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The Inventor's Companion by Ariel Tachna
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Jan 29, 12

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bookshelves: steampunk, victorianesque, gay-romance, glbtq
Read from January 15 to 28, 2012

Discovering a gay steampunk romance elicited a squeal of glee, not unlike that of one plagued by Bieber fever - however that affliction is much more grave. Who could have thought a combination of such marvelous things could exist between the pages of one book. After several recommendations, I immediately ordered this novel, eagerly awaiting its arrival. However, this book ultimately disappointed me.

As I said, It was glorious finding a novel compiling a gay romance AND steampunk elements. It's nice to know someone took the time to craft a novel from two considerably obscure genres to the preponderance of the general public.

Tachna's world was well-configured. One could tell she took the time to craft a world where iniquity and inequality were acceptable without becoming entirely preposterous. The disparity between the castes was fascinating, but I would have liked to learn more about the political climate and any other castes that might exist. I am dubious to believe that the world could function properly with only for or five castes. The steampunnk elements of the novel were discreetly and elegantly dotted throughout, enabling anyone to read the novel without causing difficulty comprehending the world, an imperilment many steampunk novels have for first-time readers to the genre. However, some of the contraptions were moderately anachronistic, including the fan, and I had a hellaciously arduous time imagining Gabriel's flying chair.

Generally, all the characters were enjoyable. Gabriel, noble and stalwart to the end, is a character many men and women will pine over. In the beginning, I must confess, I found him slightly aggravating and too good to be true, always telling Lucio he mustn't do things Lucio truly wanted to do. Gabriel, though wanting Lucio to feel as equal as any other person, was often the cause of strife between the couple. When Lucio wanted a kiss, Gabriel refused for fear it might not be by Lucio's volition. Often, I found myself saying, "Just kiss him already, damn it! He wants it as badly as you do!" Lucio's character was much more believable to me. Callous and aloof from many years of indentured sexual service to repulsive aristocrats, he slowly allows himself to accept that Gabriel loves him for who he is and wants him as his lover. I could easily imagine this young boy hardening himself to the world, only to have this impeccable facade melt away during intimate times with Gabriel. All of the supporting characters including Cressida, Caleb, Andrew, and even Lord Stuart in the end, were unique and enjoyable as people. Cressida in particular caught my eye, a combination of elegance, wit and audacity that warmed my heart to the woman.

What truly disappointed me about this story - and do not misconstrue my meaning by this- is how shallow it was. It reminded me of many YA novels where two people fall magically and inexplicably in love but just cannot be together due to reasons beyond their control. There was no major conflict other than the fact that Gabriel and Lucio could not be together. In reality, their economical status and the political injustice were the only things keeping them apart. The story was lacking an antagonist, even though I thought Lady Merydith might fill that part for a time, to keep them separated. Perhaps if there had been just one sinister villain, the story would have compelled me to a greater degree. Don't get me wrong, many times I found myself "awing" over something that Gabriel and Lucio shared, and the explicit sex scenes were steamy and sensual, but were just not enough to meet my criteria.

There have been rumors of a second installment, featuring Cressida in a more prominent role, but considering I continuously found myself seeing how many pages remained until I was finished, I likely won't be searching for a sequel.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a sweet, romantic and angsty story about two gay men vying for their liberties and each others' affection, without much of a concrete plotline. I am quite happy, however, to find an author intrepid enough to undertake such a creative story.
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