book club chat on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I really enjoyed the chat, even though the book, Wilder's Mate, wasn't one of my favorite picks. It was a case where I just wanted MORE. Novella's and I don't always get along, I'm a very greedy reader. Here's my review:
Every now and then it's nice to encounter something really different in the romance world. I've read loads of shape-shifter romance, so that's nothing new. But I confess that steampunk in fairly new to me, and I've never read one in a western/pioneer setting. So naturally I felt I might enjoy this if only for the sake of novelty.
Satira is the apprentice to a weapons inventor, and her teacher has been kidnapped. Wilder, a bloodhound, is assigned to find him, and Satira insists on accompanying him. The journey takes them into the Deadlands--an area filled with vampires and other undesirables. Along the way, Satira and Wilder hook up, and a lot of steamy sex ensues.
The first comment I have to make is that this story is fairly short, definitely novella length. On one hand this is a plus because it is a fast, easy read--took me a couple hours--and it's not demanding in either time or intellect. On the other hand, it's a bad thing because nothing is really explained in any sort of detail. In terms of the world building much is left to the readers imagination. Also, some parts of the plot felt a bit rushed.
The characters were well written and likeable. The length didn't allow for too much in terms of development, but that is somewhat to be expected. Satira realizes her usefulness and power as an inventor. Wilder in turn attains a new place in his career. Both enjoy passion and emotional fulfillment in their new relationship. All in all, their romance felt complete and fairly satisfying to me.
The rest of the plot, while interesting, suffered a lot from lack of set up and world building. The story needed about 50 more pages to really clarify who all of the characters are, their motivations, the rules of science/magic in this world, and how this all ties in with the main characters. I don't know how much the author is to blame for this and how much is due to word count limitations. In any case, it felt like a brilliant premise that just fell incomplete in execution. I'm suitably intrigued, though, and I would willingly read the next book in the series. 3 stars.
Anyway, thanks so much to Moira Rogers for the cool stuff, I just LOVE the cover art for this one.