Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Steam Guardians #2

A Captain and a Corset

Rate this book
There’s Trouble in the Skies…

For Sophia Stevenson, there’s no going back to the life she knew. She never asked for the powers that make her a precious commodity to the secret society of Illuminists—and their archenemies.

Captain Bion Donkova would give anything to possess the powers that have fallen in Sophia’s lap. If only the beautiful, infuriating woman could stay out of trouble, he wouldn’t have to keep coming to her rescue…

Bion and Sophia have friction to spare—and nothing fuels a forbidden passion better than danger…

384 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mary Wine

65 books793 followers
Mary Wine has written over twenty novels that take her readers from the pages of history to the far reaches of space. Recent winner of a 2008 EPPIE Award for erotic western romance, her book LET ME LOVE YOU was quoted “Not to be missed…” by Lora Leigh, New York Times best-selling author.

When she’s not abusing a laptop, she spends time with her sewing machines…all of them! Making historical garments is her second passion. From corsets and knickers to court dresses of Elizabeth I, the most expensive clothes she owns are hundreds of years out of date. She’s also an active student of martial arts, having earned the rank of second degree black belt.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
40 (17%)
4 stars
66 (29%)
3 stars
73 (32%)
2 stars
28 (12%)
1 star
16 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews
Profile Image for Marlene.
2,882 reviews196 followers
August 24, 2013
Originally published at Book Lovers Inc.

I liked A Captain and a Corset a whole lot better than the first book in the series, A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious. Admittedly, that’s a damn low bar to get over.

The characters in Captain were way more interesting than in Curious. Whatever we might think of all the Victorian rules regarding female behavior, having the heroine be a woman who believed in those rules and had been jerked out of her place against her will made Sophia Stevenson more interesting, especially since one of the rules of the Illuminist society she had perforce become part of at the end of Curious was that she couldn’t contact her father for a year! Unlike the heroine of Curious, Sophia’s father was a genuinely nice man, and a widower who both loved and depended on Sophia. She missed him and felt terrible that he had to think she was dead. Topping off this horrible situation, he lived across the bloody street!!!!

Sophia does obey the rules laid out for her. She may not like or agree with them, but she does participate in what she’s supposed to do (unlike the heroine of Curious). Sophia gets kidnapped by the bad guys from her very own room while under guard.

Again, we do learn more about the evil dudes. The Helikeians are basically Slytherins, if you’ll pardon the Harry Potter cross-over reference. They believe that only the pure-blooded should be in charge. Everyone else should be ground under their aristocratic boot heels. And they despise the Illuminists because the Illuminists have this terribly egalitarian streak and accept anyone of talent. Of course, that same egalitarian streak is what makes Victorian society in general reject the Illuminists.

Then we have our hero, Bion Donkova. He’s a bit of an enigma, but in a good way. Seemingly the tall, dark and dangerous type, but he’s kind of a lone wolf. What makes him interesting is that we see that he’s raised himself up through the Illuminist ranks by talent and willpower. He definitely started with nothing and has never forgotten it.

He and Sophia strike sparks from each other from the minute they meet in A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious, and the dynamic between them is one that is guaranteed to cause friction. Sophia accidentally received the talent that Bion has waited all of his life for. She absorbed the power of an exploding crystal rootball and has become an airship navigator. Her old life is over, but she can’t go back, her eyes have permanently changed. She may not appreciate what’s happened to her but she’s stuck.

And Bion Donkova has made himself her trainer. Sophia can’t tell whether he’s so hard on her because that’s how much he resents her, or whether he’s just always that mean.

Then she gets kidnapped by sky pirates, and Sophia discovers that Bion didn’t prepare her nearly well enough. But when he gets himself shanghaied in order to rescue her, she realizes what all those sparks between them really meant. And she doesn’t resist any more.

The best thing is that in this story, they rescue each other. Unfortunately it takes them a couple of tries to get it right!

Verdict: If you enjoy steampunk, A Captain and A Corset is much more fun than A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious, and I don’t think you need to read that one first. I kind of hope you don’t.

