NOTE: This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!
Riveted by Meljean Brook is the third book in the Iron Seas series but none of the characters overlap from the previous books, so it could be read as a stand-alone. The world is so amazing and complex, though, that there is a lot to be gained by reading The Iron Duke, Heart of Steel, and The Kraken King, as well.
I absolutely loved this book! It is one of my favorites in the series, and is in my top five books read this year. The story focuses on Annika Fridasdotter and David Kentewess, two marvelous people who are marginalized in society for a variety of reasons. They both approach life differently than most and the friendship they form is wonderful to read. Despite everything they have had to deal with in the past (and are still dealing with in the present), they come to love and accept each other.
This is not a hot and heavy romance, it is an incredibly sweet one. (Though it does have a few steamy scenes.) The sweetness is nicely balanced out by plenty of action scenes and a hefty does of suspense. I think the reason this one resonated so deeply with me was how strongly I felt for and respected Annika and David. Despite all of their hardships they are both characters that I would love to know in real life and so it was a pleasure for me to read their stories. It takes a lot to draw a reader in to that extent!
The story also weaves a significant commentary on human rights which fits into the world perfectly.
Overall, I thought this book had the perfect balance of elements for me – characters that I genuinely liked, a believable romance, an intriguing plot with nailbiting moments, and a complex world and culture to match. I will definitely be reading this one again down the line (hopefully many, many times).