Zoe Archer sets up an interesting, alternative steampunk world in this first installment of The Ether Chronicles.
Our hero is Christopher, captain of an ether-powered flying ship for the British Navy. He's also a Man-O-War. Now part man and part machine, he is connected to his ship. A special metal fused to his flesh and bone allows the energies in his body to create the ether. It's a job he loves. But as much as he revels in the skies, he still mourns the loss of Louisa, woman who got away... the woman who left him without a word, years ago.
Imagine his surprise when an SOS from behind enemy lines turns out to be from Louisa, herself. Once he rescues her, he gets pulled into her spy-work, all the while battling the overwhelming emotions coming from being with her again.
I really liked Christopher and the concept behind the Man-O-War. He is powerful and larger than life, yet emotionally scarred by his past with Louisa. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like I got much of a chance to invest in their feelings for one another. We're only told about the depth of their relationship, but didn't really get to see it. Because it's telling versus showing, I didn't get the build-up necessary to feel what I needed to between them. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, I just didn't care all that deeply.
The history between Christopher and Louisa does make it easy to believe the speed of their relationship development. The world-building is laid out quickly and efficiently. And the pacing is good. It's a fun adventure with a second-chance love story.*Book provided by author for review