Disclaimer: I received a free ARC via Booksprout in exchange for a fair review.
I don't normally go for fantasy or steampunk, but this was advertised as Stardust meets Pirates of the Caribbean and like...how am I supposed to say no to that, you guys? And I was absolutely not disappointed.
Lady Ainsley Listrum has always chafed against the restrictions placed on her by society. Expected to be polite, force herself into uncomfortable corsets, take up ladylike pursuits and marry well, all she longs for is an adventure.
When her father dies, she gets exactly that. Her father's dying wish was for her to find a legendary pirate rogue and, with her own life in danger, she flees her home in the hopes of finally getting some answers about who she is. She employs the service of Captain Killian Flynn to help her find Silverthorne and oh boy, do they have a rocky road—or flight path!—getting there.
I really loved the worldbuilding in Finding the Rogue; it's a wonderful mix of historical and steampunk influences, and pretty easy to get to grips with. I'm really curious about the character of Gretta, and hopeful that future books will explain a little more about how the mechanical-human fusion actually works. I also thought it was a neat detail that the pirates are registered, and there's a directory of their personal seals. It's a little different to most takes on pirates I see and I would love it if future novels included an outline of the history and politics that led to that happening.
I did find that Killian and Ainsley fell for each other very quickly. Their initial chemistry was great, don't get me wrong, but the development of deeper emotions was a little rushed for me. In particular, I felt that Ainsley's journey to falling in love with Killian didn't get quite enough page time to be fully fleshed out. However, this is entirely personal preference as insta-love has never been my thing, so other people might not have the same concerns and might even enjoy it!
The plot twists and reveals in Finding the Rogue, on the other hand, were excellent, with just the right amount of foreshadowing for them to make sense without giving the game away. I don't want to give too much away, but there's so many brilliant twists that don't ever make the story confusing or hard to follow. The end, in particular, is excellent, and the perfect set-up for book two.
Final verdict: A thrilling romp in a fantastical steampunk world, Finding the Rogue is the brilliant start to a new series. 🍯🍯🍯🍯/5 honeypots!