The Grande Dame of Angst delivers something unexpected in this out of the ordinary novel. Most folks know Amy as the talented author of contemporary angsty wonderful gay romances, peopled with characters that you fall in love with and suffer right along with them when they get put through the wringer, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Well we have that here, but it's the setting that's so different - if I were categorise this book, I would call it a romantic steampunky superhero sci-fi novel. The cover sort of screams traditional steampunk, but it's more than that. It's like steampunk set on Victorian Aldebaron with superheroes.
One of the many things that Amy writes well is the creation of a family - sometimes it's a family of outcasts, sometimes a family of necessity, sometimes a family of circumstance but always a family of love, protection, acceptance and always of hope. Even in the darkest of hours - and believe me, Amy delivers on those - even in the darkest hours, there is always a tiny glimmer of hope.
The two main characters, Dorjan and Taern have their fair share of tragedy and then some in their pasts and indeed in their present as well, but they find each other. Despite everything, including themselves, they find each other. They are lovely and I wept of both happiness and sadness for them and their love story unfolded. Then there is Areau, Dori's best friend and close to the most damaged character that I think Amy has ever written. (At least that I have read). I ended up loving him the best, I think. And then Krissa and Mrs. Wrinkles and Madame M... such WONDERFUL secondary characters. And the baddies... so bad and nasty and weak, driven by greed and a lust for power.
Amy has given us a tale frought with sadness and danger, but also imbued it with love and hope and trust. The world-building is not intense but it works as the foundation for the story it serves. The creations of Nyx and then Cricket were so much the Batman and Robin growing into Nightwing, of my mind and since I have been an UBER fan of Robin/NIghtwing/Dick Grayson from the age of 8 or 9 (that's back in 1964 kids!) it delighted me no end.
I love this book with all the love I feel for the Promise series and Clear Water and while it may have small imperfections to the genre purists out there, it's a 5-star read for me. :)