Last month, Naomi @ Nomi's Paranormal Palace and I decided to recommend books we thought were 5 stars for each other. It's a 5 star recommended reading program to make sure we don't miss out on the great books we should be reading!
Series: The Airship Racing Chronicles #1
Publisher: Clockpunk PressPublication Date: 04 December 2013Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci-FiSource: Author (In exchange for an honest Review)Audio or Book: BookLength: 325 pagesGoodreads Synopsis:An opium-addicted beauty.
An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.
An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.
Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.
It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium.
Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.
*Due to steamy scenes and depictions of drug use, this novel is intended for mature readers.
Chasing the Star Garden surprised me. It is not what I expected - not that I really knew what to expect!
Characters: 4 / 5
Melanie creates interesting and unusual characters. The story starts off with Lily and her crew racing in the Airship Grand Prix. After the race a man dressed as a harlequin delivers Lily a message, and then commits suicide by jumping off the side of the ship - What a way to start a story.
Lily - Lily is an unusual heroine. I like her and absolutely love her name 'Lily Stargazer'. She doesn't pretend to be anything she is not. She is a bit loose and carefree but mostly in control - when she isn't high on opium. Her character is very interesting and she has a sad childhood history. I enjoy her journey in the book and the way it all came together throughout the story.
Lord Byron - I liked him from the beginning - a high profile Lord from Britain. He is one of Lily's lovers and 'sponsors' her trip to Venice. Byron is one of those characters that surprises you and makes your heart swell.
Sal - What an interesting and likable character. He is Lily's other lover. The more you see of him, the more you love him. Sal's love for Lily is beautiful and he is a man filled with tender moments.
Plot, Pace, Writing style: 4.5/5
I enjoyed the clues Melanie drops throughout the book. The plot is interesting and unique. At parts the pace was a bit slow, but on the whole it kept a moderate pace. It felt like an exciting treasure hunt. I loved how the title of the book tied in to the story - it really was such a beautiful 'A-ha' moment. I would say it was a good read for most of it, but the last 5 chapters really made it for me. The story really does tie up with a bang!
Cover talk: 5/5 I really loved this cover, it is beautiful and intriguing.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this steampunk fantasy read and cannot wait to see where Melanie takes it in the next book 'Chasing the Green Fairy.'
"We all have difficulties we must pass," Sal said quietly as he stroked my hair. "For many years I could not understand why my father, my brother, did not accept me, what I lacked. But I learned it was not in my hand to change the past. Sometimes your world must get turned upside down for you to truly see yourself."
"Asclepius clutches the serpent, conquering it. You see, my Lily, with determination, all monsters can be overcome. It is written in the stars."
"She was a woman on a quest that was nearing its end. In those moments, a person will risk anything to win what they love."
Books in the series:
Author Bio:Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there wasn't much to do but read books and go for hikes. Apparently, rambling around in the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, Melanie now lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.Author Links: Website l Twitter l Goodreads