Series: The Glorious Victorious Darcys #1
Published by Signet on 6 November 2012
The first few pages of this novel drew me in raising my hopes but I found the rest of the book rather uneven. Our heroine Miss Amelia Darcy loses her eccentric inventor father during his attempt to create a rocket ship. Shortly after, she and her two brothers each receive a letter inviting them to partake in a competition to find a lost technological invention for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. In order to save her family from their financially embarrassing situation, Amelia heads off on her kitecycle to Italy to track down an invention her father had once told her about. Her vehicle of choice however collides with the airship of Tucker Gentry, ex Air Marshall and sky pirate cowboy.
Amelia was not my favourite heroine. She vacillated from strong, independent and full of adventurous spirit one minute to an immature, naive woman who made really silly decisions. She used phrases like “blinking hell” and “crikey” so often it was jarring. I suspect that the change in her personality occurred so Tucker could prove his prowess but it still irked me. For some reason Amelia was obsessed with politics and judged people based on whether they are Old Worlders, New Worlders or Flatliners. This affected her relationship with Tucker and I really felt she should have had the maturity to judge his worth herself by his actions rather than a political affiliation. Tucker is motivated by two things – money and sex. He needs the money to clear his name which was tainted with accusations of murder and theft. I didn’t appreciate the way he got angry with Amelia for “leading him on” after they had first had sex and he discovered she was a virgin. On the plus side, at least Amelia and Tucker discussed issues they had with each other and misunderstandings were resolved rather than dragging on. His motley crew were enjoyable and I would liked to learn more about them.
Ciotta has obviously given some serious thought into how to build her world. We have a variety of steampunk inventions, an alternate history that developed due to 1960s Mods travelling back in time to the Victorian era and even genetically altered people who were the product of Mod and Vic parents. The problem was that it was either feast or famine with lots of fascinating things not fully explained and those that were often reading like info dumps. There was so much stuff included that it was difficult to keep track of it all. The happily ever after ending was a bit too twee for my tastes but I can see how others would enjoy everything being wrapped up in a nice bow.
This novel isn’t bad but I would have preferred greater editing to smooth out the characterisation and strengthen the world. I’m going to give the next one a shot and hopefully it will appeal to me more.