Book Review: Riveted by Meljean Brook
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Annika has spent four years looking for her sister Kalla. The guilt of her exile from their hidden community on Iceland after taking the blame when Annika nearly exposed them has weighed heavily on her. She has vowed to not return home without Kalla but she may be forced to when she learns that volcanologist David Kentewess is leading an expedition close to home. David Kentewess made a promise to his mother before she died that he’d find her homeland. He hasn’t had much luck until he hears a familiar accent from a brightly clothed beauty. David knows that Annika has the information he’s been searching for but she won’t risk exposing her people again. Not even to a man whose touch she craves.
David and Annika are two unique individuals that have a difficult time fitting in. Annika is from a hidden town she can’t talk about, where outsiders would look in disgust at the all-female population for their sexual preference, prefers colorful clothing and wants to find true love. David was in a terrible accident when he was young and has a prosthetic eye, hand, both legs and scars. His two encounters with women ended horribly and has him doubting he’ll ever find someone who will love him.
They get to know one another over amusing conversations and quickly develop feelings but they don’t jump into bed right away. Instead, David and Annika take their time, while avoiding the topic of Annika’s homeland, and stoke the flame between them until it becomes all consuming. The buildup was worth every tortuous moment. Both are inexperienced and vulnerable and risk their hearts every time they’re together because David doesn’t know if Annika will decided to go back home where he can’t follow or reject him for his appearance and Annika doesn’t know where David’s work will take him. They have these walls up to protect themselves and I loved watching as they tore them down piece by piece and developed a strong relationship.
David and Annika’s journey takes them to the freezing shores of Iceland where both are thrown off their original paths and led down one with mechanical creatures and a crazed man who will let nothing get in the way of an unbelievable plan. The book really focuses on David and Annika’s relationship but I thought this story, with its interesting and despicable villain, added action and drama that worked great alongside the romance and even made it better and more intense.
As with the previous books in the series, Meljean Brook paints a vivid picture of her Steampunk world and all the intriguing people and contraptions that inhabit it. For this book, she takes us away from Europe to the other side of the Atlantic and up to Iceland. Despite all that’s happening, the first quarter of this book does move slowly as new characters and setting are laid out. Once the pace picks up, it was hard to put the book down. Annika and David are incredible and together lead a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. From start to finish, this was a real treat and one I highly recommend.