This is the second book in the Aether Chronicles Series and is definitely not a book that can be read as a stand alone. Just to let you know, there will be spoilers if you haven't read the first book.
Noli is having a hard time in this second book. The sprite inside her is taking over for periods of time and she can't remember anything while the sprite is in possession of her body. To make matters worse, V. is forced to break the sigil she wears that gives her the protection of his house, essentially breaking their understanding that they will marry. But Noli isn't the type to faint and die from things like this. Noli is the type to fight and trust that things will get better and she and V. will get back together. And she isn't going to wait for it to happen. I love how Noli fights against the sprite who likes fancy dresses and pretty shiny things, a big hindrance while Noli works on a big shiny engine on Jeff's airship. Sometimes the sprite and Noli can share consciousness, but sometimes, Noli wakes up to the horror that the sprite has done. It's horrible only because the captain of "Jeff's ship" is Vix, a female women's rights activist who isn't prone to pretty things like fancy dresses and shiny things.
Jeff, Noli's brother, shows up at just the right time and is a great addition to the characters in this series. He is ultra protective of Noli as are all of his shipmates. He knows something happened to her and that sometimes she seems to disappear even now. He is very worried about her, and as he is in love with Vix and she him, they share their worries. We also find out that, though some of his actions are illegal, some of his illegal actions involve rescuing kidnapped children. And for that, I can certainly forgive him for being an airpirate!
V. is in this one again and YAY! for that. I love that everything seems to not work out too easily for V. He travels with James and we get to learn a little more about him. It's fun to see the two of them questing together. But what I love most is seeing how much V.'s mission is to get back to Noli.
The world is once again 1901 alternate United States. More or less the same, but steampunk and some of the states are altered. There is a war with Hawaii called the Pineapple Rebellion as they try to retain their independence from the United States. And the state of Deseret which is a fictional state and one of the author's own creation. There is child trafficking which, according to the author did happen (and continues) at the turn of the century. Airships, machines, and the Otherworld all intermingle. The Fae mingle with the human world without most of the human's knowing. However, the Otherworld and the Human world are co-dependent and without balance in one, there is no balance in the other. This was a theme that was explained in Innocent Darkness. It continues in this novel.
The story is very interconnected. Noli runs away from her mother and grandfather who want to take her to Boston for "The Season". She is on Jeff's airship, The Vixen's Revenge (there's a story in that name, I'm sure) but it's not Jeff's ship, he's just the pilot. The captain and owner is Vix, the woman Jeff is in love with and who Noli has to convince that she's not a "lady" but an engineer and feminist enough to be on board the ship. A problem for sure with the sprite inside of her. V. has to make good on the favor he promised his mother the Queen Tiana which becomes a quest. He drags James along who is, understandably, in sad shape. That quest becomes another quest and Queen Tiana, as well as fellow members of the Otherworld hinder them at every turn. And then it seems that the world has Noli and V. just missing each other at every port and turn. It was a cross country race despite the fact that they weren't trying to find each other. A shocking ending concludes this fast paced and breathless novel.
No second book syndrome here. Though it might take a page or two to get going, this novel is fast and action packed, full of adventuresome air pirates and questing faeries, nefarious otherworlders and our lovable Noli and V. and another couple to fall for Jeff and Vix! The ante has been upped in this series! Noli is still the key even if she wasn't sacrificed and I can't wait to read the next book in this series!!
I received a copy for a review from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.
by Heather Rosdol