Book Review: Master of Myth (The Antigone’s Wrath Series Book 1) by Starla Huchton

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Master of Myth (The Antigone’s Wrath Series Book 1) by Starla Huchton

A Steampunk-Adventure Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (09/19/14)

Summary:

“Sometimes fate cannot be avoided.” (Kindle Location 2823).

Captain Sterling tries to get rid of a ring that possess a strong magic, but the person who gave it to her is beaten to death in front of her. A society known as the Brotherhood is after Rachel Sterling and the ring and Rachel needs answers. Her specialized ship takes Rachel and her loyal crew travel to the far reaches beyond Singapore tailed by men of the Brotherhood. Rachel will get caught up in the passions of a gearhead commissioned by the Brotherhood, a young girl and daughter of a powerful man who wants to study abroad, the lovely and loyal first mate Iris with a love of magic, and the Master at Arms Danton who swears to kill any member of the Brotherhood they come across.

Keywords:

Ship, Magic, Ship, Female Captain, Strength, Fighting, Ring, Death Machine, Gear Head, Apprentice, Lover, Danger, Killing, Technology, Secret Sect, Steampunk

 

My Review:

I loved every female. They all had their strengths and great personalities. And there weren’t just females in this story. Though Mr. Mustache was a bit over the top in his prejudices, and made to be quite unlikeable, there was Danton the Master at Arms and Silas and the apprentice boy. Huchton really knows how to pack a book with great characters without being overwhelming.

As I happen to share the Captain’s first name, I felt an extra pull and connection to Rachel Sterling. Everyone has their idealized self and role model in books and movies and Rachel Sterling is a great one to choose. She isn’t just strong or just feminine or just smart or just perfect. She has her flaws. She makes choices that lead to things happening that could have gone better had they been avoided. She can fight but doesn’t always win. She is like the female Han Solo, a bit stupid when it comes to love but everyone’s favorite character.

The tech wasn’t too scientific/techie. The steampunk elements weren’t overpowering. Huchton does a wonderful job at balancing many elements in this story.
My only real critique is that the cover was not as engaging as Starla Huchton’s covers usually are. It took me a while to pick this one up because I was under the incorrect assumption that it was a dull mystery novel.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on September 19th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

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Book Review: The Hunted (The Marian Series #2) by Taylor Hohulin

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The Marian by Taylor Hohulin

A Steampunk/Pirate Sci-Fi Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (8/17/15)

Summary:

Ethan Denby is still trapped in Duncan’s body: the former captain of the Marian, a ship full of illegal water harvesters. Now it is more imperative than ever for Ethan to swap out of Duncan’s body as the Other World is closer and closer to claiming his new body. It is harder than ever to find a solution as Ethan has nowhere else to turn after the Cloud Priestess screwed him over and he was forced to kill Jarvis in self-defense. It isn’t until one of the mercenary twins finds a book of the Cloud that Ethan’s hopes are revived. He might well be able to swap back into his former body and former life after all. The adventures take the Marian and her crew to more HydroSystem wells and through more dangers, as more than just the HydroSystem workers are out for their blood, now it seems the entire Empire is after the Marian’s crew to claim the price on their heads.

Keywords:

Illegal Water Harvesting, Water Scarcity, Criminals, Soul swapping, Steampunk, Ship on Legs, Navigation, Well, Extraction, Water Police, Teenagers, Captain, Mercenaries, Trouble, Pirates, Post-Apocalyptic, Own Agenda, Death, Other World

My Review:

The Hunted begins with a new character in the same world as the Marian. She is a mercenary. Her name is Scarlet and she has a story. When she is given the task of killing the Marian’s crew she hesitates. She is human. She has a moral conscience. Then again, she has taught herself to forget the faces of those she’s killed. What makes the Marian and her crew any different? It is not one bad man having her kill another bad man. The Marian steals from the rich to give to the poor and though they are one drop in the bucket against HydroSystems monopolization of the world’s remaining water, it is enough of a rebellion to give Scarlet pause in her murderous task.

Ah Scarlet. We lost one female only to gain another. Bonnie for Scarlet, a worthwile exchange, though I wonder what in fact happened to Bonnie and if we will ever find out. Why Bonnie, after all? Why not have someone else kidnapped in book one? Only because Hohulin gave her the most obstinate personality that she was the one who insisted on going with Ethan in the first place. She was the only one that could have been sacrificed at the time for the book to continue.

As Jackie puts it, nobody is trying to find Bonnie, they are only after Duncan and righting the soul swap that left Ethan out of his body and world. This creates great tension between Jackie and Ethan as Ethan is mostly to blame for allowing Bonnie to go to the Cloud and get captured.

Scarlet was one of my favorite additions to the Marian, she had such a great backstory and added much to the plot. She was conflicted but resolute. She was the strongest character. “She collected all the anger at being turned into a killer before she could turn into a woman, all the frustration at being given an identity she couldn’t control, and all the horror at having two fathers taken from her.” (Kindle Locations 3755-3757).

I love the idea of different types of mercenaries that Hohulin introduces and how he defines each type, giving more shape to the politics going on in this world and how everyone has their part to play. Kyle and Kale are given more definition within this context as well and I enjoyed seeing more to them than was revealed in book one.

The Players in the front describing all the characters was very helpful and I’m always glad when authors re-iterate who is who and what is most important.

The plot clicked into place, things from book one, small almost insignificant details were brought to life in book two. What a great continuation and I can’t wait for more from Taylor Hohulin.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on August 17th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Taylor Hohulin’s Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Book Review: The Marian by Taylor Hohulin

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The Marian by Taylor Hohulin

A Steampunk/Pirate Sci-Fi Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (9/19/14)

Summary:

In a world where water is scarce and the people must buy it from a company called HydroSystems Worldwide that jacks up the price, Ethan Denby is tossed into the soul of a ship’s captain. But where there is no water there are no oceans and this ship called the Marian, powered by coal, walks on legs. Not only must Ethan contend with being in a different body and a different time altogether, he has been marked to be taken from this world and to Those Beyond, a place nobody would ever want to go.

Keywords:

Illegal Water Harvesting, Water Scarcity, Criminals, Soul swapping, Steampunk, Ship on Legs, Navigation, Well, Extraction, Water Police, Teenagers, Captain, Mercenaries, Trouble, Pirates, Post-Apocalyptic

My Review:

The premise is intriguing. Everyone involved has a goal. There is a lot of tension. When there’s not enough water and you have to buy it from a monopoly, there are some people who would rather steal the water than pay the man. What a great book of the person versus the corporation.

The author tossed up what could have been a predictable plot with the concept of the Cloud and the fantasy/sci-fi bit with soul swapping. Ethan Denby doesn’t fit into this world and that’s what makes both him and the world so much more interesting.

I loved the characters. Each had their own unique personality. Bonnie is the token female who wants to be tough but has a difficult time in the apocalyptic environment. Jackie is the wild and unabashed engineer who will put himself at risk for the Marian and for Bonnie, his sister. Tucker is the good natured ship’s doctor who doesn’t make much of a fuss and you almost forget he’s there until he acts as a mediator. Percy is the man with the past who picked up the role as captain without a second glance behind him and is a bit rough around the edges. The Navigator is the crazy one, a crazy genius that is. Ethan is the bewildered newcomer who wants to just get home but has an amenable personality that gets along with most everyone. Lester is the cook who can’t cook and abides no waste on the ship. Buddy is mostly just an added voice and sometimes devil’s advocate as well as resident book-keeper and poetry writer. The Marian is the steampunk post-apocalyptic Mad Max type ship they travel on. Jarvis is the too smart for his own good can’t see beyond his own nose face of HydroSystems (the enemy).

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on September 19th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Taylor Hohulin’s Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Dawn of Steam Release Party (Renton, WA) this Saturday! Steampunk

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This Saturday, from 4 PM to 8:30 PM at the AFK Elixirs and Eatery in Renton, come out to the Dawn of Steam release party! Come dressed in your Steampunk finest, snag a signed copy of the book, and chat with like-minded readers.

For more info on the event, click here.