Kaysana Onomi is the Captain of the airship, Art of War. She’s on a mission to save the world though she isn’t exactly sure how she’s to do that. Thousands of people have become infected with a virus that turns them into zombies; zombies who kill and eat their neighbors. Before the mindless killing starts is a period of mindless sex. Lust will strike so hard and fast that all rules go out the window. To help with this mission, Kaysana has a group of frankenstruct mercenaries. The government hopes that frankenstructs will be immune to this virus called Zombie F plague.
Sten is the leader of the frankenstructs. He’s the last one of his kind due to their developers learning that the double muscled frankenstructs also had problems with rage. Sten was lucky when he was taught Zen to control his rage. His control is unshakable which has kept him alive.
As the Art of War gets closer to where the plague is being released from, it infects the crews. It quickly spread causing uncontrollable lust in almost everyone. Kaysana is caught by one of her Lieutenants and most of the frankenstruct mercenaries. They strip her as she struggles to escape. Sten hates the thought but he has to see if there is anyone else not affected, like the rest of the frankenstructs. What he finds is a couple of women pilots and the Head Librarian, Emily Winterborne unaffected. He quickly tells them to leave and continues on. When he locates the frankenstructs helping to sexually abuse Kaysana who realizes that Kaysana is not affected and everyone else is.
Sten is able to help Kaysana escape and they take to the air in a gyrocopter. There their priorities begin to clash. Kaysana wants to continue on the mission she started. Sten wants to return to the safe zone. Kaysana worries about her crew. Sten worries about them. Kaysana makes the decision to return towards the plague when she ejects from the gyrocopter. Sten can’t let her go alone and quickly lands to follow.
What they find is zombies every where and waves of lust that they have problems controlling. In fact, they don’t always control the lust; sometimes the lust controls them. They also find Emily in trouble.
Now, the three survivors struggle to find the source of the plague and destroy it before they are killed by zombies or the cold. Will they be able to do it?
This is the second book in Cari Silverwood’s Steamwork Chronicles. You do not need to read the first book to enjoy this one. There is little to connect it to the first one except that it is placed in the same steampunk world.
The world that is created is interesting. There are frankenstructs. These are people that have cloned parts from several different people. Each has something enhanced or adjusted for a particular objective. Sten has more muscles to make him a better warrior. Emily has a frankenstruct bird which is extremely colorful. The machinery runs on steam/coal instead of gas/oil. People also have mechanical parts to replace those that are broken. This makes a different world with different cultures amd keeps it interesting and unique.
There are two and a half main characters. A half because Emily is a main character some of the time and a predominant secondary character at other times. She is an interesting character because the persona that she portrays to most of the world isn’t necessary who she really is. No one expects her to have the knowledge or skills that are needed yet she does. Kaysana has her future planned and her life planned. No where does she have any place marked for love or a relationship especially with a frankenstruct. Sten knows that people are afraid of him. He’s gotten use to this. He also knows that many people don’t like frankenstructs and see them as less than human. He, however, loves the freedom that he’s recently gained and isn’t willing to let anyone take that away from him.
This book is marketed as an erotic romance. It could be argued that instead this is an adventure story with a lot of erotic sex and a touch of romance. There are parts where the scenes remind you of Indian Jones or other adventurers. Tension is high as characters look for ways to escape or stay alive. Several times, characters get free only to find themselves in an equal or worse mess. The action never stops and neither do the zombies!
But, there is lots of sex. This plague is also called the lust plague as it almost forces people to have sex. There are several scenes that will reflect some BDSM practices but remember this is fantasy, not reality or even a facsimile of reality. The author expresses it best in her author’s note: “This book sits firmly in the fantasy genre and therefore liberties have been taken with what is considered safe, sane, and consensual BDSM protocol. Be aware that this book skirts the edge of sanity many times.”. That being said, the sex between Sten and Kaysana is more than just a quick fuck, even if that’s what they try to tell themselves.
While there is plenty of sex and adventure, there is also a romance story evolving. It’s not sweet or flowery, one minute as there are flowers in a few of the scenes, okay, it’s not sweet or coy but down and dirty as there is lots of fighting and waves of lust coming at them and around them. For a good bit of this book, the couple even has someone else along who is not involved with either of them. In spite of everything else going on, Sten and Kaysana get to know each other and find that with caring can come love. That is, if, they are willing to chance it!
I was really looking forward to this second book. The first book intrigued me and caught my interest. The few minor things I found that annoyed me in the first book were gone in this one. The characters, situations and plot were well thought out and had depth. My interest was caught and stayed caught throughout this adventure and once again left me wanting more.
Sometimes things were a bit gory but they are in a war. Sometimes things got a bit out of control but they were able to handle it. You really get to know someone when things are at their worst and these characters are no different. Their reality became yours and they became part of you.
This isn’t your normal steampunk romance but it is excellent steampunk and it is romance. It’s raw, gritty and reads more like an adventure story but it has all the elements needed for an awesome happily ever after story. It could be called many things and be classified in just as many but I’d call it one good story and classify it as a keeper.
Saving the world should be easier.
When airship captain Kaysana meets Sten, the last thing she wants to do is have mad rough sex with him while bound by ropes and clamps but fate pencils in their appointment. The lust plague strikes. From her infected crew, zombies arise.
With her ship gone, she must rely on Sten, a human clone, a man who has fought all his life to master himself. She despises his kind and detests Sten’s growing hold on her. Though he never takes no for an answer, surely it’s the plague that makes yes slip from her tongue like melted butter? Or should she blame her own traitorous heart?
Hordes of slavering zombies await them. Sten and Kaysana unlimber weapons, don goggles, and set a course for the origin of the plague. Yet their victory will be hollow if they cannot also solve the puzzle of their hearts.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and elements, exhibitionism, spanking, strong violence.