Reviews: The Inventor and The Admiral by Morgan Karpiel

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'm currently 350 pages into A Dance with Dragons (only 700 to go!) so I've no new recent reads to review. Instead, here are two Two-Minute reviews by the same author, with stories set in the same universe that I talked about the other day in this post.

Title: The Inventor
Genre: romance, steampunk, novella
Series: Fantasies of New Europa #1
Pages: 145 (Nook version)
Published: September 2010
Rating: 3/5

Inventive and short, Karpiel manages to incorporate a lot of story into just 150 pages of novella. Steampunk, espionage, jilted wives, duels, lovers quarrels, plus more strange happenings. It's a romance, so there's a heavy influence on love and sex and the scientific testing of "coldness" in a Countess that was left by her husband. The main character, the Countess of Caithmore (called less formally just Leda for most of the book) is believable and sympathetic as the King's cousin who was jilted by her husband the Earl for an infamous actress. She is the most on-screen character, with the titular inventor a close second. The two have excellent, if combustible chemistry, and the sex scenes did not make me cringe with embarrassment or laughter. 

Karpiel definitely has a unique way with words. She writes well, lyrically even, with her prose flowing off the page. There's definitely a larger focus on sex in this book than in most books I read, but it did not deter me or affect the story negatively; it was well written and central to the plot of the novel as well as the main character's mental state. It's a very easy to read story, and has a small cast of defined characters. I was certainly hoping for a more well-rounded background set of characters, but the remaining books leave me hope for a wide variety of humanity in this steam world. While very much an introductory novel for a series, there is more to recommend this novel than to disparage. The scene is set for an alt- England filled with steampunk and intrigue, and I have hopes that the next in the series will build off the foundation from this novel and create a bigger, more rounded and explored world.

Next up, the second in the Fantasies of New Europa.

Title: The Admiral
Genre: romance novel-ish, steampunk, novella
Series: Fantasies of New Europa #2
Pages: 166 (Nook version)
Published: October 2010
Rating: 3.5/5

Enjoyable and engaging, The Admiral is about the Empire of New Europa from the first book in the selfsame series The Inventor, but this time it is a sea-faring submersible that is the location instead of England. This is a very short story, only about 160 pages, so it does seem a bit rushed, especially in regards to the romantic aspect between Tristan and Jia. However, the characters are likable and more realistic than the first novel in the series. The male protagonist of Tristan was more fleshed out and detailed, with a more compelling and mysterious past. The clues and hints to his unrevealed history were partly my favorite aspect of this; the other aspect being the female lead Jia. She's fierce and strong in a world where those attributes seem to largely be held by men. The 'world' that the story takes place in does not suffer from the brevity of the plot or the rush of the romance; each successive novel has revealed more and hinted plenty about this alt-world that Karpiel has crafted so carefully. It seems fully-realized and tantalizing; each book has made me more and more curious about New Europa.

Basically this was a short, quick and enjoyable steampunk fluff. Karpiel has done great so far, with mixing many different elements in her stories: adventure, strange contraptions and romance all work wonderfully in a very readable series. I've noticed improvements in development, characterization and pacing that were just a mite off in the beginning novel. I will say that I hope the novels become longer the more are added to the series; each is succinct complete tale, but I live for details and world-building. All four in this series are only $.99 so if they sound somewhat interesting to you, it's really worth it to try it out.

I plan to read and review the two published as of yet (The Aviator; The Burn) as soon as possible. So, pretty much when I am 54 I'll have reduced the monstrosity enough ;)


  1. They are! They just updated the one for The Admiral and I like it so much better than the old one!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.