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Posted May 27, 2011
Steamrolled, the new steampunk novel by Pauline Baird Jones loses nothing of the whimsy of her prior work, may have even imported some extra energy, and teams that with some pretty interesting characters. Robert Clementyne meets Emily Babcock and, in any other romance the plot would be easy to predict from this point forward. That is anything but the case here, making this a quick and constantly engaging read.
You have to forgive a certain level of silliness that might be a tad over the top; I suspect its all part-n-parcel to the genre. However, I did find a lot more weight on action than characters in this particular work: the action is great, characters okay. The good are good (if weird) the bad are bad (and easy to identify) and they are solid enough, it's just that they are always in the midst of some happening!
There were plenty of funny moments, time travel (backward, forward, and I think maybe sideways.) and you can certainly not predict what will happen next. It sounds like a crazy, complex plot (it is, it is!) but it's not confusing in its complexity.it's quick, engaging and surprising. Through it all you grasp this fact: A girl's best friend has got to be a Wonder Wrench 2000 (must get one!).
Although you'd think it a huge advantage to be a genius (like, say, Robert), pretty quickly we realize that everyone is a genius. Good/evil, whatever. secondary characters get plenty of play here, and are certainly as believable as individuals as anyone else in the story.
Something about the falling into stream-of-consciousness is grating (perhaps I mean exhausting) over the long haul, but is, I realize, especially enjoyed by some readers. I think this will be a hit with steampunk fans in general, and if you haven't already tested out the genre, any work by Pauline Baird Jones would be a fine place to start. She's just a talented, entertaining author.
Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews