Friday, 21 March 2014

Book Review: Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak



Last month, Naomi @ Nomi's Paranormal Palace and I decided to recommend books we thought were 5 stars for each other. It's a 5 star recommended reading program to make sure we don't miss out on the great books we should be reading!



Series: The Airship Racing Chronicles #1
Publisher: Clockpunk Press
Publication Date: 04 December 2013
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Source: Author (In exchange for an honest Review)
Audio or Book: Book
Length: 325 pages

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.




My Review:
Chasing the Star Garden surprised me. It is not what I expected - not that I really knew what to expect!

Characters: 4 / 5
Melanie creates interesting and unusual characters. The story starts off with Lily and her crew racing in the Airship Grand Prix. After the race a man dressed as a harlequin delivers Lily a message, and then commits suicide by jumping off the side of the ship - What a way to start a story.

Lily - Lily is an unusual heroine. I like her and absolutely love her name 'Lily Stargazer'. She doesn't pretend to be anything she is not. She is a bit loose and carefree but mostly in control - when she isn't high on opium. Her character is very interesting and she has a sad childhood history. I enjoy her journey in the book and the way it all came together throughout the story.

Lord Byron - I liked him from the beginning - a high profile Lord from Britain. He is one of Lily's lovers and 'sponsors' her trip to Venice.  Byron is one of those characters that surprises you and makes your heart swell.

Sal - What an interesting and likable character. He is Lily's other lover. The more you see of him, the more you love him. Sal's love for Lily is beautiful and he is a man filled with tender moments. 

Plot, Pace, Writing style: 4.5/5  
I enjoyed the clues Melanie drops throughout the book. The plot is interesting and unique. At parts the pace was a bit slow, but on the whole it kept a moderate pace. It felt like an exciting treasure hunt. I loved how the title of the book tied in to the story - it really was such a beautiful 'A-ha' moment. I would say it was a good read for most of it, but the last 5 chapters really made it for me. The story really does tie up with a bang!

Cover talk: 5/5 I really loved this cover, it is beautiful and intriguing.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this steampunk fantasy read and cannot wait to see where Melanie takes it in the next book 'Chasing the Green Fairy.'

My Rating:


Favourite Quotes
"We all have difficulties we must pass," Sal said quietly as he stroked my hair. "For many years I could not understand why my father, my brother, did not accept me, what I lacked. But I learned it was not in my hand to change the past. Sometimes your world must get turned upside down for you to truly see yourself."~"Asclepius clutches the serpent, conquering it. You see, my Lily, with determination, all monsters can be overcome. It is written in the stars." ~"She was a woman on a quest that was nearing its end. In those moments, a person will risk anything to win what they love."

Books in the series:



Author Bio:
Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there wasn't much to do but read books and go for hikes. Apparently, rambling around in the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, Melanie now lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Author Links: Website l Twitter l Goodreads


Love

Chanzie


24 comments:

  1. That's a cool blogger buddy system, and it looks like it worked out pretty well! I love Steampunk, so I might check this one out. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carmel :) we are always threatening to read these awesome books when we see reviews on our friends blogs, so I figured this way - 1 book a month - I could make a plan to read them! I am a new fan of Steampunk and am definitely loving the genre.

      Delete
  2. I'm so glad that you liked this book. :) I am always nerve wracked about making specific recommendations to folks in fear that they won't like the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, but if we never try out the recommendations from our fellow bloggers.. we might miss out on some amazing books! Gosh I do hope you enjoy the book I recommended to you :)

      Delete
  3. This is the third or fifth really excellent review I've seen for this book. I've already moved it out of the archive, so now I just have to make the time to actually read it. Every time I'm reminded of Lord Byron being a character, I'm plagued with a sense of urgency--Must. Read it. Now. Great review ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha I hope you do get around to it soon! I know what you mean about reshuffling that reading pile :) Lord Byron is so awesome!

      Delete
  4. This is not my usual taste but it sounds interesting, I am going to have to pick this one up. My first steampunk!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well - you loved Clockwork Angel and that was part Steampunk ;) I hope you do give this one a shot! Melanie has an awesome giveaway running on her blog at the moment *hint hint*

      Delete
  5. After reading your review, I feel like I should read this book. It sounds so good and that cover is so gorgeous - I need to own it! The second book's cover looks just as amazing! =D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha now that is what I love to hear :) I also want copies for my bookshelf! They are just beautiful <3 Hope you get to read it sometime!

      Delete
  6. I haven't read any steampunk yet, but the cover alone has me intrigued, really it's so beautiful. This one sure sounds intriguing! Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Robyn :) The cover is beautiful!

      Delete
  7. I know I'm not the only one to think this but... OMG THOSE COVERS <3 They are simple stunning and I want them in my bookshelves! :) I also have to confess I have NEVER read a steampunk book (can't remember). I tried once to read The Girl in the Steel Corset at the library, but I didn't get far into it because I moved to another city and never found the book in the new library. I'm gonna have to buy it soon.
    Anyways, this book sounds so cool! Particularly that part where the harlequin guy commits suicide, so weird and intriguing. :) Great review!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Melissa :) Ha ha yes they are gorgeous intriguing covers!! I would love to have copies on my bookshelf too <3 I am sure you will love this book!

      Delete
  8. I like the first cover so much better than the sneak peak at the second. I just got this in the mail and now I'm so excited to read it. a lover name Lord Byron ooooo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are such a lucky lady to have got it in the mail... I really like the second cover - mainly because I love fairies *tee hee*

      Delete
  9. Wow, I love the cover and the concept. I am super interested. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! So happy to hear it :) Hope you get to try it sometime!

      Delete
  10. I've seen a few reviews for this book lately and they were all very positive. I'm happy you enjoyed it, too, and I'm so curious now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Silvia :) Curiosity is always a good thing and so are positive reviews!! I would love to read the next book, so will have to make a plan to get it sometime. Lily is a great and unusual character :)

      Delete
  11. Yay! So glad you liked this one Chene. Melanie is awesome at world building. I'm looking forward to reading book 2...hopefully soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ginny :) I am looking forward to book 2 as well *excitement*

      Delete
  12. I am so glad you enjoyed this one!! I think you'll enjoy the next one too.... I am really hanging for the third book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure I will!! Hopefully I will get to it soon :) Thanks for the great recommendation Naomi :)

      Delete

~ Hearing from you makes me Happy ~
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I appreciate all comments & read every one of them. I also make sure to visit your site as well if you have one.