|A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.
Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.
Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam . . .
She looked up, met his gaze. “What I told you is true – I want to love someone first. Man or woman, I don’t care. I want to feel as if my guts are riveted together, to feel as if I would do anything just for a kiss, or a touch, or to see them. I want to feel as if I can’t live without them, and if I have to…if I have to live without them, I want to feel as if every moment I had with them was worth a lifetime of love. And I want to be loved that way in return.”Annika is working on an airship, flying from port to port with one purpose, to find her missing sister Kalla. Kalla took the blame for something Annika did that endangered their village, which is secluded and secret, and was sent away. Annika is trying to bring her back but hasn’t had any luck for years in locating her. At one port, she’s helped by David. David is on his own journey and he recognizes something in Annika that’s familiar to him, achingly so, and he just so happens to be traveling on her airship where he vows to get to know her better. David is trying to fulfill a promise to his mother who died twenty years ago. She wanted David to bury her necklace with her people, but she never spoke of her past. David has been trying unsuccessfully for years to find out where she grew up so he could see that her last wish was completed. The only hope he has right now is Annika, who speaks similarly to his mother and he has to find out more about her.
Her words gripped his heart, twisted it hard. That was what he wanted, too.
Annika caught her lip between her teeth again, watching him – uncertain again, he thought. “Does that sound like a foolish dream?”
“If it is, then I’m a fool, too.”
David and Annika’s adventures take them from the airship Annika is working on, to Iceland, they’re attacked by large mechanical creatures at sea and in the air, they’re taken hostage by a crazy man who’s trying to see his equally crazy father’s vision come to light. Not to mention the erupting volcanoes, the freezing weather they have to try and endure and oh yes, wild rabid dogs. This is really just the tip of iceberg of what these two have to face. That’s what I love most about this series and this world that Meljean Brook created. The imagination in this story is so engaging, and she describes everything perfectly. I can easily picture large mechanical “trolls” in which the operator hops into them through their big metal belly and makes the troll move by mimicking the moments of running using pedals and levers. This is just a taste of the world that David and Annika are living in and I loved every, single second of it.
Annika and David are one of my favorite book couples. Annika grew up in a village with only women, she was nicknamed the rabbit because she was great at hiding out, letting danger pass her by and then going straight home. In the years that she’s been flying around looking for her sister, she’s had to step far out of her comfort zone, putting herself into situations that wouldn’t let her hide out; but she’s so strong and courageous that hiding out is the last thing she thinks about anymore. She’s a woman who doesn’t want to be completely with a man or a woman until she’s sure she’s in love and growing up in a village of only women, it’s only recently that she’s been around men at all on a constant basis and she has no shot against falling for David.
Oh, David. This man stole my heart from the start. He was in an accident as a young boy that left him scarred, without the use of an eye, he lost a hand and both legs. He was used to the stares growing up and received even more stares when he injected himself with nanoagents, had a metal hand, legs and an eyepiece connected to his temple to aid his sight. People’s first reaction, and usually only reaction to him, is that of repulsion or pity and David doesn’t have time for either. This man lives his life focusing on the positive and trying to move past and ignore the negative. Like Annika, he’s never truly been with a woman and doesn’t want to attempt it again. He broke my heart when he recalled the two times he paid for sex only to have both experiences be so horrible, he never thought any woman would ever look at him with love and compassion. Annika gives him both and their relationship is one of the sweetest I’ve read in a long time. It’s slow to build up, they build a friendship first, slowly and tentatively move deeper and deeper into a romance that I couldn’t get enough of. Annika from the very first time she meets David, only sees David. Not his mechanical hand or legs, just David and she blows him away with the possibilities of what could be between them. For Annika, she starts telling David about her past, one that is shared with his mother and he gives her trust and no judgment about her home, family and how they live their lives. They go through all the emotions in this book, lots of love, tears, heartache, and I went along with them through everything. If you want a truly romantic couple to get to know, I can’t recommend David and Annika strongly enough.
As his father had often reminded him, every man had a choice: feed that which makes you happy, or feed that which makes you rage.
David always chose that which pleased him – and his life did please him.
The journey from friendship to lovers takes time, but it’s so worth the buildup. David has a lot of issues to work through, having such bad experiences to go on, but he and Annika are going through love for the first time together, figuring out what each other likes. The sex, while full of chemistry and passion, felt a bit subtle in a way and it fit perfectly with the story. It’s about so much more for them, finding someone to love who loves the other back just as much – everything is so satisfying, from their initial conversations, to their first kiss, all of it just worked perfectly.
The Iron Seas world is so unique it’s unlike anything I’ve read before. Yes, the steampunk world takes a little getting used to. To me it reads as a combination historical, part futuristic, part fantasy. The combination, once you get a grasp on the world, is pure entertainment. There are many supporting characters coming in and out of the story, all lend a strong purpose for being there and all are interesting in their own way. While these characters play important roles in the overall story, they never overshadow David and Annika, the story is told fully from their POV’s and is done in such a way that had me fully into the story from the first page.
“…You said you wouldn’t bed me without love.”
“Yes. But that is only the bed. I want to kiss and do all the rest while falling. That’s the fun of it, don’t you think?”
“I hope so.” He wasn’t laughing now. “You believe it takes years for love.”
“Yes” Torture. A sweet one. “Everyone I know has taken years – but that might be because everyone in my village has known each other all their lives. I wouldn’t mind being wrong.”
“Even if you’re right, I’ll wait.”
Riveted gets a huge 5 stars, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. David and Annika are unforgettable characters and I found myself laughing, cheering and crying for them on their journey. It’s not an easy one, but with David’s positive outlook and Annika’s love they make for an incredible story, one that I highly recommend.
Release date: September 4, 2012
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*eARC provided by publisher for review*