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Publisher's Summary

An opium-addicted beauty. An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile. An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.
Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes listeners on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a steampunk romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.
It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily's life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What's a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: Drink absinthe and smoke opium.
Lily's lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.
©2013 Clockpunk Press (P)2014 Clockpunk Press
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By westcliffe_babs on 10-31-14

Great steampunk adventure

Chasing the Star Garden is in the top 10 percent of audiobooks I’ve read. The complex cast of characters, the fragile yet resourceful Lilly Stargazer, airship pilot, and the mysterious quest across Europe for an ancient mystical statue combine for a compelling story. The narrator did an outstanding job of bringing this story to life.

Chasing the Star Garden has many characters from different nations and stations: English, Scottish, French, Greek, Italian, working men and women, privileged and titled lords. If I had read the book, all of those characters would have had my voice. Libby Clearfield skillfully moved from one character and accent to another quickly without hesitation and with clarity of speech. The variety and accuracy of the accents was amazing and definitely enriched the experience. Humor, sadness, concern, frustration, love and excitement were expressed by her tone of voice for each character as appropriate. I particularly appreciated her ability to voice realistic male characters with different accents without making them sound like a woman trying to imitate a man’s voice.

I was initially concerned about reading this story, based upon warnings of abuse, sex and drug use in another review. While it is present, the abuse is presented in flashbacks, without excessive detail, but is necessary to the character and story development. The sex and drug use is in current time, but much less graphic than many historical romance novels and not an issue.

The unveiling of Lilly Stargazer’s background and emotional development, through flashbacks, gradually helps the reader understand her complex, driven nature and why she gets into trouble. Fortunately, her own skills and friends, like Lord Byron, help her evade disaster time and again. Lilly has not shared all of her secrets by the end of the novel and has more air races to win. I want her to succeed in her quests for love and success.

Melanie Karsak has created a believable steampunk universe with interesting characters, adventures and thrilling airship races. I look forward to the next novel in the series and hope that Libby Clearfield will return as Lilly Stargazer.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Felisha on 05-04-15

Falling to Freedom

Sometimes we have to fall hard on our faces before we are ready to get back up. Lilly Stargazer does just that in this epic steampunk fantasy and notable tale. This novel is not your typical hero must struggle against the evil of the world but undoubtedly will triumph in the end, it's a tale about the broken and unwanted seeking truth and finding it in the most unlikely of places.

Let's be honest, this novel depicts some of the raw, and unseemly parts of life: the protagonist, or rather anti-heroine, is a drug addict and sex is the only way she knows how to express and receive love, but her heart is searching for the right and the truth revealed in her journey is what makes it all with it in the end; isn't that why we share stories? To acknowledge the communal journey we all go through at some point in life, some people's struggle is just harder and Lily's struggle is one worth reading.

The narration by Libby Clearfield was truly enjoyable. The energy and life she brought to each of the characters was exquisite. Her tempo, timing, and numerous dialects was spot on.

I would recommend this novel.

This audiobook was given in exchange for an honest review.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By cheka on 02-07-17

Absolutely terrible accents!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A better reader. She was trying to pull off an English accent and it was not working at all.

How could the performance have been better?

The woman reading is absolutely awful at doing accents. She has a terribly fake English accent and as a result made the whole book unbearable.

Any additional comments?

The story would have been good if only the reader wasn't so terrible . The pitches in her voice were all wrong and she made the main character seem intolerable

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5 out of 5 stars
By Ryan on 02-12-16

warmed my clockwork heart

excellent characters, romance, sex, adventure, mythology and narration. Well written enjoyed every steampunk second.

A beautiful world had me whisked away, and the romance and sex was passionate but something your grandmother could listen too. the mixture of Greek and roman mythology with a steampunk settings and machinery made this novel for me nothing overly complicated and with it being 6 hours a good easy listen.

I hope Melanie continues this series.

and libby's beautiful voice had me tingling with every sentence.

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