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.Genre: Steampunk romance
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...
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.