Hello all, welcome to my review. And what a scorcher I have for you today: Chasing the Star Garden (The Airship Racing Chronicles #1) by Melanie Karsak. Come see my thoughts on this imaginative steampunk fantasy, first of the chronicles adventures.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: (GOODREADS)
An opium-addicted beauty.
An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.
An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.
Melanie Karsak’s Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.
It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium.
Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.
Releasing March 4th, 2014
Chasing the Green Fairy
The Airship Racing Chronicles II
Genre: Steampunk/Alt. History
“Mere words don’t seem adequate to explain how truly brilliant this story is,”- My Book Addiction
“While Chasing the Star Garden will certainly engage the Steampunk connoisseurs with its gadgetry and elegance, it’s the intense attention paid to each characters’ personal importance to the overall story that makes it a great adventure . . . Chasing the Star Garden is a treasure hunt of the highest order. Lily Stargazer is easy to embrace as she undoubtedly has a little of each of us in her. Her adventure is one for the ages,”- Colossal Pop
“The author paints a vivid portrait of Venice, with its palazzi, jewel-coloured waters, masks, and gondolas. Venice truly comes to life as well as the other destinations visited in the course of following the mystery around the kaleidoscope. It is, indeed, a feast for the senses,” – Torre de Babel
“One of my favorite things about this book is the world building. It is amazing. I could easily envision the airships, the airship towers, sky pirates, and the elaborate dress and contraptions of this steampunk fantasy. I absolutely loved it!” – Gin’s Book Notes
The reviews above leave little to add. I agree on all points. And the book description bears no repeating so I’ll get down to my thoughts.
What did I love?
The dark of it all. Anyone in a torrid (rather S/M) relationship with Lord Byron was going to be dark, and well, interesting. 😉 This propelled me into wanting to know Lily, our heroine. Why was this beautiful spunky young airship mistress floundering in drug highs and scary guys? I admit to loving the inclusion of Lord Byron in this way because who doesn’t love to fantasize about what he might have been like? This story felt like a cheeky bio peek, which revealed him to bo as passionate, edgy, dangerous as we’d expect, but also loyal.
During their incredible journey through the skies, we find out why Lily abuses herself with drugs, and we see her fall in love as the reasons are peeled away, one-by-one. Leaving her emotionally drained, exposed and vulnerable, she finally opened up to see value in what’s in front of her. She learns to want a better life.
I want to gush all the facts out on this page so you can understand why I’m DYING to read the next installment. But that would be cruel. Go and read this marvel of fantasy, technical intrigue, historical wonder, and Lily Stargazer: An intrigue all of her own.
To get technical, the writing and research were spot on for me. I’m always eager to get to the action, and there was plenty of it in this book, but in between sat poignant, emotional revelations and interactions. I’m not big on sentimentality, not unless it’s given in small eloquent doses, and feels genuine. And I felt they were here.
What I didn’t love
I loved everything, but should be frank! You will find references and scenes of child abuse, (even rape and attempted rape). I found this disturbing, as I should. But they were handled well and only there for character building. This part of the book is minute, and in my opinion shouldn’t stop anyone reading it. But I still felt it necessary to point them out for more sensitive readers.
I got a copy to review from THESE GUYS. Lucky me. 🙂
Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there wasn’t much to do but read books and go for hikes. Apparently, rambling around in the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, Melanie now lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College
From the Author
Due to depictions of drug use and steamy scenes, this novel is best suited for mature readers.
Join Lily Stargazer and her crew in the second novel in The Airship Racing Chronicles, Chasing the Green Fairy, releasing March 2014.
Now…. GIVEAWAY TIME!!