Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Steamed by Katie MacAlister

Title: Steamed
Author: Katie MacAlister
Series: N/A
Pages: 328
Publisher: Signet
Format: Paperback
Genre: Steampunk/Romance
Source: Library

When one of Jack Fletcher's nanoelectromechanical system experiments is jostled in his lab, the resulting explosion sends him into the world of his favorite novel-a seemingly Victorian-era world of steampower, aether guns, corsets, and goggles. A world where the lovely and intrepid Octavia Pye captains her airship straight into his heart...

My Review:
Steamed offers a totally unique perspective of the Steampunk genre. It defies classification because it isn't Victorian, it isn't isn't even Futuristic. I suppose if you HAD to define it it would be Victorian...but it's weird Victorian. There isn't really an alternate history, more of an...additional history. Jack is from our world, the world where Steampunk is make-believe and the closest you'll get to taking to the skies in an aether-ship would be going to an Airship Pirates concert at an indie-type concert hall or coffee house. However, there is a world that exists alongside our own where the Steampunk lifestyle is common place, and things from our world, such as electricity and airplanes are as dangerous as atomic bombs. Due to a tragic accident in his science-lab, Jack and his sister were catapulted via an explosion into this alternate it a definite science fiction vibe in addition to it's Steampunk and Romance themes. This actually made the story really original and interesting for me, and I felt like it gave the story that extra oomph to take it from something that was just okay, and turned it into something pretty great.

There is an intense cast of characters. There were the two leads of course, Jack and Octavia, who were pretty strong and saucy in their own ways...I liked that...then there was Jack's sister, the entire crew of Octavia's air-ship, and a whole host of Octavia's old lovers that kept popping in. All in all, there was a lot to wrap my head around, especially because at the start of chapter 2 we are introduced to basically the entire cast in about three pages. Like basically all of the Steampunk novels I've read, it's told in alternating 3rd person and switches between two main characters and the villain. I wonder if somewhere there is a "how-to" for Steampunk that tells everyone to write from this perspective, because I'll tell you, I've been reading Steampunk nonstop for the last month or so and that is about the only technique that Steam authors seem to did work well in this book though.I liked getting to see the romance budding in each of the main character's perspectives and it's always cool getting a glimpse into the twisted and disturbing mind of the villain.

 As for the other characters, I thought they were a little forced. You could tell that they were fun and interesting people, but there just wasn't a good bond between the main characters and any of them.There wasn't a sense of crew loyalty and brotherhood that you see in a lot of pirate/crew books. I think the lack of camaraderie distanced me from them as well. They had all the things that make you love a character, but without the depth needed to make them memorable and awesome.  That is the trouble when you create a stand-alone novel. You have to develop relationships, feelings, attachments all in the space of a small number of pages. When you have a series, you have all those books, all those pages to create characters with depth, feelings, and connections with each other. In a stand-alone, you have to establish those connections much quicker which is a heck of a lot harder.

I'm going to be honest, the love scenes were definitely NOT my cup of tea. Just like in real life, I prefer my shall we say...intimate relations... to be full of action, spontaneity, lust/love...not talking. Octavia and Jack had good, if not great romantic chemistry together, but they just would not shut up! You would think with all the kissing they were doing that they couldn't get that many words out...but seriously...You couldn't get into the moment or enjoy the budding emotions of the couple being together because they kept freaking talking about it! I'm not talking about "talking-dirty"...that can be fun and in the right context is totally hot. I'm saying that Tavy and Jack would literally get into the logistics of their love-making beforehand and talk about things like: who's in control, what each other was wearing, what material the contraceptive device was made of,  and all sorts of other random things that totally killed the mood for me. I'm honestly sad about the love scenes, because they definitely chopped at least 1 Star off my rating from what was an otherwise fabulous book...especially when there was so much romantic chemistry between the characters when the WEREN'T doing the nasty...oh well...what can you do?
I give Steamed 3.5 Keys. I think that it can only really be defined as "cute"...definitely not something I am used to associating with my Steampunk books. There are strong elements of plot and character, but they are hidden by the fluffy-lovey stuff. It's definitely a strong mixture of Steampunk and Romance, but it has weighs heavy on the flighty side of romance which I'm not a big fan of. Don't get me wrong...I love a good romance novel, but when the plot is bogged down by love scenes and distracts from it, I tend to lose interest...I feel like it might be a good choice to help transition into Steampunk for those of you who really like romance novels. Lol sorry.But those of you who are used to reading things with heaving bosoms and muscley men on the covers will probably get a kick out of Steamed...for those of us with might want to stick with Dead Iron, The Iron Duke, or the Parasol Protectorate Series...
This review qualifies as an entry into the Grand Prize for Let's Get Steamy! Make sure to comment on this and all Let's Get Steamy posts to gain entries to win a TON of steampunk books, movies, jewelry, etc!


  1. I was thinking to buy this book, but after reading your review I changed my mind. I don't like my steampunk "cheesy". >_<

  2. I like the idea of an explosion leading to an alternate universe. That part sounded kind of cool. But I'm not a fan of romance to begin with, and if you're describing steampunk as cute...I'll probably steer clear of it. Thanks for the review.

  3. Some parts sound very interesting, others so so. Not sure if I`ll check this out or not

    ctymice at gmail dot com

  4. I like the overall concept...but I HATE talking during love scenes...they kind of gross me out to be honest...I'm like...WHY do we need to know the exact shape and porportions!!!