I picked this one up because I have been pleasantly surprised by independent authors writing off-kilter steampunk before, but unfortunately this particular Victorian-era steampunk cocktail was not as much to my taste.
I am not sure why everyone seems to love Victorian-era England for their steampunk setting, but if you’ve read any other books in that setting then Celludrones will instantly be familiar to you, and indeed the Robyns appears to assume this will be the case; the steampunk aspects of this novel are omnipresent, but not described in any particular depth. We have the requisite airships and automated help, but it’s essentially window dressing to the invading demons.
The main reason that I was put off by Circumstance and Celludrones can be summed up in two words: “paranormal romance”. I’m perfectly comfortable having a bit of romance in my novels, but I have difficulty stomaching the melodramatically bipolar relationships that appear to characterize the romance genre. I had a lot of difficulty accepting the reasons the characters were giving for feeling star-crossed as legitimate, which put me off for most of the final portion of the story.
However, the writing was good, and for the most part I liked the characters, even if most of them never grew up or changed much after the first few pages. If you like romances, paranormal or otherwise, you will probably enjoy Circumstance and Celludrones a lot more than I did. For my part, though, I will stick to the world of Shelley Adina’s Magnificent Devices for my Victorian-era steampunk fix.
The plot summary contains spoilers! Show it anyway.