A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.
Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date—after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.
In a desperate attempt to find Malette—the witch who cursed her—Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett’s private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she’s traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.
Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla’s death-like sleep becomes permanent.
I really need to read more steampunk! What little I’ve read (the first in Scott Westerfeld’s
Leviathan series–why haven’t I read further? no idea, since I really liked it–and both of Jess Fink’s erotic graphic novels is about it, I think) I’ve really liked, so I have no excuse. I kept hearing good things about this book–I think it showed up on at least three different romance books out right now that you must read lists–plus, it’s a Sleeping Beauty retelling–so I felt I had to give it a try. I’m so glad I did!
Overall this was very cleverly done. I liked trying to catch all of the subtle (or not so subtle, as the case may be) ways that the author gave homage to the original story, and the steampunk element added to the fun. Isla and Daniel were strong characters–and thank goodness the author managed to tell us almost right away how to say the heroine’s name (“Eye-luh”–no need to wait until book four!) even though I kept wanting to pronounce it incorrectly in my head (my brain kept wanting to change it to a weird version of Elsa for some reason) I also kept correcting myself (also in my head) and mostly had it down by the end.
The romance here is very slow moving, which is fine (they share a few kisses, which were really beautifully written) but it ultimately did result in a “big misunderstanding”-type of relationship problem, which is really my only complaint–it’s one of those everyone-can-see-it-but-them types of conflicts that has everyone but the hero and heroine rolling their eyes. But it all ends well, and Ms. Allen did a great job of tying things up nicely at the end, which I enjoyed.
My first book from her, but definitely not my last!
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.