Review: Luck be a Lady Pirate by Catherine Stein (2023)

Sass and Steam, Book 5

Heat Factor: It’s a sweet and sassy kind of steamy—not too many scenes, but you’re not left hanging.

Character Chemistry: These two are fantastically well-matched. It makes absolute sense almost immediately, even when they’re butting heads.

Plot: A pirate and a therapist fly around in an airship and take down an evil bad guy, fool around, and fall in love.

Overall: This was a sweeping, adventurous romance with heavy hints the rest of the series is worth catching.

Well, I know what steampunk is, finally. I’m probably 10 years late to this party, but I’m here, and I have to say—I am here for it. Victorian dresses and the finer things in life, mashed together with iron machines, lacy undergarments, and evil twirly mustaches? Yes, please.

This one is especially cool because it involves Yvette, the captain of an airship, who kidnaps a psychologist (Lina) because she knows where a doctor is and Yvette desperately needs that doctor to help heal one of her crewmates. The crew is entirely made up of women, and they take bubble baths and eat bonbons and use pink scented stationary and then run off and do Harrison Ford stuff. It’s magnificent. 

Yvette is an incredibly dynamic character. She’s a bit brash and can be jaw-droppingly insensitive, but she’s also soft-hearted and giving. Lina is measured and calm—kind of your quintessential therapist. She’s kind of the heartbeat of this story—whenever stuff goes down, Lina is watching, waiting, and supporting, which gives Yvette the space to go in and be calculated chaos. My favorite scene is one where Lina and Yvette are hiding in a nook in an opera house box and Yvette starts fidgeting so Lina distracts her in a very specific and steamy way—and when they’re discovered, Yvette leads Lina running and jumping from box to box in front of the entire audience. Sweet and swashbuckling. It’s really pretty funny, too—but the point is that it’s a perfect example of their relationship. Lina is the steady, and Yvette is the heady.

The general plot is that Yvette is trying to stop these evil schemers from unleashing their iron creations on the public and stirring up chaos and then swooping in to take power from them. (This is what I got from it.) I do have to say that the bigger picture isn’t quite as solidified as I might have liked in a book this adventurous—it went from small adventure to small adventure with tender moments and humor peppered in for good measure.

I know what you’re thinking–book five in a series…do I have to read the first four? I think the answer here is yes and no. I didn’t, and I thought the book was thoroughly enjoyable…but I would have had a slightly easier time following the plot and the characters if I had, I think. There are obviously some settings and secondary characters that make cameos, and I think there was some emotional shorthand I missed because I didn’t have enough time to get to know them. Also, some events were referred to and I never really fully understood what was going on there (but it’s not like it bothered me–I just carried right on). The moment-to-moment action is fantastic, but the bigger picture was just a little patchy.

I think the most important reason you might want to consider reading the other books is this: some really important villains are “offed” in this book, and if you don’t have sufficient time to get on the “hate that guy” train, their deaths aren’t really as much of a triumph…and you deserve that triumph.

So I think the best I can say about this one is this: it’s an adventurous romp with two well-matched and exciting main characters who are easy to like and root for—but if I could do it over again, I’d read the other books first (and I’d bet I’d enjoy it).

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Looking for something similar?

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Lady Pirates

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