Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Under Her Brass Corset by Brenda Williamson

Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: February 27, 2012
ISBN: 9781426893292

This review was interesting to write, and I must say, truthfully, that I really did enjoy the novel, but there were just some parts I feel as though I couldn't help but shake by head on. Overall though, it was an enjoyable read.
I encountered this novel on NetGalley and was very excited to start reading it right away. This story seems to have it all: romance, adventure, steampunk, paranormal, I mean how could I go wrong when so many of my favorite romance sub-genres were included in the story. Oddly, enough, despite how much I enjoy steampunk, I haven't read too many stories in this sub-genre, and this particular novel, though categorized as steampunk, fell a little flat on that front in my opinion.
From the blurb:  Since the loss of her father, Abigail Thatch's life has been in turmoil. Her social status is in shambles, her finances depleted, and she's on the verge of losing her beloved home. But everything changes when she meets the dashing flying machine captain, Jasper Blackthorn. Not only does he introduce her to a world she though only existed in myth and legend, he awakens sensual feelings deep within her...
Jasper may be immortal, but he hasn't truly lived in years. Having secretly watched over Abigail as  favor to her notorious grandfather, he can't resist arranging a "chance" meeting with the beauty. But he has an ulterior motive: to retrieve the mystical Crystal Compass hidden in her house before it falls into the wrong hands. He never imagines he'll be tempted to love again...
When Abigail learns the truth, she and Jasper embark on a journey that will change both of their lives and possibly the world...
Abigail fell a a little short on the heroine front for me, particularly with how easily she gives in to Jasper even though she truly believes he is lying to her during the course of well, almost the entire story. She believes he is with her only for the Crystal Compass and that he is lying to her about his immortality and about, well, almost everything else for that matter which kind of got annoying to me. I mean, why would a woman with a strong mind such as her, willingly concede to the hero sexually over and over again when she believes he is constantly lying to her? It baffled me really. But she's been alone for a while now, with her father gone, her mother gone, her fiancé gone and despite her belief that Jasper is always lying to her, she truly believes that he does at least care for her, and this for me, is what allowed me to continue reading on despite Abigail's wishy-washy ways.
Jasper is well...yummy, to say the least. An immortal and just over four hundred years old, he's had adventure after adventure in his life, including finding one of the Springs of Avalon, and has befriended many, including Abigail's grandfather, Blackbeard. However, after a tragedy he had been unable to stop one hundred and fifty years ago, he did his best not to befriend too many mortals. That is until, he met Abigail's father, and in turn met Abigail. I liked Jasper a lot. I liked that he tells Abigail the truth about everything, (even though she refuses to believe him) and I love how much he really cares about and loves Abigail.  And what a clever man he is to have spent his life creating steam powered inventions including his ship, which can also fly. One of the things I love about the steampunk genre are all the cool contraptions that go into making the world come alive.
Speaking of steampunk, the story lacked a lot of description other than the flying machine and one or two other contraptions for me to really feel that this was an actual steampunk romance, the world itself appeared normal aside from the flying machine, so normal in fact, that despite the style of dress, and the mention of the civil war having ended some time ago, and the fact that Juan Ponce De Leon is four hundred years old, I didn't feel as though we were in the past. The dialogue for the most part as well as the setting, in my opinion, could just as easily have taken place in a contemporary setting and as such I had a hard time pinning down what time period this took place in.
The love scenes were great, aside from a few comments in terms of the authors word choices which did at times, pull me out of the story. The chemistry between Jasper and Abigail was through the roof. And I loved Abigail's little encounter with Jasper's jacuzzi tub. Also, I have no problem with the mention of birth control in a love scene, but when the author does so like this:
"The next time she'd prepare herself with a sponge dipped in vinegar and inserted into her vagina."
I have a problem. This was a little much for me, a little too detailed, not to mention, right in the middle of a love scene. The author's word choices during the love scenes were causes for some head shakes and giggles on my part, I say the love scenes are hot because they are, but I had to insert my own words for female parts etc. to help with it as some of the common phrases the author uses come out funny or scientific. IE: vagina, penis, and nether lips. At one point, she even describes the oral sex as :"Relentless, he persisted in torturing the hard bud harboring a million nerves." To me, this sounds as though Abigail is not enjoying the sexual relationship, but rather hates it. However, her actions speak otherwise.
The dialogue is fun and witty and rather than me describing it I'll post a small tidbit that I particularly enjoyed in which they are deciding which bunks they can each sleep on.
“You can have the bottom.” He smiled.
The mischievousness twinkle in his eyes offered a new chance. Quickly accessing the situation, she said, “I’d prefer on top.”
“On t-top?” The words sputtered from his lips.
To hide her smile, she turned her back to him and pretended to access the condition of the upper bunk.
“Is that a problem?” She stroked the wrinkles from the coverlet.
“Not at all. You’ll find I can be very accommodating. Although I would think you’d prefer lying on the bottom. It doesn’t require as much effort.” He tapped the rungs of the ladder as if suggesting he meant climbing to the upper level.
The little game of innuendoes fascinated Abigail, encouraging her to continue to play along. “Maybe so, but I’m young and agile. I don’t think I’ll have regrets getting on top or dismounting. The workout helps keep me fit.”
“And I appreciate your endeavors.” He tilted his head to the side and looked her up and down as if assessing her shape. “Some women aren’t as aggressive.”
“Some women aren’t me, Captain. I’m aware of all the benefits to my position on top.”

I never really understood the purpose of Jasper wearing an eye patch when they first meet, or the purpose of the brass corset aside from the fact that Abigail found it and enjoyed wearing it and Jasper enjoyed taking it off of her. And it felt like some things were just thrown in for the heck of it without any real purpose such as the troll, the sorcerer trapped in an animal's body, etc. These things didn't seem to serve a purpose at all.

At the beginning of this review when I said it was an interesting one to write, I wasn't lying, despite all these mixed feelings I seem to have, the story was light hearted, enjoyable and an easy read and I will definitely be looking forward to another of Brenda Williamson's titles. 

My grade: 3/5 lattes

All my best,

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