Lady Marguerite Vadnay and her trusty automaton, Outil, have settled into life in New France rather well. Marguerite is top of the class at flight school and her future as an aerpilot is nearly secure. She has everything she wants— except a commission on the pirate hunting dirigible The Renegade. Using every card in her aristocratic arsenal, Marguerite wiggles her way onto the finest warship France has to offer. But as usual, Marguerite’s plans endanger the lives of those she holds dear— only this time no one else is going to save them. As Marguerite and Outil set off on a rescue mission they may not return from, she finally realizes it’s time to reorder her cogs.
This steampunk adventure is littered with facts from The Golden Age of Piracy and follows (not too closely) some of the lives and adventures of the brave men and women who sailed the seas as privateers, pirates and soldiers.
***Disclosure: I was provided a free copy in exchange for a review.***
What’s Good: the historical references that helped shape the series gets woven more into the fabric of the story. The locales are expanded into the New French (Canadian) wilderness and the southern coastlands of America, if only briefly.
Outil, her personal robot servant, remains the best character in the series, by dint of having to put up with Marguerite’s antics and actually showing some growth of her own.
The action is over the top, like watching a 50’s swashbuckling movie, and a little hard to follow at times, but you can roll with it.
Catching up with Claude and his new wife gave Marguerite a much-needed dose of reality. The reality of their struggles on the frontier hit her hard; a refreshing change from the playpen the author made the world seem to be so far. Too bad it didn’t really stick.
What’s Bad: Marguerite continues to indulge in her bratty, entitled, self-centered behaviour to the point where she literally endangers everyone and everything around her. After a year of flight school- with apparently little to no socialization with her fellow students- she’s learned much of nothing. After the first book and a few rounds of ‘…but, I was only trying to help, etc’ in this one, you’d think she’d have gotten the point.
She’s also a bit of a flirt. During yet another misadventure, she encounters a group of Iroquois men who help her locate her friend, Claude. She basically treats them as man candy, making eyes with one of their leaders as her lady parts get all tingly, and even gets to play dress up when she’s given some native clothes to wear- because she’s so pretty. Maybe the author was trying to show diversity or Marguerite becoming more of a woman- it doesn’t accomplish anything but making you dislike her almost to the point of putting the book down.
Jacques, her love interest, gets a little more depth added to him, but not much. Still reminds me of Cary Grant suffering through his lady love’s antics because… well, love.
The plot, like Marguerite herself, often indulges in flights of fancy. There’s a twist that goes right to the core of the storyline but gets handled almost as an afterthought- even the parties involved treat it like ‘and then this happened’, which severely lessened its impact.
What’s Left: more of the same from the first book, maybe even lighter in tone despite being the middle book and having to do all the heavy lifting to set up the finale. Needs to show more of the world and what it means to live in it instead just a backdrop for all the toys and a sandbox for rich people to play in.