Review: Badlands by Seleste deLaney
February 28 2011
Received from NetGalley
Yummy Man – Spencer Pierce
Kick Ass Chick – Ever
After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation’s border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.
Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen’s assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever’s reluctant ally.
As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn’t find them first…
I’ve only read one thing written by Seleste deLaney before. One tiny little twenty page short story…that really impressed me. (You can read my review here.) I enjoyed Seleste’s writing voice so much in those twenty little pages that when I saw that she had a novella coming out through Carina Press, I immediately got it…without even a second thought. I wanted to see what Seleste could do with more than a few pages. I wanted to see what she could do with a whole 100 pages! And what I found was that she could do quite well, thank you.
Badlands is about Ever, a Commader in the Badlands military and her mission to bring home the heir to the throne after the Queen gets killed during an uprising. Ever climbs up the side of a cliff, flags down a ship and tells its captain that she needs his assistance. Thank goodness Captain Spencer Pierce agreed to help her out; otherwise this wouldn’t be much of a book! 😉
Ever. What a fabulous name! She was a strong and likable character. I liked her strength throughout this whole story and I liked how layered her character was, even though this was a shorter story.
Captain Spencer Pierce was nice. What I mean by that is that he was niiiice. I liked him with Ever. I only wish their initial attraction was more developed. There is a tender side to Spencer that was nice to see with Ever, and a tender, almost vulnerable side to Ever that she showed Spencer. Like I said, I liked them together.
Badlands itself is a pretty neat sounding place. I would have loved to know more about it though. In fact, almost everything I know about it is from the blurb. I understand that this is a novella and therefore the story and the characters have to be the focus, but I would have really enjoyed learning more about the setting itself.
The pace was good. And just as you get comfortable reading this little story and think that, since you are approaching the end of the book, you are pretty clear on what is going on…Bam! a mystery starts up and who you think is responsible isn’t really responsible so you’re left wondering what’s going on?! I loved that. Very well done Seleste.
And the ending…it made my heart hurt. And let me just say that thank goodness there was an Epilogue. Otherwise I would have been a little sad and a lot bitter. I probably would have cursed Seleste a lot a little. When you read it, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
I wasn’t 100% sure what to rate this book when I just finished it (I never thought bad though, don’t get me wrong). But I found myself still thinking about it the next day and I even spoke to a couple of people about it on Twitter. That’s when I realized that yes, this was a very good novella – one that I would recommend to anyone who likes a slight Steampunk twist to their romance, who likes a strong lead heroine and who enjoys a little “wow, I didn’t see that coming” in their tales.
Giggle worthy quote
“What was her doing? Not that she particularly wanted Spencer defending her honor, but if he was going to bother, couldn’t he at least pull a weapon?”