Steamed is the first novel in what promises to be a rollicking steampunk fantasy series as Katie MacAlister delivers her trademark humor and romance in a new world setting.
Jack Fletcher and his sister get sucked into an alternative reality and find themselves on a Aerocorps steamship captained by Octavia Pye. The novel’s premise is inventive and fun, as is the romantic interplay between Jack Fletcher and Octavia Pye. The zany steamship crew members form a great supporting cast. MacAlister always seems to have one side character who steals the show. In this case, I particularly enjoyed the dialogue of the Spanish cook who is also madly and inappropriately attracted to Octavia.
What’s not to like? Well, while the plot was fast-paced and action-packed, I never truly understood certain aspects of the world setting, such as the motivations of the emperor or the rebels or the foreign enemies. And that made several elements of the plot seemed like, well, afterthoughts contrived solely to bring the male and female protagonist together, put them on the run, and force them to enter a certain profession. (I’m not saying what).
Despite minor quibbles with the plot, I thoroughly enjoyed Steamed overall. More importantly, perhaps, I am already excited about the next book in the series because — though I do hope the fun plot is a bit more comprehensible — MacAlister has established a great cast of characters and positioned them for what promises to be an epic series of misadventures. Once again, MacAlister demonstrates why she is one of my favorite authors for romantic, comedic fantasy.