“Chasing the Star Garden was a captivating tale from the complex characters to the breathtaking world-building. Karsak’s writing has a flow and ease to it that allows the reader to slip into the worlds she creates. She made the steampunk elements of the tale spring to life as we flew from London to Venice. She threads mythology into the mysterious adventure of the kaleidoscope and cleverly wove our heroine’s past into the details.” – Kimba the Caffeinated Coffee Reviewer
Title: Chasing the Star Garden The Racing Airship Chronicles
Author: Melanie Karsak
Genre: Steampunk (for mature readers due to drug depiction and steamy sex scenes)
Story Setting: England, Venice, Greece, France, 1823
Published by: Clockpunk Press (January 8, 2014)
About the Author: Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania reading and hiking. She wrote her first novel, at 12 about a 1920s stage actress. Today, Melanie, a steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.
Melanie is busy working on book 2 of The Airship Racing Chronicles, Chasing the Green Fairy which release March 2014.
Contact information: Blog: melaniekarsak.blogspot.com
A Goodreads author
About The Story: The cover of the book introduces the reader to the airship used in this series. It is a combination of balloons and steam machine and propels passengers quickly through the sky from one country to another. Lily Stargazer, a beautiful woman, is an airship racer who has just lost the Airship Grand Prix of 1823. She is also an addicted opium user who is torn between the love of two people – the infamous Lord Byron and Sal, a genius inventor. Both men love and are loved by Lily, but Sal feels he can’t offer Lily the kind of life that Lord Byron can with his wealth.
Her life takes a new direction when directly after the race a harlequin fleeing from constables shoves a kaleidoscope down her pants, tells her to fly to Venice, then throws himself from her airship tower, and is killed instantly.
Lord Byron, hearing the story from Lily, tells her she should take the trip and provides her and her airship crew wonderful accommodations while there. She is soon embroiled in an ancient mystery intrigue, caught between those who would kill her to obtain the kaleidoscope and those who ask her to help them locate a very ancient statue that must be kept out of the hands of some greedy men.
My Thoughts: It took me close to 100 pages to become engaged in this story. If you experience the same as you read, don’t stop! Once I reached that point, the story started to pull together and I saw why the author wrote the story in this manner.
We learn of Lily’s childhood through flashbacks as she’s experiencing the present. With each flashback we gain better insight into what drives the lady and what is important to her. We learn about the difficulties in Lily’s life when she was young and why she haunts the opium dens at the various bars or airship towers. Even though, as a reader you don’t condone smoking opium to dull those memories which scarred her and made her think little of herself, but you understand why she hides from the pain.
Through this adventure Lily has some unusual apparitions. These apparitions change Lily for the better.
With Melanie Karsaks’ creative imagination and love of steampunk she’s created a world which fulfills any steampunk reader’s desire for adventure, love and suspense.