Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak

Chasing the Star Garden:
The Airship Racing Chronicles (Volume 1)

by Melanie Karsak

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-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a steampunk romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.

It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily's life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What's a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium.

Lily's lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.

Published by Clockpunk Press November 14, 2013


My Thoughts
First, let me say that I have been in love with the cover of Chasing the Star Garden since it was revealed. It is a true work of art. Then, I fell head over heals - AGAIN - when I began reading it. The reason? Because I realized that the cover art is just a sampling of the overall beauty of the novel.
"When my mother dumped me at the orphanage before they hauled her off to debtors' prison, she left me with a bouquet of lilies. She hoped it would make the nuns like me. From then on, they called me Lily."
Lily Stargazer is sort of an anti-hero with her absinthe and opium addictions, not to mention having multiple lovers. But, at the same time, she is so beautiful, rebellious, and tough that I found it impossible not to love her as much as her lovers and friends love her. Even with a broken and dysfunctional past, she is determined to be strong. 
"Would my life only consist of an endless string of lovers? Why was I so unable to allow myself to really connect with anyone?"
We discover why Lily is feeling not quite whole through perfectly-timed and well executed memories, and I found myself wanting to throw my arms around Lily and comfort her.
"It is one thing to be a lover and another thing to be loved."
With a beautiful historical London backdrop filled with amazing things like harlequins, quaint tearooms, dim opium dens, terrifying airship pirates, and awe-inspiring airship racers, Chasing the Star Garden is filled with action and adventure, loads of mystery, romance and sex, and of course, alcohol and drugs!

Chasing the Star Garden is a work of art, and I am very much looking forward to reading as many books as Melanie Karsak wishes to write in the series, be it three, four ... or even ten!
About Melanie Karsak
Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there wasn't much to do but read books and go for hikes. Apparently, rambling around in the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, Melanie now lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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