airship willing to go to such dangerous lands. Trouble is the dashing captain of the ship is non-other than her ex-fiancé Rett, and he is the last person on earth she trusts since he jilted her at the altar eight years ago. Yet, much to her annoyance, trust him she must, as it’s the only way she can rescue her father, not that Rett is that happy about having her as a passenger on his ship when things are so awkward between them.
The Mad Scientist is a cleverly thought out Steampunk adventure, pumped with plenty of action and political rebellion and set in a fantasy world (not unlike Jay Lake’s “Mainspring: Clockwork Earth series”), which takes us away from the usual Victorian British Empire or American Wild West themes and flies us into a whole new world filled with fancy contraptions made from brass, cogs and polished wood and powered by steam technology. As the mystery surrounding her father’s kidnapping is slowly revealed, I watched my favourite characters, Belle and Benji learn more about themselves and grow. I also enjoyed the way knowledgeable Benji became “Kef Benjamin”, and spectacularly used it to their advantage.The book ends with a gripping tease, which continues just like a series in the next book, and whilst the story came to a satisfying end, you just know there is more to come!
From a secret group of deadly assassins – the Sarcs of Carabarras, to the Mandagols and sky pirates, Belle must face them all, but her hardest task by far (and one which was highly entertaining), was fighting her feelings for that scoundrel Rett who once broke her heart yet ultimately feels the same way and will do whatever he can to to protect Belle and save her father if it means he can regain her trust.
Lara Nance captures the textures of life in a “Steampunk” world well, and creates larger-than-life characters, combining different empires, political and cultural tensions with a touch of romance for a “full steam ahead” tale. A fun read, which I powered through.