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Chasing the Star Garden

(The Airship Racing Chronicles #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  860 ratings  ·  191 reviews
An opium-addicted beauty. An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile. An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.

Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-coloured waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover
Paperback, 325 pages
Published December 4th 2013 by Clockpunk Press (first published November 14th 2013)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  860 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
My mission to read novels outside of my usual "comfort zone" continues, this time with a steampunk-lite/romance/adventure flair. If I'm being completely honest, I actually can't remember how I stumbled across Chasing the Star Garden, but I definitely came away pleasantly surprised after finishing it. I just feel bad that it took me so LONG to actually finish it, which really is no fault of the novel or the author. Life just gets busy, and I can't always indulge in literary escapism.

But finish i
The steampunk adventure books that I have enjoyed in the past seem to fall into certain categories. There are the ones with fantastic world building and characters that I was emotionally invested in (like The Iron Duke and The Greyfriar), and the ones that are quirky and just plain fun (Soulless and The Friday Society), and then there’s the special ones that are all of those things (The Emperor's Edge series).

This book falls in zero of those categories.

The potential of this story kinda pisses m
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Listed under science fiction/steampunk and romance is this wonderful adventure/mystery/romance.

It is about Lily. Lily is a beauty. The book starts out as she is racing the British airship with her crew. She is full of adventure, lovers, opium addicted, and she has a calling. To be the best at airship racing. But in the meantime, she finds herself after a race with a man dressed up as a harlequin fleeing from constables who shoves a kaleidoscope down her pants and tells her to fly to Venice, the
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Hah! Lily is such a mess, my dear reader! She drinks too much absinthe, smokes way too much opium and doesn't know what to do with her love life. At the same time she is refreshing as hell, and I can't help but have a weakness for flawed heroines like her (Cherry from Karina Cooper's steampunk series comes to mind, and I'm not even mentioning Chess from Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane).

Her love life is also spicy. She's got freaking Lord Byron himself as her friend and caring lover (slight
☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer)
The first in the Airship Racing Chronicles, Chasing the Star Garden, is a steampunk fantasy featuring an opium eating heroine and an ancient treasure linked to the Greek Gods. Mini review: A thrilling adventure that is imaginative, and enthralling.

We meet Lily Stargazer and her airship team as they fly over London in an epic race against other airships during the last leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. Sadly, they take second place, but on the platform a strange man fleeing the police runs up t
A steampunk tale with an opium-eating airship racer female lead who gets embroiled in an ancient Greek mystery while banging both Lord Byron and a handsome tinker?

Sign me up!

Unfortunately, this story turned out to be composed of awkwardly placed flashbacks with the imminent threat of rape in EVERY SINGLE ONE, moments that were supposed to be sexy but were instead awkward and cringe-y, and an unbearably unlikable heroine.

Also, what was that lame-ass ending?
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Happy release day!

Did you read the synopsis up there? Good, because it sums up this book to a tee. There’s nothing more I can add without potentially giving away too much. Buckle your seat belts and prepare for the ride of your life. Chasing the Star Garden begins with drama, action and mystery that gripped me and never let go.

I had the privilege of beta reading this book for Melanie and I’ve been holding in my thoughts for quite some time now. Too long, in fact. It’s not been an easy task. Now,
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rating 4.5 / 5 stars

Chasing the Star Garden surprised me. It is not what I expected - not that I really knew what to expect!

Characters: 4 / 5
Melanie creates interesting and unusual characters. The story starts off with Lily and her crew racing in the Airship Grand Prix. After the race a man dressed as a harlequin delivers Lily a message, and then commits suicide by jumping off the side of the ship - What a way to start a story.

Lily - Lily is an unusual heroine. I like her and absolutely love her
This is probably more of a 2.5 but I decided to round down because I just wasn't really feeling it. There's a decent enough 'follow the clues and find the ancient artifact' plot but it's squeezed in between our heroine worrying about whether she should be with Lord Byron or this other dude she likes, awkward sex scenes for me to skim, and flashbacks that almost all include either attempted sexual assault or outright rape. There's nothing necessarily wrong with any of those things but I try to av ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-and-sf
A beautifully written story set in Karsak's steampunk fairytale universe - fast paced and action packed. I love how the character develops though I'm surprised she hasn't managed to catch some funky disease yet. ...more
Nov 17, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 rtc

I really like Sal! So sweet
Pauline Creeden
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lily Stargazer is an unforgettable anti-heroine. She was an orphan with a troubled past that has made her tough and talented, but has left her drowning in drug addiction and debauchery to ease her pain. But when a silent Harlequin stuffs an object down her pants and leaps to his death, it sets in motion an adventure that will make Lily face the ghosts of her past in order to see the love that has been waiting at her fingertips.

Her story takes us on a tour of Europe and the Mediterranean by way o
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I’ll tell you what… Chasing the Star Garden is a thrilling ride!! The best way for me to describe it is that it is a mix between the movies National Treasure and Indiana Jones, but in this particular story we travel by hot air-balloon ships.

The story is told from Lily’s POV and she is a character that I really enjoyed reading about!! She has lived through a lot of hard times but appears to be doing ok for herself. On this journey we discover how deep her hurt goes and come to realise how strong
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If it’s at all possible to believe, I wouldn’t change a single thing about this book (except maybe that there was MORE). It’s so rare to find a book that fits my mood exactly, but this book was my idea of perfection, and I can’t wait for the series to continue!

Lily Stargazer is not your typical protagonist. She is an opium eater, absinthe drinker, tomboy airship pilot, all within a historical London steampunk setting. Her childhood is revealed slowly throughout the book, one piece of the puzzle
Tanja (Tanychy)
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

This was one of those books I kept seeing around and every time the cover really blew me away. So you can only imagine my happiness when this book appeared free on Amazon. I grabbed it right away and jumped into this world.

