With her husband, Hugh Marsh, missing in the netherworld and presumed dead, Elle Chance loses herself in the task at hand: piloting the airship Water Lily on commissions across the globe. But as it turns out, her beloved is very much alive—the once-powerful warlock reduced to a wraith. When Water Lily is threatened by pirates, Elle will have to channel all her power as the Oracle—the keeper of the barrier between the two Realms—to try to save what she loves most. As the dark forces of Shadow converge around her, Elle must find a way to breach the curse that binds Marsh. But once released, will Marsh return to her—or is their love destined to die so that he can live?
Eleanor Chance Marsh, aka Lady Greychester, has tried to find a way of bringing her husband back from the Netherworld from which he was cursed to spend eternity as a Wraith. After 18 months of suffering from the loss of Hugh Marsh, Elle has distanced herself from everyone in her life. In the meantime, her reputation has grown as the pilot who is willing to take on the most dangerous and difficult cargoes filled with rare artifacts that are often times fraught with danger.
She has become more aloof with her own life and doesn't much care if something were to happen to her. Just when Elle's plans of finding a cure for Marsh are looking up thanks to a startling discovery, a band of sky pirates, led by Captain Logan Dashwood, attacks her dirigible the Water Lily, and forces a major change in plans. Dashwood has a whole lot of reasons for seeking revenge on Elle which means you really, really should read the previous books to understand why. The poor sod of a Captain doesn't know what Elle is, but knows that she has caused him a world of trouble in the past, and this time he has her right where he wants her.
Elle is a puzzling character at times. Elle is still the all powerful Oracle who was supposed to bring a new Golden Age to the realms of Light and Shadow, but has thus far failed miserably, and left a whole lot of bodies in her wake. She hasn't faced reality yet that her husband is probably gone forever. She hasn't moved on with her life or found the desire to be with anyone else. Elle is more than happy to leave everyone behind for the freedom of her ship, and the open skies. But when she finds herself under the control of renegade American Captain Dashwood, Elle once again finds a way of living, along with camaraderie with a whole new cast of characters, and perhaps a bit of happiness as well.
On another front, Patrice Chevalier is back and the Council of Warlocks has fallen under his sway. They all agree that Elle needs to be under their control and bound in chains like previous Oracles were. Patrice makes for an interesting villain in that once he goes dark, he goes all the way. He is so caught up with gaining vengeance against Elle for what he claims is her failings and misjudgments, that he can't focus on anything other than destroying her. I think that perhaps Sky Pirates would have benefited from a longer confrontation between Patrice and Elle, and wonder what Schwartz's plans for him are in future novels.
Sky Pirates is apparently NOT the final installment in the Chronicles of Light and Shadow series. If you have not read the other two books, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, and A Clockwork Heart, I recommend that you do so since they all connect. The ending to Sky Pirates leaves some interesting questions that I will be eager to see how Schwartz explains them and works them out. The whole idea that there could definitely be a love triangle coming to the next installment, has me sweating in agony. Once again, this is something I hate like veil mixed with peas, but apparently I am in the minority on this issue. Schwartz also needs to explain a certain scene and whether reviewers like myself are way off base with our guesses as to what is coming next for Elle and her future.
Title - Sky Pirates
Author - Liesel Schwartz
Series - The Chronicles of Light and Shadows # 2
Published by Random House/Del Rey
Releases: October 28, 2014
Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Paranormal, Historical
Format: e-Book, 320 pages