Apr 14, 2015

DeeJay Reviews: CHASING THE STAR GARDEN by @MelanieKarsak

Chasing the Star Garden
by Melanie Karsak

Series: The Airship Racing Chronicles #1
Genre: Steampunk
Publication Date: September 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Received from author and RBTL in exchange for an honest review.

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.

I am so in love with steampunk and this book just reiterated the reason why. It was a fantastic beginning to a series that promises to blow me away with each installment.

First off...the narrator was BOSS. Who is this woman of a thousand accents? French, Italian, British, Scottish...she did them all. And with ease and grace...and I was just damned impressed with her skills! The narrator really did help make this book for me, not that it needed much help to begin with.

The writing was flawless and the author's attention to detail was amazing. Paired with the narrator's mesmerizing tone and flow, it just couldn't get any better. I could tell some real research went into the details of the time period and all the elements that really made this book "steampunk".

I will admit, at times I found myself a bit confused with all the many characters, but by the halfway point, I was pretty sure I had a handle on the who's who of this series. Can I just say that I love Sal? And damn, he sounded sexy! I do love an older man....But anywho! Lily was an interesting character with an interesting personality and a disheartening history. I loved the flashbacks of her childhood and though usually they interrupt the story, I didn't find that to be a problem here. They melded perfectly with the unfolding storyline. I liked how they often happened when Lily was high as a fucking kite, lol. Or coming back down to Earth. This added an extra layer of intrigue to Lily's out of control opium habit. I mean, this girl has that shit BAD. But overall, I really thought Lily was a strong female lead.

What also made Lily special was she had multiple lovers, two in particular, and didn't bother to be sneaky about it. It was just the way she was and the men in her life just had to get with the party. Though I loved Sal, can't say I was too in love with Byron. Though I can admit, I didn't get the chance to fall in love with Byron. But this love triangle was definitely one I could handle. The winner (in my eyes) is evident from the jump. But everyone will decide for themselves, I guess. But this was another good aspect of the book. The romance was steamy without being vulgar. I just loved that.

Lastly, the Greek mythology aspect. WIN. Anything, ANYTHING, related to Greek mythology will gain my interest. I adore the way it was woven into this story. Its actually the reason for this story. So I won't give anything away, you'll have to read it for yourself, but I really enjoyed the way the author used one of my favorite book themes and combined with one of my other fave book themes. It's genius. 

So I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. It was great! Full of action and excitement, and a narrator that will hypnotize you into submission with her lovely brogue, you will find this book very hard to put down at times. The only thing more I can say about this book is to go pick it up at once. I swear you will not be disappointed! Not even if you read it yourself!

Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles, the award-winning horror/dark fantasy The Harvesting Series, and The Saga of Lady Macbeth. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master's degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, Shakespeare nerd, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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