Chasing the Star Garden
By: Melanie Karsak
Publish Date: December 4, 2014
Format: Audiobook - 6 hrs 52 mins
Narrated By: Libby Clearfield
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
Series: 1 in The Airship Racing Chronicles series
First Impression: A love story where one comes to accept and love them self along with finding love in others set in a time with clockworks and airships.
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.
*Due to steamy scenes and depictions of drug use, this novel is intended for mature readers.
I was going to lose -- again.
Amazon / Barnes & Nobles
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.
My Thoughts and Summary:
Lily comes in second in the airship race, but losses to the American's, again. She's disappointed. But then a harlequin races through the crowd to her. An assassin? But he grabs her and tells her to go to Venice and puts something down the front of her pants before jumping off the tower they stand on next to the airships, to his death. His body lay below with three points, the same shape that's in the symbol on her stargazer sail.
This story starts right off! The event of the race ends with a leap of faith.
There's drinking, drugs, swearing, and hot steamy moments. Lily has her debts and her loves of drinking, drugs, and hot steamy moments. Oh does she love the men. Since she uses her prize money to pay her debts, one of her lovers, Lord Byron, talks her into going to Venice. He gives her the money to make the trip reasoning she was specifically given the kaleidoscope for a reason.
This is another marvelous selection of voice to go with the story for Melanie Karsak. Libby is perfect for the characters and world. Libby is talented in accents. She has a British accent that fits the characters and thickens when need be for other characters. She even does Italian, Scottish, French and more accents. The way she speaks for each character is as she is the character. She differentiates many with tone, accent, and feeling in their voices. Outstanding job. Libby has intensified the character development through voice.
I love listening to the flight of the airship. Lily and her small crew is talented and the descriptions are of the visuals not the technical of how it's done. But the use of the air and storms is wonderful.
Do be prepared for fowl language, opium dens, and steamy sensual moments with Lily Stargazer. Melanie has taken us into a dark side of the world where drugs numb the senses and where woman are viewed as things. Melanie brings Lily through a dark past to a present that she can live with. But it's a journey that Lily has to make to come to grips with her past and be who she is. She has her friends around her to help. There's her crew for a time but most of all it's Sal, the Italian tinker, that helps her. She also finds a new friend in Celeste who helps guide them to find the statue her family is tied to.
Lily's past comes back, front and center for her. A past that she's long forgotten when she was abandoned at the orphanage. Then, a past that she keeps locked away with opium surfaces and is what draws her to help find the Aphrodite statue that is so treasured by it's strong following.
Yes, Aphrodite. Which also connects Venus and the sensual feeling of the book as a whole. This is an interesting blend of clockworks and steampunk elements with the height of love and steam. This all intersects with Lily and her life.
This story feels like a love story at it's core. A love of ones self and finding that the past does not define who they are now. Then, when they accept themselves they find love with another. Beautiful story and meaning mixed with a surrounding I love, clockworks, airships, adventure and fighting.