Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Asher's Invention by Coleen Kwan

Asher's Invention (2012) (novella)
Coleen Kwan
Grade: C-
Genre: historical romance / steampunk
Sex scenes: no actual sex, but a little steamy
Source: NetGalley

Minerva Lambkin’s father has been kidnapped and she has nobody else to turn to but Asher Quigley, the brilliant inventor who had been her father’s apprentice several years ago, and the man she was going to marry. When Asher discovered that Silas had been passing off his apprentice’s inventions as his own, he was convinced that Minerva had been a party to Silas’ transgressions and despite Minerva’s plea of innocence, he didn’t believe her and they haven’t seen each other since.

In the five years that have passed, Asher has made a name and mark for himself. His invention helped save the Irish potato crop and he’s now a rich man and worlds away from the tiny workshop that is Minerva’s home. Silas’ captors are demanding a working Millennium machine in return for his life; despite years of work, Silas has never succeeded in creating a perpetual-motion machine. Such an invention would transform life for all, no matter their social status and the prestige attached to the successful inventor would be immense. Minerva has watched her father squander away money, time and materials over the years, always unable to make that final leap and the only person who’s ever got close is Asher … will he be able to put aside his grudge and help Minerva before her time runs out?

I do enjoy steampunk and I don’t read nearly enough as I’d like to. I find Victorian England fascinating and combined with out-of-this-world inventions as authors often do, definitely creates a recipe for success in my books.

Despite that, this is an example of a novella that I didn’t feel reached its potential because of the space constraints. I did think that the past relationship between Asher and Minerva was explained well and there was plenty of very angsty angst going on at times which I loved, but I would have liked … something more. I didn’t think that justice had been done for Asher and Minerva’s relationship which is a huge shame because that something more could have really made the story.

The last chapter makes me cringe. Ms Kwan does a very good job throughout the novel giving the reader an insight into Asher and Minerva’s romance five years ago and there’s every indication that they still want each other as much as, if not more than, they did. I’m more than convinced that their love and lust is still there … then we get to the last chapter and I’m blown away by how badly the scene pans out and it isn’t a very satisfying note to finish on. I mean, thumbs up to Minerva for wanting her independence and everything, but I just felt it was a weak way to end the book and it’s a huge factor in why I think the book didn’t meet its full potential.

A mildly enjoyable read while I was reading, but not one that I would consider again. I dislike giving such negative reviews, but I also like to be honest and despite the steampunk, there was really not much in it for me.

Image courtesy of Carina Press

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