Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!3.5 out of 5 In my third return to Ms. Karpiel's alternate universe/steampunk world on the brink of war, I was introduced to new characters, locations and, my personal favorite, uniquely crafted and imagined steampunk machinery. At only 20,000 words and 141 pages on my Nook, this was fun, superfast read. Karpiel certainly excels at setting up and executing her novels; each one so far has had a different feel, with original characters and excitingly fast-paced plots. Switching POVs between main characters (and clear love interests) Nathan Lanchard and Gilda "Mad Lady Sinclair" in third person omniscient, I felt as if I was watching the events unfold as I read the pages. With an ominous (but striking and completely attention-getting) bolded sentence (27 Hours Before Attack), I knew I was in for a madcap escapade. I had an instant liking for "Mad Lady" Sinclair. Gilda doesn't bother herself to conform to her society's Victorian thoughts and repression ideals for women. She's a colorful and very charismatic character, even if that charisma is hedged by some serious self-destructive tendencies. She's also the best dirigible pilot, a fact which utterly delighted me - usually that title goes to a man. Described as "a willful Pandora with her hand poised on man's undoing," Gilda was by far my favorite of these two conflicted people. That quote is an utterly perfect description for the whirlwind that is Gilda, especially as evidenced against her partner in business. Nathan, that same partner just mentioned and Gilda's eternal foil, was harder for me to care about; he's a very contained and withdrawn, very controlled man. Remote characters tend to put me off rather than intrigue me, so perhaps that's why I initially identified, sided, and laughed with Gilda at his bumbling. I was eventually won over by Nate's innate goodness, and by his prowess in bed. Oh whew! Take my word on it -- this book has one of the hotter sex scenes I've read this year! -- but it's definitely not for those who don't enjoy a bit of roughness in their play. Nate and Gilda have a chemistry that truly sparks - either into a heated and venomous argument or straight into bed.Another bit I loved: the infrequent but subtle allusions to past books and characters. Tristan Satorin, dashing hero of The Admiral (and my personal favorite of the men in this series) is mentioned and plays a key, if uberminor, part in this novel offscreen, as is the Great Inventor from The Inventor. While I eventually warmed to Nathan as a character, only Gilda will emerge as favorite of this series. The last ten pages specifically changed my opinion on the man, but it is not enough to overtake the Admiral in my books. If you're looking for a short, steampunk, fun, supersexy read, pick up The Aviator (well really The Inventor, The Admiral THEN The Aviator) and you will not be disappointed. The best part is if you want to read this erotic stempunk fantasy, ALL four novels (expect a review for The Champion soon) are under $1.00 for Nook and Kindle. That's a great deal - very little money for a whole lot of imagination, sex and creativity.