This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: M/M Romance, Steampunk Romance
Published by Riptide
Released on October 27, 2014
I read the first book in this series that combines Steampunk Romance against the Klondike Gold strike and loved it so I was eager to give the second book a go as a result. This was moderately engaging and offered a good adventure, but lacked some of the umph that grabbed me in the first book.
This is the second book in the series, but it was only loosely tied to the first book as far as plot was concerned.
Canadian Mounted Police Constable Paul Benson is serving at Chilkoot Pass into the Klondike gold fields when a man is brought into camp near death. Paul helps keep him alive and then hears the story of how Joseph Starling and his brothers were set upon with one brother killed and the other kidnapped all so the thieves could steal their gold and the special digging machine they used to unearth the gold faster.
Joseph’s younger brother was taken and kept alive so that he would run the machine, but Joseph is the only one who knows how. He is frantic to get back and rescue his brother before the thieves figure out that David can’t run the machine and kill him.
Paul sympathizes with Joseph’s plight, but he can’t bend the rules to allow a man without supplies through the pass not only for his own safety in the cold lands beyond, but the other prospectors would riot. Joseph is near desperation, but then Paul’s sergeant orders Paul to escort Joseph to Juneau and get him on an airship that will take him to Dawson City where he can find his brother and rescue him.
Along the way, their reluctant alliance becomes something more as they face danger and hardship together. Paul respects Joseph’s tenacity and Joseph feels safe with the capable Paul at his side. They form something tentative between them, but don’t think it can last when Joseph goes on to Dawson City and Paul goes back to his duty at Chilkoot Pass.
This one had an exciting premise and I love the historical backdrop of the Klondike Gold Rush blended with some steampunk technology. It started out well for me with the danger element of Joseph nearly dying, his brother captive to murderers and thieves in the gold fields, and the time element of being back in time to save the brother. I also liked Paul and Joseph’s early antagonism as Paul was trying to keep Joseph safe and follow the law while Joseph was just desperate to return for his brother.
But then it fizzled out a bit for me. It was on the under-developed side as to characters and romance- not absent of development, but there was a need for more. I will even say that for all that Joseph’s heart was in the right place, I felt he got bratty a few times and wouldn’t see reason.
The romance was quick in actual time since they went from strangers to a little over a week later thinking in terms of a future together. And it felt even quicker because of their antagonism and then also Joseph went from never having been with a woman or man or even thinking about his sexual orientation to suddenly accepting of what he was starting up with Paul. Paul was gentle and careful with Joseph and I liked how these two were when they were together in those scenes in the cave and on the airship together.
Near the end, it got exciting though the denouement did brush over things. I was left with a few questions and I only had a hazy idea about their future. Again, I felt it needed more time instead of just the ‘riding off into the sunset’ thing.
All that said, I was glad to have read it and would recommend it to those who enjoy mild steampunk elements, slightly spicy romance, and a historical adventure bundled into one book.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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