I was not a huge fan of the previous book in this series, but I do like L.A. Witt so I immediately requested Precious Metals when I saw it on NetGalley. This book is set in the same universe as the other, in a kind of steampunk gold rush era. The characters are all different though; the protagonists are Joseph, who’s chasing after his kidnapped brother, and Paul, a mountie tasked with escorting him north. I really liked their story.
It’s difficult to talk about just this book, because I keep drawing comparisons with Noble Metals when I think about what exactly I liked. For example, the steampunk element is much more marked here. In the first book there were just the mechs, which are a kind of mechanical cart that gold diggers use to haul stuff around. Now there’s mechs and airships and a gold-digging machine and Joseph’s prosthetic leg, oh my! It’s way more steampunkier now, if that makes any sense.
The relationship between Joseph and Paul was also engaging. There still was some insta-love, given that the book is rather short and only covers a timespan of a few days, but I felt like it was handled in a more realistic way, as in “we almost died so I’m going to make a move NOW because life is short”, etc.
There are quite a lot of tropes in the story, but let’s be honest: I love tropes. Sharing the only bed roll? Huddling together for warmth? Give that to me. And the author does write steamy scenes, which is always a plus. If I had to complain about something, it’s that both sex scenes were from Joseph’s POV and I was hoping to get one from Paul’s POV instead. Then again, I did like Paul better so I was always looking forward to his chapters. (Not because Joseph is a bad character, mind, it’s just personal preference.)
I’m glad I read this because it definitely redeemed the series for me, and I wouldn’t mind reading more stories in this universe. And the good bit is that this book is a standalone, so you can skip Noble Metals and enjoy this excellent adventure through the snow.