Amelia Darcy has no interest in marrying well. Her heart belongs to the sky and the dirigibles of brass and steel that swoop over Victorian England. But when her father, an eccentric inventor, dies, the Darcy siblings are left with scrap metal—and not a penny to their names. Their only hope to save the family name and fortune is to embark on a contest to discover an invention of historical importance in honor of Queen Victoria.
Armed with only her father’s stories of a forgotten da Vinci workshop, a mechanically enhanced falcon, and an Italian cook, Amelia takes flight for Florence, Italy. But her quest is altered when her kitecycle crashes into the air ship of ex–Air Marshal—and scandalous dime novel hero—Tucker Gentry.
Challenged by political unrest, a devious sky pirate, and their own sizzling attraction, Amelia and Tuck are dragged into an international conspiracy that could change the course of history…again.
Review: I’m still relatively new to the steampunk genre. I’ve only read a handful of books with this theme, so I’m in no way an expert. But one thing I’ve noticed is that this genre is so wide open to interpretation. I mean, really anything can happen. In Beth Ciotta’s world, a time traveler from the 1960s goes back to 1850s and ends up sharing technology and changing history. I love this concept and was excited to get to reading.
The book starts out with a bang, literally. Amelia Darcy shares a love of technology, especially all things belonging in the sky, with her father an inventor. I absolutely loved Amelia. She’s a little eccentric, but she throws herself in headfirst on an adventure with the hopes of restoring her family name and to experience life.
Pretty early into her journey she crashes into Tucker. Tuck is a semi-famous ex-air marshal… and Amelia is in awe. She’s read all about Tuck and once she’s done with her fan-girl moment and drooling over his air ship, she talks him into helping her get to Italy. While I liked Tuck, I don’t feel he was quite as developed as Amelia. I would have liked to have gotten a little more about his background and more of a resolution with is family issue (who knows, this may be addressed in future books in the series). I liked Tuck and Amelia together, but Amelia definitely overshadowed Tuck.
There was a varied and colorful cast of supporting characters that offered some comic relief as well as the villain. But for me, the star of the book is the world itself. I’ve said it before and will say it again, I just love all the interesting gadgets that appear in steampunk. In this tale, we have a contraption that allows a horse to fly, a half-mechanical bird, a kitecycle and a multitude of other gadgets that just boggle my mind.
I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next installment in this series to see what happens with Amelia’s brother. I recommend this book to lovers of steampunk or someone who would like to try it.