Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Steam (The Legends Sage #3) by Stacey Rourke Review

Hello everyone! Ethan here on this Wednesday to bring you yet another review. I'm deeply saddened to be writing this one as it makes the end to an absolutely amazing series that I've very much enjoyed. You guys have heard me raving about this already twice this week, but it just keeps getting better and better. Next up on the chopping block? Steam, the final installment in the highly acclaimed Legends Saga by award-winning author, Stacey Rourke. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

Time passes, sins forgotten.
The bodies of the victims long since rotten.

Trapped within the essence of the Headless Horseman by the guilt of slaughtering her best friend, Ireland Crane follows the father of science fiction, HG Wells, in search of freedom from the curse that binds her. Instead, she discovers even he has a hidden agenda. A dark, relentless passion to be reunited with the woman he loves has driven him to manipulate time and a murderous Horseman.

Yet heed my warning, as the Raven flies,
The Hessian will come … and you will die.

All that prevents Ireland from abandoning Wells’ twisted pursuit, or introducing him to her sword, are the undead witches haunting her. Begging for freedom from a vile succubus, the ghoulish coven leads Ireland and her crew on a journey through Salem’s sordid past. There, they learn there is more to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s history than a scarlet letter, and the secret they’ve uncovered seeks to destroy them all.

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Stacey Rourke

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013

Stacey Rourke lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant, dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head. She is currently hard at work on the continuations of this thrilling Legends Saga, as well as other literary projects.

My Thoughts:

2015 has been a rough bookish year for me. It will forever be remembered as 'the year I saw the finale to all my favorite series'. Seriously. This year I've said goodbye to no less than ten of my favorite series. How is a reader supposed to cope? Saying goodbye is always hard, but I absolutely love a great finale! As anyone who read my reviews of the first two novels in this series will remember, I have been obsessed with this series since the very first page. While I've openly admitted I'm often times not one for the classics, Stacey Rourke has renewed my faith in literature by bringing them back to life in a whole new light!

Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe? Who else could Rourke throw into the mix to end this fantastic series? How about the Father of Science Fiction and one of the most acclaimed American authors of all time? HG Wells and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Never thought you'd see those two together, did you? Each author that Rourke weaves into her saga brings something vastly different to the table. They each represent not only entirely different genres, but different points throughout modern history. Perfectly weaving the literary masterpieces of the past with the high-octane thrill of the present, Rourke truly has created a classic all her own!

When it comes to the plot of Steam, I really don't even know where to start. It's a little all over the place. In a great way though. What starts out as a laugh out loud introduction to our newest characters quickly escalated into an emotionally gripping tale of love lost and redemption. Like the previous two stories, Rourke also divides this one between the past and present. This time our past timeline follows the story of Preen and the council of Salem witches in the mid-seventeenth century. Preen plays a huge role in our story when she falls for Salem-local, John Hawthorne. Preen... Hawthorne? Made any connections yet? When Preen gives birth to a son, she has no idea that young Nathaniel will change the face of history forever. With the council of witches hunted in Salem, can Preen put together a plan to save both her coven and her family, or will her emotions cloud her judgement? Reflected against the present where present day nun, Payton has come into her own powers. Can a witch of the cloth and her companion Malachi prove to be helpful to Ireland, Noah, Ridley, and the gang as the seek to finally bring an end to the Horseman's rage? 

It's truly a lot to take in, but a literary endeavor that will certainly prove worth to any reader willing to take the chance. 

I'll come right out and say that this read wasn't as long as I was hoping for. So much is happening that we really don't get to see a whole lot of massive character development. That being said, our cast grows exponentially in this final installment so it's a whole lot more to fit onto the pages. Ridley plays a much smaller, but important role in this novel and we do see a reappearance from Rip. These two guys remained my favorite part of the series until the final pages, I'm so glad to say that Rourke definitely did them justice. When it comes to newcomers Malachi, Payton, and HG Wells, I have to saw I was really impressed. Malachi's character comes with a shocking emotional twist that I really did not see coming, while Payton had me in stitches on more than one occasion. I could have taken or left Wells for the most part, but he plays such a pivotal role in the story that I'm glad Rourke include so much of him. In a bold move of randomness, Rourke also added yet another non-human character that really added more emotional depth to this final installment. As noted in my review for Raven, Rourke's inclusion of these characters really sets the tone and pace for the story as a whole as well as providing a point of reflection for our characters. 

This final installment really reads differently than its' two predecessors. Much like the writings of the first two novels, Rourke emulates the writing styles of her reflected authors in each of the time lines. That being said, we switch from a more Nathaniel Hawthorne style of writing in the past to a science fiction/horror style of writing in the present. It's a little difficult to see through, but once you get on board, it truly is a work of art to see Rourke weave this intricate story together so delicately. 

It's really hard to speak on the setting of Steam as it changes constantly throughout the novel. I can say that I found Rourke's interpretation of historic Salem to be both of extreme interest and historically accurate, farther proving the dedication Rourke placed in ensuring this series' authenticity. It's an admirable trait in any author, but Rourke really took it to the next level with this saga. 

By the time I turned the final pages, I was struck with such a plethora of emotion: rage, distraught, peace. I was so upset to see this story come to a close, but Rourke truly ended the series in the most perfect of ways. In some sense, I really wish we'd seen a different ending, but with the inspiration and writings she has retold, I believe the ending was more than fitting. I believe that any reader will agree with that. It may not have been the complete 'happy ever after' I envisioned, but I was thoroughly impressed nonetheless. I honestly don't think I would have changed a single thing about this series. It's completed to near-perfection, a clear labor of love from Stacey Rourke. I hope that this truly isn't the end of The Legends Saga, as I would love to see a novella, short story, or even additions made to the series in any way possible (extended editions?). It's series like this that have renewed my faith in reading and authors like Rourke that make my bookish life complete. Huge kudos to you, Rourke, The Legends Saga is a timeless masterpiece all its' own.

All of this being said, it will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that I am granting Steam a near-perfect 5-star review. As sad as I am to have seen this series come to a close, I am so fortunate to have gotten the chance to devour this incredible tale. I highly recommend this series to lovers of retellings, historic fiction, the new adult genre (due to language and violence), and a little horror on the side. Bone-chilling thrills, side-splitting laughter, and heart-wrenching emotions await you at every turn, what are you waiting for? Add this incredible series to your TBR today!


See my 5-star reviews of Crane and Raven
by clicking the covers below!


Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the subject of Steam! As I mentioned before, this is such a bittersweet moment as the saga has concluded (for now). After reading this series, Rourke has found herself a lifelong fan in this reader. I cannot say enough great things! I highly recommend this read to anyone looking for their next favorite series! Keep an eye out here for more Stacey Rourke awesome coming soon! Until next time, Happy Reading!


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