Title: Precious Metals (Metals: Book Two)
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 150 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: For Constable Paul Benson of the North-West Mounted Police, monotony is a blessing. As a provision inspector below the Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike Gold Rush, he’s seen miserable conditions and gold fever turn civilized prospectors into madmen.
Joseph Starling is on his way to the Klondike to find the men who savagely beat him, murdered his eldest brother, and stole their mining machine. They’ll kill his youngest brother if Joseph doesn’t operate the machine for them—it won’t work without him. With time running out, Joseph must purchase an expensive ticket aboard a crash-prone airship. But the station is miles away through dangerous terrain.
Under orders, Paul grudgingly escorts Joseph, but quickly finds himself intrigued by the young man. As they make their way toward Juneau, it’s not just the need for warmth that drives them closer together. But neither man can draw an easy breath until they make it to the gold fields . . . and there’s no guarantee that Joseph’s brother will still be alive when they do.
Review: Whether you like your history with a little bit of steampunk or your steampunk with a little bit of history, Precious Metals offers a pinch of each, then adds a touch of romance to round out the second installment of the Metals series.
Where Noble Metals takes care of fleshing out the atmosphere of the Yukon Gold Rush, the lust for wealth and the hostile environment that made enemies of men with a common goal, Precious Metals, while it does touch on those elements, is more about the building relationship between its two leading men, Joseph Starling and a Canadian Mountie, Constable Paul Benson, who embark on a dangerous, but imperative, journey to rescue Joseph’s little brother from kidnappers. It’s a man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. nature and man vs. machine trek through the wilds that pits these two men against each other, Joseph against his physical abilities, both of them against the dangerous elements, and eventually them against the men who are holding David and a gold digging machine hostage.
One of the best things about Precious Metals is Joseph himself. Innocent in some ways, worldly wise in others, I grew to admire his strength and tenacity in the face of his own personal adversity, which added an endearing touch to his character. Though his relationship with Paul starts off on the wrong foot, so to speak, their being thrown together turned out to be fortuitous, if not a somewhat convenient event to begin building this story on. What grew over the course of their days together, fighting to survive and establishing a necessary trust, was believable in spite of it happening quicker than it might have otherwise. Putting their lives in each other’s hands, time and time again, created a fast bond that was easy enough to buy into, even if the insta-love trope does get a bad rap in genre romance.
Precious Metals is told in alternating first person points of view, and I couldn’t help but feel at times that Joseph and Paul’s narrative voices read somewhat too similarly. I did find I lost track of who was narrating every now and again, which was slightly distracting but not too difficult to overcome and is probably more on me than the author. I’m a fan of the first person narrative, so getting to see each character through the other’s eyes while still maintaining the sense of first person intimacy was a good contrast to this story’s vast setting. The moments when Joseph and Paul are alone together were equal parts tense, sweet and sexy, and Joseph’s innocence was just another facet to this relationship that I loved.
Where I felt there was an added layer of tension to Noble Metals that gave the story a bit more intensity, Precious Metals’ intensity is based largely in the race against time. The danger is complemented by the sweetness of Joseph and Paul’s budding feelings for each other, and while this book could be read as a standalone, I have to say I don’t think I’d have appreciated it quiet as much without the world building in Noble Metals, and because I loved Robert and John’s story, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend reading it first, then picking up Precious Metals to experience a different take on love triumphing over adversity.
You can buy Precious Metals (Metals: Book Two) here: