In all honesty, this could have been an exceptional book. The world was there, it had so much potential to be developed. If it had just been steampunk, it wouldn't have needed to be explained but when you add in post apocalyptic and sci-fi genres, the world NEEDED to be explained. Since it wasn't, it left me so confused I felt like I was swimming in a lake of cut off descriptions and when pieced together made just about no sense. The blurb makes the world sound so interesting and mysterious but in the book it's just frustrating because it is less interesting and way more mysterious and in some cases, the blurb is more informative than the book is. None of my questions were answered (and I had A LOT of them). Something would happen in the book and I'd ask 'why?' but there was never any explanation given. Here's some of the questions I had: What exactly does Asher do? Does he work for the city? Does he work for a secret group? He said he's a mercenary but he also said he guarded the water tanks when they were sent to other places. What does that mean? How did he lose his arm? Which arm did he lose? It's never actually said which arm is brass so it's never verified. What exactly does the Apparatus do? Who controls it? Who are the Tamers? Why are they so important? Do they control the City? Why do they want to keep rain from falling? What was the whole point of the bomb? Why were they trying to blow up The Apparatus? What would have happened after it was blown up? All I have is assumptions to answer these questions and even those assumptions are vague at best. Then there's the questions I have about what happens next with Gabriel and Asher? Do they stay together? They obviously care about each other but are they going to become a couple? Go their separate ways never to hear from each other again?
To be completely honest, this felt like a book that is maybe the fourth or fifth in a series. You know, when you are so deep in a series it's automatically assumed you know what is going on and what the world is about? That's exactly how this is because there were vague descriptions of the world, what has happened and what certain things are for. It's the kind of description that just brushes you up on information you might have forgotten instead of informing you on information you have not yet received, if that makes any sense at all.
Others might feel differently than I do but I started this book off thoroughly confused. I was jumped from one scene to another without any indication I was in a new scene or explained what exactly was happening. So it was difficult to follow along with the story especially since, as I've said, the world is not explained. There is barely any world-building at all which takes away the enjoyment of the story, in my eyes. I honestly think my confusion wouldn't be so prominent if Samhain Publishing actually used something to state when a scene breaks instead of just using spaces. The reason I say this is because I bought this from Fictionwise and I don't know what they do but when a scene breaks and there's nothing to indicate it did besides spaces, FW compresses the file or something so it seems the scene just runs on. It's very confusing. Here's an example of the many, many, many scenes that ran on because there was no indication the scene ended: "I suspect she's not the only one who likes me," Gabriel murmured, reaching down to trace light fingers over the edge of Asher's jaw. Asher's chest sort of ached at the gesture, and he didn't mind.
"I think not," he said, just a little breathless, and pulled Gabriel down in a soft kiss.
"I will be off, then. You are most welcome to come, if you'd like." Gabriel rested a hand on the doorframe. He was already wrapped in his red cloak, and his eyes gleamed dimly in the faint morning light. - I'm assuming the scene ended after the 'soft kiss' because Gabriel goes from laying on Asher to standing at the door but I don't know for sure. I had to read the paragraph twice before I realized a new scene started. Aside from the the scarce world-building and the inability to determine a new scene, there was too many 'pretty' words. The only thing these 'flowery' words, as some have called it, ended up doing was confusing me even more since half the time they were used incorrectly. It left me flabbergasted and I had to reread sentences a few times wondering how a certain description was possible when the words describing it seem to contradict each other.
With that said, I did enjoy the story a little bit. I was confused beyond any person should be confused and I have more questions left over than you'd find on a final exam but I did enjoy the book. I liked Asher and Gabriel even if they pissed me off a time or two. I DID NOT like how when Asher gets worried about Gabriel, Gabriel starts a fight with him and then shacks up with the guy who thoroughly pisses Asher off. It pissed ME off because then Asher takes a woman and all of a sudden Gabriel is pissed at him? Like what the fuck? I don't understand them or their feelings but I loved Gabriel's joyous, easy smile and humorous attitude while enjoying Asher's more severe, slightly possessive and jealous manners. Smexing description ---->There are only two sex scenes in this book and the first scene was so cold and impersonal. There was no feelings in it besides satiating their blood lust so it was just down, dirty and rough. The second scene had feelings but it was of the jealous and possessive kind and still rough. I mean, I enjoyed that but others might not.
Overall, I honestly can't rec a book that made my head spin with confusion. I'm sorry :-/