Review: A Captain and a Corset by Mary Wine

A Captain and a Corset by Mary Wine
Series:  Steam Guardians (# 2)
Release Date:  June 4, 2013
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 317
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review

There’s Trouble in the Skies…

For Sophia Stevenson, there’s no going back to the life she knew. She never asked for the powers that make her a precious commodity to the secret society of Illuminists—and their archenemies.

Captain Bion Donkova would give anything to possess the powers that have fallen in Sophia’s lap. If only the beautiful, infuriating woman could stay out of trouble, he wouldn’t have to keep coming to her rescue…

Bion and Sophia have friction to spare—and nothing fuels a forbidden passion better than danger…


Review:  My first foray into Steampunk with A Captain and a Corset, and I think I’m hooked.  I very much enjoyed Mary Wine’s look at life in a Steampunk world.

Sophia Stevenson was turned into a “Navigator” without even knowing what it was, or having heard of the Illuminists, when a Root Ball crystal exploded and gave her special vision.  Now a Novice in the secret society, she is in training, and her trainer is infuriating, cocky, arrogant, bossy… and quite deliciously handsome.  While she balks at his training at every turn, she can’t help but be drawn to him.

Captain Bion Donkova is drawn to the beautiful Sophia, and it’s his job to push her to not just become a Navigator, but to learn how to protect herself. Because if she falls into enemy hands and there’s no hope of rescue, he has to do the one thing he doesn’t want to: kill her, rather than let the Helikeians get their hands on her and her special skills.

Sophia’s undeniable attraction to Bion eventually wears her down, and she can’t resist him.  Especially after she is kidnapped and sold into virtual slavery aboard a pirate airship.  Bion lets himself be captured in order to rescue her, and their hot affair begins.  Sophia takes matter into her own hands at a crucial moment, and gives Bion what he wants the most: she activates a Root Ball crystal so he is now a Navigator as well.  At the same time, she enacts a daring escape, and hurls them, along with a prisoner and a parachute, over the side of the airship.

But their short taste of freedom does not last long, and they are hunted down and imprisoned.  On one hand, I admired Sophia for her tenacity, bravery, and spirit.  At times, I thought she should have listened to Bion. He is duty bound to protect his trainee, and having been a captain, he knows what he’s doing.

I like the principles in this book: women who are part of the Illuminist society don’t have the constraints that women in Victorian society do.  So while Sophia could enjoy certain freedoms, she was drilled to be a lady in every way, so many of those freedoms are unheard of for her.

This novel is told from several points of view: about 6 main characters POV, with a few very minor characters POV.  It got a little confusing at times figuring out who we were switching to, but all in all, it’s a very well-told story.  A couple of times the author restated something already stated, which could have been annoying, but I was able to get past it.   I read it in one sitting, and for me to do that, means it’s riveting!  I want to go back and read the novel before this one, as well as future books from Mary Wine.


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