Test Reader Responses, Part 1 – Epilogue Novellas

Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City - Epilogue Novella #1.5A few weeks ago, I asked for test readers who hadn’t read any of the Iron Seas books to read “Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City” and “Tethered,” then report back (here is the response form that I set up) on whether they stood alone or not.

To date, I’ve received responses from about half of the test readers, so I thought now would be a good time to make a Part I (so that the post isn’t overwhelmingly huge.) I’ll post any other responses as The Invisible City’s August 7th release date approaches.

Reader #1: Wendy

Which novella did you read (or try to read)? Both.

Have you read steampunk before this? (Optional) I’ve never read steampunk before.

Did you use the Iron Seas guide on my site? (Optional) No, I didn’t need to.

Were you totally lost? Or did they stand alone?

I wasn’t lost, was easy to figure out. At least for me it was. I enjoyed reading both books, and look forward to reading more!

Reader #2: RachaelM

Which novella did you read (or try to read)? Both.

Have you read steampunk before this? (Optional) I’ve read steampunk romance before.

Did you use the Iron Seas guide on my site? (Optional) No, I didn’t need to.

Were you totally lost? Or did they stand alone?

In my opinion both novellas are fine as stand alone stories. Some of the terminology was strange and probably would make more sense had I read the first books in the series but it really didn’t take away from the stories themselves, at least not for me. The world in which the novellas took place was new and it took a little to get my bearings but again it didn’t really detract from the story. I enjoyed reading both novellas and devored them in a day. I think that any new readers who read the novellas first will fall in love with the characters and like me want to read the first books to learn how they all came together and learn more about the world you created.

Thanks for allowing me to test read your novellas. I have fell in love with the world and characters and can not wait to go back and read The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel. I have heard many good things about The Iron Seas Series but was a little skiddish about steampunk. I have only read one other steampunk book – Clockwork Angel, book one in the Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare and only because I loved The Mortal Instruments Series. I liked it and have several other books in the genre on my TBR bookshelf. Although, I liked Clockwork Angel, I wasn’t blown away so that left me sidelined on steampunk. You have changed that because I loved Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City and Tethered. I plan to collect my thoughts and write a review to both and post it on my Goodreads Account and Amazon Account.

Thanks again for allowing me to test read your novellas. If you ever need any test readers or beta readers in the future please keep me in mind. You have a new fan and I look forward to more Iron Seas stories.

Reader #3: Melissa

Website/Blog: My World…in words and pages.

Which novella did you read (or try to read)? Both.

Have you read steampunk before this? (Optional) I’ve read steampunk, but no steampunk romance.

Did you use the Iron Seas guide on my site? (Optional) No, I didn’t need to.

Were you totally lost? Or did they stand alone?

I thought they stood alone.

I started with Mina Wentworth.
I can tell there is a long history here; the world, the love relationships growing to this point, and of the amazing journeys and battles fought ~ all mentioned or hinted at. I did like learning the little bits about the Horde, that was the part I was worried about in the beginning. But the layout was described and I understood what was happening. Bounders I’m a little ify yet, but I have a gist of an idea.

Then read Tethered.
I will say I was thrilled to learn more about the nanoagents when Yasmeen talked with Vashon. That was very interesting for me! And the adventure of the air ship. Loved it. This story was confusing at first for me only because I wasn’t sure who the characters were, with Zenobia and Archimedes letters, but when the story started, I understood and loved following Archimedes and Yasmeen, and reading the letters with Zenobia. Even though I felt there was more back story and adventures to get to, I felt this one was more stand alone than Mina Wentworth, although both are amazingly well done with not reading the novels beforehand. Maybe the longer length of the novella added to that feeling of more stand-alone than with Mina Wentworth or the airships and story were focused on the nanoagents more. The augmentations of body is a neat thing to visualize as well (in both novellas).

I got a great taste for the world and heartfelt characters created. They both work as stand alones for me, and one to make me into a new world. I think these are complete stories that can also cause the reader to become curious to try the novels.

Thank you for the opportunity to read these for you.

Reader #4: Virginia Cantrell

Which novella did you read (or try to read)? Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City

Have you read steampunk before this? (Optional) I’ve read steampunk romance before.

Did you use the Iron Seas guide on my site? (Optional)No, I didn’t need to.

Were you totally lost? Or did they stand alone?

I thought you did a great of adding enough back story to explain what had happened previously without confusing or boring the reader. There were a couple things that didn’t get completely explained, such as the bugs, the exact role of the blacksmith, and who/what exactly were the horde. That being said, I had enough information to not only follow the storyline, but to really entice me to read the previous books in the series. Both novellas were very interesting, but I think it took me longer to figure out what was happening in the invisible city.

Reader #5: Ann-Marie Stewart

Which novella did you read (or try to read)? Both.

Have you read steampunk before this? (Optional) I’ve never read steampunk before.

Did you use the Iron Seas guide on my site? (Optional) No, I didn’t need to.

Were you totally lost? Or did they stand alone?

I was definitely not lost. I got into Tethered more quickly than Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City, but I’m not sure if that was because it took time to get familiar with the world while reading Mina’s story, or if it was the story itself. I do think that either story would stand on its own, but I also think readers will enjoy the stories more if they are already invested in the characters and their stories. That said, if I had encountered these in an anthology, or elsewhere, I would more than likely have sought out the rest of the series.


So! Those are the responses I have so far. I’m actually kind of surprised that readers haven’t had much trouble, BUT! I also wonder that if some of the readers who are having trouble with the novellas haven’t responded yet because, well, they haven’t gotten through them 😀 So we’ll wait and see if that holds.