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Annika Fridasdottor is different. For the last four years - ever since she left home to search for her sister - she's known that. It's not just her strange accent or her lack of adherence to the stiff-rumped rules of proper behaviour, there are her secrets too. Because although her papers claim she comes from Norway Annika is from Iceland, and her well-hidden, women-only community will do anything to remain that way.

For the most part Annika's found it easy to keep up her ruse. Then David Kentewess comes to her rescue, and suddenly all of her secrets are in real danger of being discovered. David is a vulcanologist bound for Iceland, determined to survey the whole island - and unravel Annika's mysteries while he works.

The Iron Seas (The Iron Duke,Heart of Steel) world returns in this third (but stand-alone) adventure, leaving the well-trodden Horde-controlled lands of Europe behind, and setting sail for the New World and the frozen north.

Both main characters are unusual misfits, but while Annika just acts and thinks differently to those around her, David has little hope of hiding or fitting in. A terrible childhood accident lost him an eye, a hand and both legs below the knee. Thanks to Horde technology he now has metal replacements. Unremarkable in former Horde-ruled England perhaps, but a terrifying threat in the New World. So perhaps it's unsurprising that these two feel drawn together from the first.

Yet there's more than this to their relationship. Annika is a dreamer who has no faith in her own strength, while David is an optimist uncomfortable in his own (particularly the metal bits) skin. While Annika accepts him exactly as he is, David shows her how brave she can really be.

There's also a plot with mad-scientists, political rebellion, monstrous machines, protection, redemption, volcanoes and the many forms of love. However these are all just sideshows, because at heart this is a romance between two unusual but wonderful people. There is action and a smattering of adventure, but these two merely react to events rather than go looking for them.

All of which I loved. This world is gloriously imaginative, so I thoroughly enjoyed exploring more of it. The love story is beautiful, tender and steamy, and okay, perhaps some things were rather neatly resolved in the end but it was still a great read.

More romance-orientated than the previous books, and slower paced too, this likely won't please all the fans - there is a distressing lack of zombies. However, this is a good continuation of this series, a wonderful expansion of this world, and a good place for newcomers to jump in if they want to. Though it's a little different from the other books I enjoyed it just as much. I can't wait to see where this series goes next.
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on 27 October 2012
I really loved this book. It's interesting, well-written and fun, while at the same time adresses some serious issues without becoming pompous. The world-building, always a make-or-break point in fantasy, is vivid and the Iron Seas world comes across as both fascinatingly foreign and oddly familiar. The heroine is smart, strong and independed and at the same time vaulnerable and feminine, the hero charming and intelligent without coming across as weak. Both of them are frankly and unapologetically romantic, which was refreshing; I read romance novels and I sometimes feel it is taboo for the people who want and search for love to find it, as if one has to stop caring about finding a partner in order to deserve to have one. I also appreciated the fact that, while both of them have realistic flaws, those did not detract from their general awesomeness.
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on 3 February 2013
This is the first steampunk novel I've read, and I should really have begun at the beginning, because Riveted is in the middle of a series. However, it works pretty well as a stand alone novel and I was impressed by its imaginative narrative and excellent characterisation. The main protagonists are both sympathetic and finely-drawn and their actions believable. I particularly liked the way the author has avoided the usual sterotypes when it comes to romantic leads- both characters are vulnerable and driven by their complicated back stories. Sometimes it felt as if there were too many minor characters in this, but I did enjoy the novel and would recommend it.
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I love a Steampunk novel that brings not only Victoriana to life as it should have been but also brings the tempestuous aspect of a romantic and wild love affair to the fore. This title from Meljean not only does this with a smart and sassy heroine but gives the reader solid pace, great twists and cracking world building thrown in.

Add to this an author who understands not only her target audience but loves to entertain and you know all round that its going to be a book that will be hard to put down. Finally throw into the mix a huge arc that doesn't answer all the questions (which leaves things open for future outings) and all round I was more than happy I made time for it. Great stuff.
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on 16 September 2012
This is a fab stand-alone story set in Brooks' steam punk world. The story is good (not brilliant, but it does the job) and the romance elements are really good. 'Tender' is a word that has been used by other reviewers and it's appropriate. David is believably vulnerable, Annika is cautious and disbelieving - it all works well.
If I had a quibble it would be the slightly trite way in which the 'danger' (a bonkers son who does anything for his damaged father) is dealt with: it's quite convenient having the son proceed with his father's experiment which results in the destruction of the town which could be a problem later on for everyone else.
Still, it's a good story with great characterization and romance. I wish I could give it 4.5 stars.
Can't wait for the next one.
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on 20 January 2014
I have now read all of the book in the series. I love them!
The story is always gripping and intriguing the alternative history details are delightful.
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on 20 September 2013
The action doesn't start until nearly half way, but it is great world building, and the romance enhanced the story instead of derailing it. Very enjoyable.
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on 26 November 2015
Not as good as the rest of the series
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