Sophia and Bion were better rounded characters than the hero and heroine in the first book. In this story, they kept making assumptions about each other, and were constantly surprised by how wrong they both were. They grew towards each other, especially as Sophia let go of her Victorian restrictions.

Bion assumes that because Sophia is a “lady” that she can’t take care of herself. Sophia assumes that because Bion is cold to her that he doesn’t like her, and that he doesn’t have any manners at all. They learn a LOT about each other when they are forced to rely only on each other. And that’s when the romance in this steampunk romance really builds up a head of steam!

I give A Captain and A Corset by Mary Wine 4 crystal stars!
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
783 reviews167 followers
May 7, 2013
I really like steampunk romances, so I was really excited to give Mary Wine a try; unfortunately this one was not for me. The steampunk stuff was cool, but the romance had everything I dislike in romances and elements that you generally hear levied at romance as a genre.

A Captain and a Corset is the second in Wine’s Steam Guardian’s series. I should mention that I have not read the first in the series, so in some respects I felt a little lost. I think reading the first one would have impacted how I saw the romance aspects, as Bion and Sophia seemed to have a per-existing relationship that started in book 1. In this one, Captain Bion Donkova is training Sophia Stevenson to become a navigator. Sophia was thrown into the Steam Guardian life because of an accident that enhanced the sensitivity of her eyes, making her a valuable asset to the Steam Guardian. When Sophia is kidnapped for her abilities, Bion follows in hopes of rescuing her.

What I didn’t like about this book is the relationship between the characters. I never really got the impression that Bion actually cared about Sophia. Yes, readers get his perspective, but I never really thought he expressed that he cared about Sophie, he seemed flat and cold, not to mention overbearing, and then told Sophia he was disregarding her feelings to toughen her up. In a training exercise he pushed her so far that she ended up giving her nightmares. To me this does not scream lifelong soul mate. Had Bion recognized what he had done AND tried to make it up to her, I could have gotten behind the romance, but all he did was recognize what he did and claim that it was strengthening her. I just didn’t like it and I found it was demeaning that Sophia still wanted Bion despite that – in my opinion, this type of behaviour is what non-readers of the romance genre aim their criticisms.

What I did like about the novel was how the author explored Sophia’s culture shock into a whole knew way of thinking. Sophia was a gently bread young lady and she’s suddenly thrust into a new society where she is treated and respected just as a man. I liked that Wine explored how foreign this would be to Sophia and I liked that Sophia did embrace some independence towards the end.

Overall, this wasn’t my favourite book, but fans of the series will most likely enjoy this one. I think readers need to be prepared for the style of romance this is and I don’t think it will be for everyone.
Profile Image for Wendy.
Author 3 books19 followers
November 28, 2017

I finished this more out of masochistic curiosity than anything else, I think. Considering the Illuminists are supposed to be forward thinking in terms of gender the heroes of both this and the previous book are very alpha, possessive men. Especially in this one, where Sophia didn't choose to enter the order, she was forced to because of circumstances in the first book. So, mocking her tendency toward Victorian society's priorities on how a woman should behave seems a little cruel. There is a lot of action in this one, but still a lot of mooning over each other in private, especially on Sophia's part, but she is an active participant in getting them out of sticky situations. I am really not sure what to think about these books. Part of me just says ick and part of me was intrigued.

Addendum: I forgot to mention that the trainers have keys to the trainees rooms, and that they use them in the night. Talk about a position of power—a dressed man who’s a teacher entering the room, unasked, of a female student in a nightdress?
Profile Image for Catherine.
951 reviews28 followers
October 18, 2017
The quote: "I promise you, Sophia, I consider you my prize and like any self-respecting private, I intend to keep you secure." - Bion Donkova

Sophia and Bion are an adorable couple, she is perfectly fiesty (as I expect from steampunk) and he is wonderfully rougish. I quite like the lore surrounding the steampunk, it's a bit different from what I've read before.
The supporting cast are individual, Decima and Lykos are charming. Jordan is perfectly unlikable.

