Skies of Gold by Zoe Archer
Series: The Ether Chronicles #5
Published by Avon
Published on: August 6, 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Two Lonely Hearts . . .
Kalindi MacNeil survived the devastating enemy airship attack that obliterated Liverpool, but even her engineering skills can't seem to repair her broken heart. Seeking to put her life back together, Kali retreats to a desolate, deserted island—only to discover she's not alone. Captain Fletcher Adams, an elite man/machine hybrid, a Man O' War, crashed his battle-damaged airship into the island after the destruction of Liverpool, never expecting to survive the wreck. But survive he did.
One Desire . . .
Believing he is nothing but a living weapon, Fletcher is wary of his newfound companion—a pretty, damaged, but determined young woman. Together they are stranded on the island, and it is only a matter of time until desire gets the best of them both. Soon Kali and Fletcher each find that they may be just what the other needed. But a danger from beyond the island puts them to the test. Will it rip them apart or bond their hearts forever?
Skies of Gold is the 5th installment in Zoe Archer’s The Ether Chronicles but, oddly enough, it was my first sojourn into this mesmerizing Steampunk universe. I’m sure that I would have enjoyed this book slightly more had I read all of the novels that came before it prior to tackling this one. However, it has already received 5 stars, my highest rating, so that point it moot. At first I thought that the single locale would bore me; there’s only so much two people can do on a deserted island after all! But, the slow burn romance between Kali and Fletcher was tortuously delicious and Archer’s outstanding character development transformed this story into Steampunk perfection. I will definitely be re-visiting the rest of The Ether Chronicles!
Both of this book’s protagonists begin their tale as broken shells of their former selves. Kali’s running from the bombs that took one of her legs in Liverpool and Fletcher believes that the world is better off with one less Man O’ War in it. I liked how the author focused on their friendship first before even introducing the possibility of more. Of course, the sexual tension is always there but in this couple’s case trust trumps everything, even lust. I found it quite surprising that it was Fletcher who actually resisted their attraction to each other the longest; I guess the saying is true “the bigger the man, the harder they fall”.
I immediately took a liking to Kali; it takes a lot of courage to set off on your own and doubly so with a disability. I was worried that the Steampunk aspect of this story would be less prevalent because of the setting but Kali’s constant tinkering and inventions more than made-up for the deserted island locale. I totally want one of her glow-in-the-dark crickets! I couldn’t help but drool over Fletcher from the moment Archer first painted his picture in my mind. Half man, half machine, I wanted to keep him for myself! But of course, he’s perfect for Kali. MacNeil has been through her fair share of crap as well so she understands what Emily’s rejection did to Fletcher. When they finally do the horizontal dance its explosive and the Man O’ War proves that his suped-up body is good for more than just killing stuff. Super speed and endurance anyone?
Inevitably, the real world eventually catches up to them and they are forced to leave their island paradise. Both are worried about how their relationship will fare in the “real world” and I can’t say that I blame them; although, I did enjoy their exile from seclusion because it allowed me a glimpse at the larger Ether Chronicles universe. Kali and Fletcher get their well-deserved HEA and I get four more books to add to my to-be-read pile. Skies of Gold is the ultimate deserted island fantasy book à la Steampunk. I loved it!