Ivey Thornton is a strong-willed girl, struggling to find her purpose in the world of Aether. Having come of age, Ivey grudgingly agrees to travel to the estate of the reclusive young inventor, Miles Fenchurche, to see if they can find happiness in a proper marriage. Ivey plans to sabotage her engagement so she can follow in her father's footsteps, but she's not the only one to board the airship Monarch with a devious agenda. Upon discovering that she is destined to either save Aether or send it spiraling into oblivion, Ivey finally looks to Miles for help, and their relationship takes an unexpected turn.
Cheryl Ammeter grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa and currently lives in Pacifica, CA with her brilliant husband, her gifted children, and two backyard tuxedo cats that came with the house. She is best known as an award-winning scriptwriter for seven seasons of the globally acclaimed children’s program, Barney & Friends. At Radio Disney, she wrote and performed in a wide variety of Disney features including Generation Girl Theatre, a series of Barbie® books she adapted into radio plays for Mattel and Golden Books. After years of adhering to production budgets and schedules, her larger-than-life imagination has finally been set free in the world of sci-fi paranormal romance. Ivey and the Airship is the first in five book series called Aether’s Edge. Cheryl is currently at work on book two, Masters of Misfortune.
I picked this book up without any knowledge of what I was in for. Scanning the back of the book for clues about the content, I grew excited. I have never read a steampunk sci-fi novel before! Having been a long time appreciator of the style and never a participator of the subculture (yet), I was interested to see what this book had to offer.
Adventure. And lots of it.
But I must warn you, this is a very girly book. It appeals to the kind of girls who like to read stories about young women rebelling against the ideals society place on them.
I'm guilty of a little bit of that rebellion myself. But everything in moderation, right? ;)
The book starts off literally just like the picture above. The main heroine, Ivey, is being arranged to marry a Mr. Miles Fenchurche, heir to the massive and stinking wealthy Fenchurche Industries. Some pretty extreme measures are taken that result in interesting little misadventures, one involving the heroine falling out of a tree and nearly dying as she attempted to escape her own engagement party.
As fate would have it, Mr. Miles turns out to be a decent person. Actually, he turns out to be a good man. He seems to become smitten with Ivey's adventurous streak, but is bound to always rescue her out of trouble (mostly caused by her own stubbornness) right in the nick of time. Does he get rewarded for his championship? Unfortunately no. Ivey usually starts a tirade about how she can take care of herself and she doesn't need a man and so on and so forth. It's moments like these, where the character fails to be humbled by her own mistakes that really get under my skin. If I were Miles, meaning if I were had less patience and forgiveness that this love interest has, I would simply stop rescuing her. Let's see how well our heroine can save herself when she's falling 10,000 feet from a dirigible. A bit harsh, but a character needs to learn a lesson or two in order for the audience to believe in her. Nevertheless, I am wandering too far from the story and focusing too much on the Mary-Sue-ness of the heroine, which will hopefully dissipate some as the story continues in her next novel.
The story itself was an action packed trip. Ms. Ammeter does a fantastic job detailing the world so that it is almost tangible. The fact that Steampunk is more of a visual style than it is most other things, made it a challenge for the literary format. I can easily say that Ms. Ammeter was successful in mastering the english language to paint a picture. Still, I would love to see this novel turned into a graphic novel. Regardless of its format, I thoroughly enjoyed the world in which Ms. Ammeter spins her story. Victorian in society, sci-fi in technology, and paranormal in enemies, this novel is genre-bending and I loved it.
This book seems to have been intended for a younger audience, and I am always a fan of young adult fiction. I suppose if I had a daughter around 8th or 9th grade, I would let her read this long before I let her read twilight. At least Ivey contributed in some ways and wasn't a totally void of strength of character like...other characters I have read. Still, I would have liked to see a little more development in Ivey's character. At least as much as was shown in Mile's character who went from passive momma's boy to a man of his own through the course of the novel. I would recommend this book to others and I am interested in what Ms. Ammeter is going to write next.
I liked this book...just not as much as I hoped I would. All the elements of a good steampunk story are there: intriguing alternative science, a brave heroine, an admirable hero, fun sidekicks.... So what went wrong?
One thing that seems to be missing in the plot mix is a clear villain. There are various problems to be solved, which at least keep the plot moving. But the book is half over before we get a shadowy glimpse of the real bad guys and the barest hint at what is driving the overall plot. (And since this is the first book in a series, the information we do get is ultimately limited.)
Another problem is that the characters' dream-visions eventually become just as confusing (if not more so) for the reader as for the characters. What is really happening and what isn't? Often it's hard to tell.
But the most frustrating aspect of the story (for me) was that Ivey, in spite of NOT inherently being a Mary-Sue, tries really, really hard to be one. Most the men around her appear incompetent (unless it's momentarily necessary for them to be otherwise), and ONLY Ivey can save the day. Maybe I would have enjoyed that kind of fantasizing when I was a kid, but as an adult, I couldn't help rolling my eyes a little.
And yet...I enjoyed reading this. I would read the next book, just to see what's going on with this planet and its weird science and its shadowy villain(s).
I really enjoyed this story. It was imaginative and engaging, and the characters were well drawn. The world that Cheryl Ammeter creates is three-dimensional and memorable. I also appreciated her style of storytelling. It was just antiquated enough to give a strong sense of the steampunk genre without alienating this modern reader.
