First I'd like to say that this is a nice cover. Almost tells the story by itself.
Red wants nothing more than Father's approval. Father is an ace airship pilot, and Red has never lived up to his standards. Red tries his best but fails while helping Father catch floating whales and battle flying sharks. That's right: space whales. He now has to prove himself when Father's squadron is assigned an actual combat mission. However, Red meets someone who changes how he feels about his world and Father.
I haven't read much steampunk fiction so I don't know how typical a story this might be, but for me, it was quirky and more fantasy-based than other stories I've read in this genre that lean more toward science fiction.
This story is more about character than setting. I say that because there were parts of the story that I wanted more explanations of (Flying sharks? How does that work?). I'm not sure if that comes from my ignorance of the genre. Yet, while we delve deep into Red's thoughts, and Roberts sets up the relationship between Father and Red, I don't think that it's completely followed through. Emotions are big and simple and a more nuanced characterization would make this good story great. It would also give the story more conflict.
Some things were confusing and I began questioning the author's intent at presenting them the way he did. Parts of the story felt like plot twists but were told in such a matter-of-fact way that I had to reread from the beginning to make sure I didn't miss something.
But, for all the nit-picking, I did enjoy the story. It hardly felt like over 8,000 words. An easy read.
Verdict: Steampunk meets love in the air. If you like the wonders of airships and flying sharks told in a simple tale of redemption and love, read this story.
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