by Cindy Spencer Pape
Published March 7th 2011 by Carina Press
Courtesy of NetGalley
Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess. Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she's ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess. When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery...
Steam & Sorcery had the potential of being a really great novel; there is a capable, smart and handsome hero, a headstrong heroine that can take care of herself, five orphaned children with supernatural abilities, vampires, werewolves and interesting gadgets one of the children creates. But when it came to the actual plot, it fell a bit flat.
The story starts out at a good pace with action right off the bat; Sir Merrick is a Knight in a secret order that protects the rest of the world against the monsters. He is investigating the disappearance of several women when vampires ambush him and help comes in the package of five young waifs. When he discovers that one boy is a potential knight and the others have special abilities of his own he brings them into his home as his wards. However, he soon realizes he needs help and with the suggestion of his aunt hires Caroline as a governess. There is an instant sizzle between them, each character is interesting, but after the initial character introductions the story plods along slowly with the action dwindling. The romance between the two main characters is hot but predictable, they fight their attraction for each other and try to keep a professional distance but give in eventually. The mystery of the missing women and the congregation of vampires is weaved into the romance but the slow-going romance is the center of the plot. Merrick’s Aunt added fun feminist humor, the paranormal side was intriguing but never fully developed, the steam punk aspects were in large part children’s toys and the ending felt rushed. Overall though, it was still a fun little read.
Rating: 3 Wine Glasses - Good