I read this without reading A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious first, it is doable the two books possibly make more sense read in order, you'll know who the characters are, their backgrounds but enough of it is explained that it isn't necessary to read them in order.
Also, it does feel like there could have been another book in this series. There are definitely some loose ends not tied up.
Profile Image for Ashley.
62 reviews1 follower
April 14, 2020
Almost a DNF, but I was skimming a lot by the end. Enemies to lovers is not one of my favorite tropes, and in this book I didn't really get why they hated each other and never really got when they loved each other, so the execution failed at both ends on a trope I don't like. It also was the second in a series and you would have tracked the plot fine if you weren't skimming as much as I was, but I was a little confused sometimes (my own fault, I acknowledge) but I didn't care too much about trying to fix that.
2,611 reviews3 followers
February 5, 2017
Wine has built an interesting steampunk world, and I'm sorry that the series doesn't seem to be continuing. This one had airships, pirates, Roma groups, a Russian prince, steam technology and more.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,341 reviews2 followers
June 25, 2019
Welp, did not like this one anymore than the first one!
Profile Image for Romancing the Book.
4,420 reviews212 followers
October 29, 2013
Reviewed by Allison
Book provided by NetGalley
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book.

Review: My first foray into Steampunk with A Captain and a Corset, and I think I’m hooked. I very much enjoyed Mary Wine’s look at life in a Steampunk world.

Sophia Stevenson was turned into a “Navigator” without even knowing what it was, or having heard of the Illuminists, when a Root Ball crystal exploded and gave her special vision. Now a Novice in the secret society, she is in training, and her trainer is infuriating, cocky, arrogant, bossy… and quite deliciously handsome. While she balks at his training at every turn, she can’t help but be drawn to him.

Captain Bion Donkova is drawn to the beautiful Sophia, and it’s his job to push her to not just become a Navigator, but to learn how to protect herself. Because if she falls into enemy hands and there’s no hope of rescue, he has to do the one thing he doesn’t want to: kill her, rather than let the Helikeians get their hands on her and her special skills.

Sophia’s undeniable attraction to Bion eventually wears her down, and she can’t resist him. Especially after she is kidnapped and sold into virtual slavery aboard a pirate airship. Bion lets himself be captured in order to rescue her, and their hot affair begins. Sophia takes matter into her own hands at a crucial moment, and gives Bion what he wants the most: she activates a Root Ball crystal so he is now a Navigator as well. At the same time, she enacts a daring escape, and hurls them, along with a prisoner and a parachute, over the side of the airship.

But their short taste of freedom does not last long, and they are hunted down and imprisoned. On one hand, I admired Sophia for her tenacity, bravery, and spirit. At times, I thought she should have listened to Bion. He is duty bound to protect his trainee, and having been a captain, he knows what he’s doing.

I like the principles in this book: women who are part of the Illuminist society don’t have the constraints that women in Victorian society do. So while Sophia could enjoy certain freedoms, she was drilled to be a lady in every way, so many of those freedoms are unheard of for her.

This novel is told from several points of view: about 6 main characters POV, with a few very minor characters POV. It got a little confusing at times figuring out who we were switching to, but all in all, it’s a very well-told story. A couple of times the author restated something already stated, which could have been annoying, but I was able to get past it. I read it in one sitting, and for me to do that, means it’s riveting! I want to go back and read the novel before this one, as well as future books from Mary Wine.
Profile Image for Lorie.
54 reviews2 followers
June 5, 2013
A Captain and a Corset takes place just after the end of A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious. Sophia Stevenson has been exposed to a Deep Earth Crystal Root Ball and has endowed her with the ability to see gates that will allow an airship to shortcut across the globe. This makes her a very valuable person to both the Illuminists and to the Helikeians. First she must be trained how to use her powers and is put in the hands of the very handsome though rough around the edges Bion Donkova. The attraction between the two is almost immediate, though they are in denial about it. Sophia is kidnapped by Grainger who is a very ambitious Helikean and she is taken to an airship to become their navigator. Bion devises a plan to rescue Sophia and finally gets to the airship she is being held on. When she asks how they are going to get off the airship Bion says he had not really thought that far ahead. The adventures that they encounter take them from the airship to a caravan of Roma gypsies. They are hidden among the gypsies and their love begins to take shape. They have to keep moving hoping to find an Illuminists Solitary Chamber. Through out all of this they are being looked for by both the Helikeians and Illuminist Hunters Decima and Lykos (who have to have a story coming). Information is bought and sold for any information that will lead them to Sophia and Bion. There are some very interesting characters that want to get their hands on the navigator and her companion, who has had something happen to him that makes him just as important to capture.