I cannot say that at the start this book seemed like something that at the end I'd enjoy much. It started off with a heroine who wasn't someone to be admired. Even though she was an admirable airship racer still she lived a life with many
Nov 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Our book club chose this book based on the back-cover description, and I've never felt so disappointed.

I understand that the story takes places in some kind of alternate, fantastical, steam-punky present/future, but even science-fiction has worlds crafted based on logic. One example springs to mind (of many, many instances where I said "What?!") was when a ship emerges from the Mediterranean (A SALTWATER BODY) and apparently it is made of COPPER. You know, the same copper that will turn green an
Nikki the Sapphired Book Dragon AKA NixieNut
I liked this book more than I expected. In many ways it reminded me of Gail Carriger's Prudence series with the mix of steam punk and an ancient type mystery. I also quite liked that the main character was quite flawed and not perfect at everything. It made her come across as quite real and even though she didn't always make great decisions, I quite enjoyed reading her story.

There were lots of quirky characters in this story which was fun and the story itself flowed keeping my interest all the w
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Adventure, romance and Greek myth. What more can one ask for.
Absolute Fantastic read.
Megan BG
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks-i-own
I enjoyed it! Some of the parts were a little too graphic for my taste (considering I mostly read this at work and at the gym - so in public), but there weren't very many of those parts. I will probably check out the next one in the series. ...more
Nicole M. Hewitt
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review and many others can be found on my blog - Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Chasing the Star Garden is an amazing book that will keep you thinking about it for months to come! I honestly wasn't sure what to expect with this book - I haven't read a ton of steampunk and an opium-addicted heroine could work well or it could be a disaster for me (I have a hard time with unlikable main characters). But that gorgeous cover kept calling to me - I mean, I want to frame it on my wall, it's so gorgeo
Katelyn (Lost as Alice, Mad as the Hatter)
What to say about this book...this book that was so very disappointing!? It seemed to have it all: mystery, airships, adventure, foreign locales, a heroine with a past who does not get whiny about it, romance, and POTENTIAL. Goodness but this book practicall screamed potential.

In reality this is the book equivalent of walking into a room really needing something but then completely blanking on why you went in there so you end doing or getting a dozen other things that are unnecessary instead.

N.E. White
Review first published on

Chasing the Star Garden, book one of The Airship Racing Chronicles, by Melanie Karsak is a steampunk fantasy about Lily Stargazer, a drug addict and airship pilot extraordinaire.

The book begins in the middle of a race. Lily and her crew are sailing through the sky above London, hot on the heels of her racing nemesis, an obviously better pilot than she because he wins and she doesn’t. Lily does come in second place, which isn’t half bad, but before she can c
Melissa Hayden
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This story feels like a love story at it's core. A love of ones self and finding that the past does not define who they are now. Then, when they accept themselves they find love with another. Beautiful story and meaning mixed with a surrounding I love, clockworks, airships, adventure and fighting.

*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Lily comes in second
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
ABR's original Chasing the Star Garden audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

What if you were the best at what you do and and not use to coming in second place. Ever. Well, it is 1823, and that is how Champion Starship Racer Lily Stargazer has had the worst day of her life. She has never lost a race, never. Now some crazy man comes to her out of no where and shoves an item down the front of her pants. Tells her to find the secret. What object? The he jumps to his de
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Chasing the Star Garden is the first book in Melanie Karsak’s steampunk series, The Airship Racing Chronicles. I highly recommend this book for mature readers 18 and older, who love’s adventure & amazing characters in the books they read. I knew the minute I saw the beautiful cover, I had to read Chasing the Star Garden. I am so glad I did, this book is amazing. The inside of Chasing the Star Garden, is just as beautiful as the outside. Chasing the Star Garden is so fun to read; it has it all my ...more
Staci Hart
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love fantasy, steampunk, history, and adventure, and this book delivered!

Lily is our antihero, an opium addict who's running from her past, racing airships with a lover in every port, where every opium den knows her name. When she's forced into a mysterious situation involving a relic of Aphrodite (FANGIRL FLAIL), she goes on a quest to find the relic and deliver it to safety. ADVENTURE, PEOPLE. Ancient temples, hidden texts, puzzles and just flat out cleverness abound. This is my Indiana Jone
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ebook, steam-punk
This was a fantastic steam punk adventure. It had a bit of an Indiana Jones feel - only he would be a female air ship racer instead of an archaeologist. I loved the history that was mixed into the storyline of the gods and goddesses and their mythical followings. As Lily searches for an ancient artifact, the steam punk world comes to life in all its glory. The tech was everywhere - from the clothing, the vehicles, and even the street vendors. I loved how it was such a feature in the story and no ...more
Madalyn Ayer
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I loved Lily, the heroine; I felt emotionally invested in her story and I'm excited to see where it goes. If you're looking for a strong female protagonist, adventure (I mean, who doesn't love airship races and treasure hunts?!), and a love story all rolled into one--then this book is for you! ...more
Feb 20, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, steampunk, ya, free
7 March 2015: $0.00 FREE on Kindle
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great AUDIOBOOK narrated by yours truly! :)
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New York Times and USA Today best-selling historical fantasy author Melanie Karsak is the author of the Celtic Blood series, Steampunk Red Riding Hood, Steampunk Fairy Tales, the Road to Valhalla Series, and other works of fantasy and fiction. The author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children.

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Other books in the series

The Airship Racing Chronicles (3 books)
  • Chasing the Green Fairy (The Airship Racing Chronicles, #2)
  • Chasing the Fog (The Airship Racing Chronicles, #3)

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