There were a few minor distractions to the storytelling. The first three chapters were heavy with backstory that could have been handled with less exposition. There was also a problem with “head-hopping”, or telling the story from multiple characters’ points of view at the same time without a section break. Ultimately neither of those glitches prevented me from enjoying the action. The other anomaly, in my opinion, was that the story reached its natural ending about 4/5ths of the way through. Everything that followed to the end of the book felt more like the beginning of the second book in the series than the end of the first one. All very good stuff and it kept me reading, but it had the feel of a new beginning instead of a climax and end.
Overall though, I liked it a lot! I’m very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
"Ivey and the Airship" is a book that I will cherish for many years to come. Steampunk, a genre and concept completely new to me, is Victorian sensibilities meets science fiction, as I understand it. Young Ivey lives in a gorgeously described world called Aether, and things are very prim and proper as Victorian times would dictate. Ivey is, well, a bit of an anomaly. She's feisty, curious and assertive, not at all what we expect from the genteel ladies. And that's what makes her so easy to fall in love with. Sent on the airship Monarch to get to know her potential fiance better, mysterious and supernatural things happen to Ivey and the ship's passengers.
I enjoyed this book so much that I've sent five copies to Canada, to nieces and to friends. If you enjoyed the Harry Potter series, I'm almost certain you will love Ivey and the Airship. If you love really well written fiction, you won't be disappointed.
I'm a book snob. I want well written literature filled with curiosity, adventure and characters I care about. Cheryl Ammeter is a gifted writer, and I cannot wait for the subsequent tales of Ivey and the world of Aether.
What are you waiting for? Go order it! Now! Really!
The book is a wonderful read and story. The story of how I came to the book is just as much fun as the book. Walking our neighborhood one Sunday we went into an Open House for sale and meet another couple from the neighborhood; looking to sell our respective homes. After introductions we toured our respective homes and Cheryl Ammeter autographed and gave me a copy of her book! What a way to meet your neighbors ;-)
Steampunk as a genre was new to me. I focused on it's being fantasy. I'm ok with fantasy but it doesn't top my list. I did always enjoy the TV show the Wild Wild West ... Steampunk before the name ;-) All this to say, initially I wasn't thinking this would be especially my kind of book ... boy was I wrong!
It is a wonderful read. Good characters. Fast moving story/plot. I smashed through reading it in 2.5 days. Stayed up till all hours of the night reading the two nights. When I finished it also struck me that there was some similarity with Dune which has been a favorite book of mine.
The author may claim to not intentionally write steampunk, but she does a good job of hitting all the cool steampunk tropes. We have airships! Aether! Adventuring! And even a female protagonist. There may be a bit more magic/spirituality in this book than in the normal technocentric steampunk novels, but everything is given that fictional science coating of explanation.
I liked that no one really fell into their roles completely without complaint. There was always another layer or history to a character. That said, much of the book and the characters did fall into stereotypes and tropes that made the plot semi-predictable. The protective father. The reluctant and brilliant love interest. Even the over protective mother in law. But sometimes familiarity and predictability are comforting and enjoyable. That is the case here. This book was enjoyable and fun. Steampunk is one of my favorite genres to idly read, and this fit the bill. The plot was a bit convoluted. The characters fit stereotypes a bit too well. But it was a fun read.
The premise of the book is very charming and interesting. I really wanted to like this book and persisted through the early chapters in hopes the plot would be rewarding enough to overlook the Mary Sue styled characters and simple writing style.
I used to try to finish all the books I start, but now I have become a bit of a pretentious reader and keeping me reading depends a lot on the quality of writing. The writing in this book reminded me of a novelist in their infancy stages - where you have descriptions of eye colors, the heroine is voluptuous but different, unbelievable caricature characters and use of unnecessary heavy vocabulary. These things can work well at times, but I did not feel sold in this book.
The book will definitely appeal to some readers, if they can overlook/are not too concerned with the writing.
I was lucky enough to get a signed original print to read as a gift from the author. It took me a while to finally get to read it, family obligations and such, but once I did, I found that I literally couldn't put it down. I hid it on my lap at work so my boss wouldn't see me reading while I should have been working. The characters were real and enthralling. Just enough sci-fi, just a touch of romance and Cheryl has just the perfect touch with dialogue. I really loved it. But the funniest part was that after I finished it, I found I would periodically grab it off the shelf to reread my favorite parts when I needed a pick-me-up. Thanks you Cheryl for such a wonderful gift. I am honored to have been a part, no matter how small, in the promotion of this beautiful book. Ready for more!
The world of Aether is filled with wondrous (even dangerous) characters. Ivey became my instant heroine and with every page I couldn't help but cheer her on. It's hard for me not to connect with a character I see so much of myself in, but the great thing about Ivey is that everyone will love her personality and courage. The story itself draws you in and it refuses let you go, I read it from the time it was put in my hands until three am the next morning, hanging on every one of Cheryl's written word. The author herself is delightful and witty, I've never met someone I felt so connected to immediately. Overall I know anyone who loves adventure with a little bit of a love story added in will be addicted just as I was.
This is a wonderful book that engages the reader. It is written with beautiful descriptions and imaginative details that take you to new and special places-- and I wish such an airship existed! Each character has a unique voice, and the story takes unexpected turns. It is filled with adventure, which is brought on by the strong and spunky main character, Ivey, a girl with great self-esteem and big dreams. This is a book that appeals to boys, girls, as well as adults. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, to see what happens to Ivey next!
I enjoyed the imaginative premise of this novel, though I found the writing somewhat stilted and clunky. Ms. Ammeter clearly has boundless creativity and the skill to weave a complex and engaging story, though I felt that language and character nuance took a backseat to advancing from plot point to plot point.