Wow! This one really exceeded my expectations – great fun!
Stylistically, ‘Steal the Sky’ is like a mash-up of Cherie Priest’s ‘Clockwork Century’ series and Scott Lynch’s ‘Gentleman Bastards.’ If you like either of those authors, Megan O’Keefe comes highly recommended. She serves up a good mix of grit, humor, and excitement.
The world is steampunk with a sword-and-sorcery feel. A mining town at the foot of an unstable volcano is devoted to the pursuit of extracting ‘selium’ – a lighter-than-air and volatile substance which is used to power just about everything. Those who are ‘sensitive’ to the sel can locate it – and also, if strong, use it to accomplish feats that are near-magical, including disguising themselves.
Our (anti?)hero is Detan Honding, a wastrel scion of a once-noble house, now well-known to law enforcement as a thief and a rogue. Of course, he’s got a clever sidekick, Tibal, who’s there to extricate him from his scrapes. Naturally, there are hints of past tragedies to elicit sympathy for his plights.
When a military woman, Thratia, attempts a political coup, Detan finds himself in an unlikely alliance with the upstanding Watch Captain, Ripka. But is the woman he’s made promises to really Ripka, or a sinister “doppel” who’s suspected of multiple murders? Several different agendas clash in a fast-moving, action-filled tale set in an imaginative world.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.