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Steel City Magic

Steel City Magic - Wen Spencer This review is just for [b:Tinker|47241|Tinker (Elfhome, #1)|Wen Spencer|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1326314596s/47241.jpg|1105908]; I haven't yet read the second book in this omnibus ([b:Wolf Who Rules|544237|Wolf Who Rules (Elfhome, #2)|Wen Spencer|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1389956942s/544237.jpg|1105907]).

My initial reaction to this book still stands. The main character, Tinker, is an inventor who's never really been to Earth, despite the fact that she lives in Pittsburgh. I love the idea of the dimensions and how they overlap. And for the most part, the other characters are interesting too. The plot was fast-paced and engaging the whole way through. Just when you thought something was resolved, something else crazy would happen. I also especially love the blend of magic and technology.

So I loved all those things about it. I loved the book; I read it in two days! But there were a few things that bugged me about the love interests. Part of the problem is simply that I don't like romance, but the romance wasn't as overwhelming as other books I've read.

This part is fairly early in the book, so I'm not marking it as a spoiler: Tinker isn't sure the elves at the hospice don't mean her harm. Windwolf picks her up and takes her inside, pushes her down on a table, holding her down with his hips and weight, and puts a flower in her face to knock her unconscious. And yet she doesn't seem to distrust him, while the human guy's advances freak her out (granted, his advances later are creeptacular). Still, I really hate that romance trope, where because the man "knows better" than the woman, he's allowed to just get away with physically forcing her to do things because apparently the ends justify the means. A quick explanation is all that's needed to avoid physically forcing her to do something against her will!

I enjoyed Windwolf's character in the beginning, but as the book went on, he became less and less interesting. Toward the middle, he only appeared long enough to have sexy time with the main character, and by the end his only purpose seems to be elevating Tinker to elvish royalty. Even though he's the viceroy, he doesn't actually DO anything other than act as Tinker's consort. I know, normally it's the female love interest that I'd complain about not having her own personality, but in this case, it's the male love interest who becomes more passive and is soon eclipsed by the main character.

One other thing I just remembered... I wasn't prepared for the sexual violence at the end. The beginning of the book was so carefree and lighthearted that I wasn't expecting the darkness of the other dimension. The punishment the kitsune suffered made it hard to keep reading, but I suppose it was no worse than some of the stuff you would read in other "dark fantasy" series, such as [b:The Black Jewels Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness|47953|The Black Jewels Trilogy Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness (The Black Jewels, #1-3)|Anne Bishop|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1391877659s/47953.jpg|46936].

Since the romantic arc was completed in this book (Tinker and Windwolf are married), I have high hopes that later books in the series, including Wolf Who Rules, won't suffer from these problems. Which means they'll have none of the cons of the first book, while keeping all the awesome.

I recommend this book without reservation if you like a blend of science and magic.