fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Katie MacAlister SteamedSteamed by Katie MacAlister

Steamed is the first novel in what promises to be a rollicking steampunk fantasy series as Katie MacAlister delivers her trademark humor and romance in a new world setting.

Jack Fletcher and his sister get sucked into an alternative reality and find themselves on a Aerocorps steamship captained by Octavia Pye. The novel’s premise is inventive and fun, as is the romantic interplay between Jack Fletcher and Octavia Pye. The zany steamship crew members form a great supporting cast. MacAlister always seems to have one side character who steals the show. In this case, I particularly enjoyed the dialogue of the Spanish cook who is also madly and inappropriately attracted to Octavia.

What’s not to like? Well, while the plot was fast-paced and action-packed, I never truly understood certain aspects of the world setting, such as the motivations of the emperor or the rebels or the foreign enemies. And that made several elements of the plot seemed like, well, afterthoughts contrived solely to bring the male and female protagonist together, put them on the run, and force them to enter a certain profession. (I’m not saying what).

Despite minor quibbles with the plot, I thoroughly enjoyed Steamed overall. More importantly, perhaps, I am already excited about the next book in the series because — though I do hope the fun plot is a bit more comprehensible — MacAlister has established a great cast of characters and positioned them for what promises to be an epic series of misadventures. Once again, MacAlister demonstrates why she is one of my favorite authors for romantic, comedic fantasy.

Steamed — (2010) Publisher: 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…


  • Stephen B. Frank

    STEPHEN (S.B.) FRANK, one of our guest contributors, earned a Ph.D. at Duke University and works in the field of education reform. When he needs a break from real life, he likes to indulge in urban fantasy. He has a particular love for humor, so some of his favorite authors are Dakota Cassidy, Mary Janice Davidson, Mark Henry, Julie Kenner, Katie MacAlister, Richelle Mead and Christopher Moore.

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