Jack Fletcher’s heart is about to get punked.
Computer technician Jack Fletcher is no hero, despite his unwelcome reputation as one. In fact, he’s just been the victim of bizarre circumstances. Like now. His sister happens to disturb one of his nanoelectromechanical system experiments, and now they aren’t where they’re supposed to be. In fact, they’re not sure where they are when…
…they wake up to see a woman with the reddest hair Jack has ever seen—and a gun. Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain with a whole lot of secrets, and she’s not about to see her maiden voyage ruined by stowaways. But the sparks flying between her and Jack just may cause her airship to combust and ignite a passion that will forever change the world as she knows it…
Katie MacAlister’s steampunk novel is titled Steamed, perhaps teasingly, as it seems to have more to do with the genre, than with the plot. Octavia is a commanding character, hiding many secrets. Jack and his sister blunder into her world, disrupting many of her plans.
The plot jumps jarringly in places, leaving gaps in the story that are briefly referenced in dialog. This isn’t done too often, but it did take me out of the story when it ocurred.
The science fiction in the novel is often given to an engineer or technician to explain how the world works. Jack’s status as a newcomer gives him an excuse to ask many questions, and if he wasn’t an avid steampunk fan from page 1, I would wonder why he constantly follows people to ask about how the world works. As it is, I wonder why this continues past the first few chapters.
The plot is quick paced, and occasionally trips on itself. Octavia’s many ex-boyfriends appear, and Jack is quick to assert himself, long before Octavia considers him a partner. While he frequently claims to support her rights and admire her intelligence, he repeatedly attempts to protect her, or act for her, despite her status as a captain in the world she grew up in. Her aggravation at this is treated as a common, cute women’s response. This irritated me as much as it irritated her character. Her lack of response beyond outrage also bugged me. If she was such a strong female character, why was she continually subject to the whims of her ex-boyfriends? Why did she not continue to protest when Jack spoke for her?
Still, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick, beach read.