I have enjoyed getting to follow these characters and their world. If you want to go on an adventure that will feel like a swashbuckler/pirate story with a twist I think you will really enjoy this book. I recommend this book A Captain and a Corset and the book before A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious. Loads of adventure, lust and Hot Lovin!!!
Profile Image for Katie_la_geek.
822 reviews109 followers
June 25, 2013
For this review and more visit my blog

I am a fan of the first book in The Steam Guardians series so I was really looking forward to reading A Captain and a Corset. For the most part I enjoyed it but in my opinion it was not on par with A Lady can Never be too Curious.

The writing was good I like Wine’s take on Steampunk for some readers who like the genre there will not be enough of the element featured here but it was just right for me as I sometimes find the genre a little overwhelming. I thought the world building was good and I loved the action/adventure side of it.

There were times where I felt this moved a little too slowly, and I also thought there was far too many POV’s which caused me to lose interest occasionally but for the most part it was enjoyable.

The characters were ok, they were nearly loveable but had a few annoying traits. Bion was a stereotypical romantic hero but he could be a little too presumptuous and pushy to the point where he annoyed me. Sophia was also annoying at first but she got better as the story progressed. I liked her fiery nature but do think she could have stood up to Bion on more occasions.

There was a ton of chemistry between the characters which I enjoyed in the beginning but all in all I felt that there is a little too much sex.

A Captain and A Corset is not as good as the first book in the series but it was still an enjoyable read and I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series.

The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Quiana.
50 reviews5 followers
June 21, 2013
We’re introduced to Sophia Stevenson whose recent accident has left her with a unique ability. As a result of this ability, a secret order known as the Illuminists become interested in her. The Illuminists invite Sophia into their world and partner her with airship captain Bion Donkova. Bion is responsible for Sophia’s navigator training. From the start there’s an instant physical attraction, but other than their attraction, the two don’t get along. When Sophia is kidnapped by a member of the Helikeians, Bion does everything in his power to get her back.

There were a couple of things I liked about this book, but I had quite a few issues with it as well. What I liked about this book, besides the world building, was the way the author explored Sophia’s feelings about the differences that existed between a Victorian society and an Illuminists’ society. In a nutshell, in Victorian society women were looked upon as inferior to men, but Illuminists looked upon men and women as equals. Therefore, as a member of the Illuminists, Sophia had the freedom to make choices for herself. It was rewarding to see Sophia’s progression into a self-reliant woman over the course of the story.

Read More Here
Profile Image for My Book Addiction and More MBA.
1,958 reviews63 followers
June 17, 2013
A CAPTAIN AND A CORSET by Mary Wine is an interesting Steampunk. #2 in the "Steam Guardians",but can be read as a stand alone. See, "A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious". If you enjoy Steampunk, historical,futuristic,fast paced and passion packed,than you want to pick up "A Captain and a Corset". Follow, Sophia Stevenson and Captain Bion Donkova on a journey of not only discovery,mystery, flight,but also of love,forbidden passion, with a secret society of Illuminists and archenemies thrown in the mix. Trouble is brewing in the spies and it is not all from enemies but from within. A unique tale that encompasses not only historical and things to come but it also has danger. And did I mention the chemistry between Captain Bion and Sophia is off the charts. The story will grab you and want let go. You will be drumming your fingers for the next installment. A must read for not only Steampunk readers,but for historical fans as well,not counting romance readers. Received for an honest review from the publisher.
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,779 reviews45 followers
May 22, 2014
Excellent follow up to A Lady Can Never Be a Too Curious.

I liked Sophia & Bion in the first book and enjoyed reading their story.

