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I Belong

Review: Scarlet Devices by Delphine Dryden

Scarlet DevicesTitle: Scarlet Devices

Author: Delphine Dryden

Genre: Steampunk Romance

Series: Steam and Seduction (Book #2)

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425265781 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425265789 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Steph



Fresh from university, Eliza Hardison is determined to crusade for workers’ rights until her cousin Dexter, the Makesmith Baron, prevails on her to represent Hardison House in the American Dominion Sky and Steam Rally.

The competition is fierce, but only one opponent really matters to Eliza. Dexter’s protégé, Matthew Pence, was always like a big brother to her. But now she’s grown up, and Matthew has made a break from Hardison House with his own business venture—and made his own entry in the rally.

Matthew intends to win while keeping Eliza safe on the perilous route from New York to San Francisco. As the threats escalate through treacherous skies and uncharted American wilds, though, Eliza and Matthew must work together, discovering a bond deeper than either could have imagined…but is winning the rally more important than winning at love?

Quick & Dirty: Eliza has always seen Matthew as a bit of an annoyance. When they both enter the Sky and Steam Rally, however, her opinion of him begins to change. When the rally takes a deadly turn, they learn they will need to rely on each other if they want to make it home alive.

Opening Sentence: The old men sitting in the front row presented Eliza Hardison with a uniform front of disapproval as she took her place at the lectern.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Eliza has always treasured her independence and views marriage as an institution that will hamper her ability to experience all that life has to offer. The annual Sky and Steam Rally is one such experience, a cross country race that is sure to be exciting. Eliza’s excitement is dampered by the presence of her cousin’s protégé, Matthew Pence, a man who has often seen himself as her protector, which has resulted in Eliza constantly being annoyed by him. Learning that her cousin has asked Matthew to watch out for her during the Rally does nothing to help her disposition.

For his part, Matthew has recently realized that his overprotective feelings toward Eliza are the result of him having feelings for her that extend beyond friendship or his desire for his mentor’s approval. The only problem is she doesn’t seem to like his presence much. The Sky and Steam Rally is just the opportunity he needs to get Eliza to see him in a different light. Will his efforts be successful? And when the race takes a deadly turn, will they both be able to make it back home in one piece?

Before starting this book, I was worried that I’d feel lost, as I hadn’t read book one, and steampunk novels can sometimes be confusing if you pick up in the middle. Luckily, while I did have some confusion about how the geography of the world worked, it ended up having no bearing on how much I enjoyed the story. This book was just fun from start to finish, with not one boring segment to be found. I even found myself looking forward to my son’s 1am wakings because it meant I could read more. Well, that could be a slight exaggeration, but my enjoyment of the book certainly helped me stay awake!

Eliza and Matthew are just brilliant together, whether it be at the beginning of the novel when they’re bickering back and forth, or later on, when their feelings toward each other have changed and their romance has started. This is the first time I find myself saying that a book’s love scenes are charming. That’s really the only word I can think of to describe them. I had a smile on my face the entire time. There’s humor to be found in the book  as well, and I often found myself laughing out loud. The characters truly come to life and have wonderful personality.

The one negative thing I might say is that I did find myself a little confused over the villain’s motives behind sabotaging the rally. In the end though, I was just enjoying myself too much to be really upset about it.

Overall, this book was a delightful, light, and fun read. I’ll be going back and reading the first book as soon as I can, and I’m very excited that I have book three on hand to review. Fans of steampunk and fans of romance in general should really check this series out!

Notable Scene:

“Is that very uncomfortable?” she asked Charlotte, as she watched her cousin’s wife shift in poorly-hidden irritation on the thick cushion. Eliza thought it must be horrible, as it looked like the equivalent of carrying a large medicine ball tucked under one’s rib cage. “I wonder you can breathe. It must be so unpleasant.”

Charlotte shook her head. “Not precisely. It’s…oh, how to put it? It was never explained very well to me, and now I see why. Difficult to put into words. It can be uncomfortable, but the real problem is you simply can’t put the thing down when you get tired of it. There it is, darling creature, getting bigger every day. I fully expect to adore it, but good heavens, what I wouldn’t give right now just to have a few minutes without it weighing on me. Especially in this heat. Even oxen get to shed the yoke at the end of the day.”

Eliza giggled. “Charlotte, I don’t think you’re supposed to say that. And it’s hardly hot yet. I may even go back in for a shawl.”

“You’re quite right,” Charlotte agreed. “I’m always unbearably warm these days, though. And as for what I’m supposed to say, I think I’m supposed to either tell you it’s all a miracle and I’ve never felt more like a woman, or terrify you half to death by telling you only the most gruesome bits, in the most repellent terms possible.”

“Exactly. I’m usually more inclined to believe the latter. Miracles bore me. You may proceed with the horrors whenever you’re ready.”

Steam and Seduction Series:

1. Gossamer Wing

2. Scarlet Devices

3. Gilded Lily

glitter crown


FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Scarlet Devices. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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