Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Reviewed by: Alisa
What to expect: A short story filled with rich world building and a slow burn romance.
The British Empire reigns supreme, and its young Queen Victoria has expanded her realm to St. Francisco, a bustling city of English lords and Chinese ghettos. St. Francisco is a jewel in the Empire’s crown and as deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Arcane and Science as its sister city, London—a very dark and dangerous battle.
Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, stumbles upon that darkness when he encounters a pack of young bloods beating a man senseless. Westwood’s duty and honor demand he save the man, but he’s taken aback to discover the man is Robin Harris, a handsome young inventor indirectly responsible for the death of Marcus’s father.
Living in the shadows following a failed coup, Robin devotes his life to easing others’ pain, even though his creations are considered mechanical abominations of magicks and science. Branded a deviant and a murderer, Robin expects the viscount to run as far as he can—and is amazed when Marcus reaches for him instead.
For me to like steampunk there has to be good world building. I have to be able to imagine not only the characters and the location but the inventions they create as well. This story had that in spades. I loved the world the author created and I could picture it all in my mind as I listened. It was an interesting combination of Victorian England and San Francisco, California. Robin’s creations were unique and a twist on the steampunk element I haven’t seen before.
The romance is slow and low steam. There are jumps of time from days to weeks and most of the romance takes place off page. The couple comes together at the very end of the story and it is a sweet expression of love between the two of them.
The narrator did a really good job. He has a very nice, deep voice and the story telling flowed nicely. I felt like he did an equally good job on all of the characters.
What you might not like: This is a short story and it ends right when the couple finally express their feelings towards each other.
What I loved: I thought the world building was extremely well done.