Another dashing adventure as Nyssa attempts to flee a false accusation of murder along with her new friend Ellis, who has his own reasons for leaving. A pair of upper-crust runaways, though, take their forged papers at gunpoint before they can get off the ground. Trouble is, when Nyssa and Ellis catch up with the would-be Romeo and Juliet after stowing away in the zeppelin, their problems only mount. The pair is hiding something, and Nyssa and Ellis aren’t alone in seeking them. Quick thinking, and their unusual talents, are all the two can count on as Nyssa and Ellis struggle to survive long enough to embark on a new life together.
The above is my version of the blurb. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll say only their fate ends up entwined with perhaps the most frustrating and self-centered couple in existence. This steampunk tale has everything you’d expect: a zeppelin and daring aerial acrobatics, an aristocrat or two caring little for those lower on the social scale, and a melodramatic edge to the runaways that defies all logic and sensibility.
Nyssa and Ellis could have fought for a legitimate life after the first book, but the risks were still there between Nyssa being framed for murder and people wanting to lay claim to Ellis’ father’s work. I am not surprised to find them planning to leave for good. It’s where things start to go bad only a few pages in that makes this a Nyssa Glass story. She has a bullseye printed on her back for all she intends to leave her past behind.
While Nyssa is much the same in this book, Ellis plays a different role, as does his handicap. I like how his limitations were not brushed aside but rather integrated into the story. In the first book, he was isolated in his father’s home. In this one, he is out in the world. We learn both how people react to him and how he interacts with strangers and those known to him.
I enjoy the main characters and find the overblown drama of the secondary characters amusing, but it’s the intricate puzzles that draw me the most. Between the two of them, Nyssa and Ellis have a remarkable set of skills. Figuring out what each situation calls for is the hard part. Nor do they always succeed, leaving me feeling the tension until I see proof of success.
The characters and story stick with me in the way only good books do, offering an entertaining steampunk romp with airships and scoundrels for the enjoyment of all.