This steampunk flavored adventure is set in an alternate history of America where the colonists did NOT win the revolution. The fight is still alive with hidden pockets of freedom fighters forming a Resistance. The Resistance hides their children hoping to keep them safe in a network of caves or Catacombs, until they reach an age to join the adults in the fight against the Empire. While on a mission outside the Catacombs, Charlotte helps a strange boy escape capture. He has amnesia, so Charlotte sees little choice but to bring him back with her. He is nicknamed Grave because of his pale, deathly coloring. A mission is devised to head to the Floating City, right into the heart of the Empire. They take Grave along hoping to discover his origin. This is when a love triangle begins and alliances are furthered.
Obviously the intent is a series but book one is all world building and no real plot. I found myself drifting and forced to keep going to get to the plot. Never happened. Setting up a love triangle, setting up a disaster, setting up a revolution, etc. The gadgets are interesting, the characters have their quirks, the idea is there but the background explanation of this alternate history doesn’t happen until a quarter of the way into the book. I sure wanted that info much earlier. However, now that everything is in place and given the cliff hanger ending, the next book should provide much more.
eGalley review Publication date 4.22.14