Steampunk can be a tricky business, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm persnickety about what I like. For the most part, I seem to gravitate to darker versions of the genre, Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas
or Lilith Saintcrow’s Bannon & Clare
. Gail Carringer’s Parasol Protectorate
series is the only one of the lighter, more overtly comical series that I made it through (and that can be contributed to how often I laughed out loud).
HER SKY COWBOY has glimmers of goodness, and I made it about 100 pages in before giving up. I like Amelia once she was on board with Tuck and his crew. I was a little disappointed that the only overt manifestation of her mechanical skill was whacking things with a wrench, but I presume she’s get a chance to dazzle later on in the book. The supporting characters were interesting, if not particularly deep. And underneath the flowery period jargon, both Amelia and Tuck seemed like they’d develop into real, relateable characters.
My sticking point with HER SKY COWBOY was the world building. Freaks and Flatliners and Peace Rebels, Ciotta took an interesting concept and just about rammed it down my throat. I was already struggling to adjust to the Victorian-flavored dialog, having to comb through dense paragraphs of politics and factions brought the narrative grinding to a halt. Rather than absorbing the world organically, I felt like I was cramming for a test that was coming too soon (every time Ciotta changed to the villain’s POV, I felt like I was scrambling to apply all that I had learned so I could give a damn about his plots).
Too much too soon, HER SKY COWBOY never got off the ground for me.