I thought Sophia really come into her own in this book. She stopped feeling sorry for herself, stepped out of her comfort zone and became Bion's equal. I was impressed!

And Bion, what can I say? Mary Wine really knows how to make you fall in love with her heroes!! He is smart, sexy, strong and loyal to his duty. And it doesn't hurt that he knows how to keep a girl happy - very happy!

As always, Ms Wine doesn't scrimp on the love scenes - I am still fanning myself! They are hot without being pornographic or overwhelming the story.

My only complaint with this book is the cliffhanger ending with Lykos and Decima - there is no mention of what happened with them or a preview of their story. Those two have been circling each other since the first book and I am dying to know when they are getting a book!!

I would recommend reading the first book before reading this one - it will really help you understand the order and Sophia.
Profile Image for Anna.
463 reviews28 followers
May 27, 2013
I love this book! I'm not sure why, but I stopped looking for steampunk titles a while back. I assume I read a bad one, but I can't recall. This has renewed my faith in the steampunk romance. The characters were incredible and fun and well-developed. The plot was not driven sheerly by the romance. I zipped right through it in a day. This one's for anyone who enjoyed Steamed by Katie MacAlister or pretty much any well-written steampunk.
Profile Image for Riley.
865 reviews56 followers
August 13, 2016
Captain and a Corset is a non-stop adventure filled with intrigue, romance, and all sorts of bad guys, heroes and, of course, heroines. I liked this even better than A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious, the first book in this series. The characters were more interesting and we learn more of the Illuminists and the Helikeians. There is more steampunk 'tech' and an new evil enemy is introduced. I'll be looking forward to the next Steam Guardians book!
Profile Image for Christine.
38 reviews1 follower
May 26, 2013
I like the battle of wits between the Illuminist and the Helikeians. I also like the fact that illuminist females are on equal footing with their male counterparts though they may not always think so. I felt the book was well written as I envisioned the characters in this story. This is the second book in the series or trilogy, not sure which, and I like it enough to purchase the first book.
Profile Image for Anne.
2,604 reviews31 followers
May 7, 2014
This was just "ok." I liked the first book better. There was a lot of time where nothing was really happening, so I was skimming through to find the action. Then the set up for book 3, took a bit of a chunk. All in all, it was partly enjoyable, partly just ok.
Profile Image for Kristi.
400 reviews17 followers
November 25, 2013
The second book in this series is much better than the first. I still gave it three stars, but probably would have given it 3.5 if I could have.

The heroine in this story sometimes rescues the hero, and she is bold and brave. She doesn't
Profile Image for Tina.
1,094 reviews2 followers
June 29, 2016
Paranormal steampunk regency historical fantasy. Take your pick, there are elements of each genre within this book. But the characters are likable, the plot interesting, and the overall feel of the story works although I would've preferred more steampunk and less fantasy.
88 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2013
A disappointing second in the series, I did not find the dynamics between the hero and heroine the least bit compelling.
Profile Image for Becky.
364 reviews32 followers
September 11, 2013
This was a fun book to read. I recently got into the steampunk genre and this is a great one. I liked the characters and a strong female lead. Look forward to more of her books.
Profile Image for Alana.
812 reviews1 follower
January 6, 2014
even better than the first!! a lot more action and a more concise story. can't wait for the next story. please tell me there is a next one?!
89 reviews
February 25, 2014
I enjoyed this one much more that the first in the series! It has a great "cliff hanger" ending that makes you anxious for the next in the series as well.
Profile Image for Cecilia Rodriguez.
3,421 reviews34 followers
April 5, 2014
Do not pick up this book if you believe your are getting a Steampunk romance. Story is already in progress at the first chapter and is very boring.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
165 reviews2 followers
April 21, 2014

I love these books! I can not seem to read them fast enough! Such an amazing series I look forward to the next book!!!
Profile Image for Clarke.
1,314 reviews17 followers
January 6, 2016
3.2 Stars. Public Library 1/4/15. If you liked this first book you'll like this one. It keeps to the same theme.

I skimmed to the end but maybe I'll really read this later....
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.