by Joseph Lallo (2016)
Ichor Well is the third adventure in the Free-Wrench Series of Steampunk novels. Ever since Nita Graus left her homeland and joined the crew of the Wind Breaker, the reputation of the airship and its crew has been growing. The destruction of the mighty dreadnought, the escape from the legendary Skykeep, and the inexplicable ability to remain hidden from the ever-watchful eye of the Fug Folk have combined to make her and her fellow crew the stuff of legend.
Alas, legendary heroes cannot exist for long without attracting a worthy villain. Luscious P. Alabaster strives to be just that foe. While he works his nefarious plans, the crew itself is not without turmoil. Captain Mack, already having survived far more years in the hostile skies than he had any right to expect, is making plans for his golden years. The crew is gradually learning all that Nita can teach them, leaving her with the looming decision of whether or not she still has a place among the crew.
Before the matter of the future can be settled, the crew has the problems at hand to solve. And in escaping the webs woven by the cunning and eccentric Alabaster, they may discover the darkest secrets the churning and toxic Fug has to hide.
The first book of the series (Free-Wrench) I rated a five star book, the second got a four star and this one gets three stars. Things seem to be heading downwards faster than a deflated airship.
The problem is that the first half of the book was just too slowly paced. Things pick up in the second half when the action finally happens. What this book needs is a good editor to trim the excessive talking as there is rather a lot of it in the first half.
The story is just OK, but suffers from not enough plot to make it interesting. The best part of the story is the mustache twirling villain of Luscious P. Alabaster. Maybe over the top and without depth, he gives the book a fun tone and offsets the darker themes.
Overall it feels like a novella stretched out to novel length, an average read.