Saturday, November 24, 2012

Week-End's Minis XXXII: Riveted by Meljean Brook

It's been a while since my last mini-review, but I finally have one! :) Hopefully, I'll get back in a blogging rhythm soon. Enjoy!

Riveted by Meljean Brook
published by Berkley in September 2012
A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home... but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.

Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam...
Genre: Steampunk romance
Series: The Iron Seas, Book #3

What do you need to know? All in all, I think the book blurb is accurate and gives a good idea of what the story is about. Annika comes from Hannasvik, a community composed exclusively of women, situated in Iceland. The survival of this community when first established relied on secrecy and has continued to this day.  Five years ago, Annika's inattention could have given away the location of the village. Her sister Kalla took the blame and was exiled. Feeling guilty, Annika vowed to bring Kalla back home... but first, Annika has to find Kalla and therefore, she has been serving as an engineer on the Phatéon, traveling the world.

For years, David Kentewess has been looking for his mother's people in order to realize her last wish: to have her necklace buried with her ancestors. When David comes across Annika, he recognizes her accent and knows she holds the key to the mystery. And luck is on his side as he is a passenger of the Phatéon, so he'll have time to quiz her.

Annika is attracted to David, but she's also wary of him. David is a scientist and has been tasked to do a survey of Iceland to see if it's habitable again. His expedition and findings could threaten Hannasvik's secret...

Why this book? I'm a fan of Ms Brook's writing and had read good reviews for Riveted.

What did I like? The first word that came to my mind to describe Riveted was interesting. I liked that we got to discover another part of the Iron Seas' world, the culture, the sexuality, etc. The most interesting part was Hannasvik: how it came to be, how it evolved, the relationships, even the people's names. And it was interesting to see the Iron Seas' world from Annika's perspective, because given her background, she's sort of naive, but also very open and not prejudiced.

Annika and David's characters were great, especially David. I liked David's determination in finding his mother's people and his ruthlessness when it came to it... but at the core, he was more of a beta hero and that's why he backed down and apologized. It made him a complex character. I also admire how he overcame his past and handicap and set out for adventures. Overall, Annika and David's characters were both sweet and so was their romance and I felt the two simply complemented each other so well.

What did not work for me? I had a few issues with this book. First, it took me more than a week to read Riveted IIRC. Part of it was that I was heading into a reading slump and another part was simply because I didn't get hooked by the story. I liked the characters and the romance was sweet, but the whole intrigue about the Phatéon being attacked, the action part, just didn't grab me. Also, I do think the pacing of the book was a bit uneven. It seems to take a while before things happened... and while there was some action, the focus was more on the characters, on the culture. So it had a quieter feel than the first two installments. The biggest issue though was that I had difficulty visualizing the Iron Seas' world, the steampunk aspect the story. There were plenty of descriptions and yet, I still didn't see it. I get that it's my problem and has nothing to do with the author's writing, but you can imagine how it would dim my enjoyment not "seeing" it.

My Grade? B-. Riveted was an interesting book with good characters and a sweet romance. However, the story didn't grab me and left me lukewarm. I'm sure though if I was able to visualize the steampunk aspect better, I would have enjoyed Riveted more.


  1. I agree that the books is slow and the action never picks up as one would expect, but I liked that about it. I see it as a very character-centric story, and so it makes sense for it to take so much time to introduce these characters and their struggles, both as individuals and as a couple.

    This one really resonated with me, maybe because I grew up surrounded almost exclusively by women, so I appreciate a more nuanced depiction of the relationship between women than what we usually see, which is either extreme cattiness of just superficial, loud friendship.

    I also thought the romance was very sweet, and I find incredible that every hero in this series is so unique and different. And the books in general are very different.

    So even though I agree with all you said, this one worked for me in every level and I think it's probably the best book I've read this year. But yes, not for everyone. Readers have to connect with the characters in a way that they won't care about the lack of action and the slow-developing plot.

  2. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it as much..have you checked the author's website? She has a map there (she's the author of it) where you can see what's what and which territories belong to whom. I had a hard time picturing it too in my head but after seeing the map I have a better idea about the character's travels because now I know where they're actually going lol
    Hope it helps.

  3. Nath, I'm so sorry you couldn't visualize the steampunk details on this one. That would definitely be detrimental to my own enjoyment, if that had been the case, so it's understandable.

    You know I really loved this romance and the story worked for me. For me, the steampunk details enhanced the atmosphere the Brook creates. I loved the characters, and agree with you that the women of Hannasvik and their culture are quite arresting.

  4. Brie - LOL, I'm just glad you agreed on some of the stuff I raised. Means it's not just my imagination :) It's always interesting though to see how differently people are impacted though. I guess Riveted is another example.

    I have to agree on the uniqueness of the heroes. That is very interesting and refreshing... but the thing is, I don't really connect with them and neither with the heroine.

    Anyway, kudos to Ms Brook for trying something different, but unfortunately, it's just not working for me :(

    Sonia - Actually, I think the map was in the book. Or perhaps I'm mistaken. For me though, geography has never been really an issue... but it's more all the technology. Like David has a prosthetic arm and legs right? Well how would that work? and so on.

    Hilcia - Nod nod. I think it's because the steampunk world that Ms Brook has created is so much more than just the clothing or the airships... But for example, the eyes of the countess... and I think David's eye can do the same. How that would work? and as I said to Sonia, his prosthetic, and so on. In this story, the trolls... Gosh, I couldn't imagine them... So unless they look like Gundams, I was way off LOL.

    But yeah, all in all, despite all the interesting stuff, I think I'm going to stop this series :(

  5. I FINALLY read The Iron Duke for November's TBR Challenge so I CANNOT wait to read more in this series! Haven't written my review for my blog yet, so don't go looking for it. LOL. Since we visited Iceland a few months ago, I'm especially looking forward to reading this book.. it sounds really good. Sorry you didn't like it more.

  6. Christine - LOL, that would have been my first reaction, going to look for your review. If you enjoyed The Iron Duke though, then I'm pretty sure you'll love the rest of the series. And yes, I can see how you would look forward to Riveted because of the Iceland location :)