The Tea Demon by Cornelia Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 52 pages
Thief Eric Devon wishes one thing: for people to leave him bloody well alone. And maybe for more whiskey. Until a mysterious stranger offers him a job so dangerous that no one has ever attempted it and survived to tell the tale: recover a priceless object from the Turtle Merchants’ impregnable palace. Intrigued by the man and the challenge, Eric accepts—but the stranger is none other than the legendary airship captain known as the Tea Demon, terror of the Sea of Clouds. Eric must come up with the best plan in history if he wants to complete his job... and survive it too.
Cornelia Grey layers a fantastical world with steampunk details in this entertaining romp of a story. The Tea Demon mixed whimsy with sexiness and adventure to create a lively story well worth the read.
Never one to shy away from the gritty details, Ms Grey starts us in a seedy bar, where a thief can be found for a fearsome job. A mysterious stranger approaches Eric Devon for a caper, but first has to challenge him into taking the job. The forfeit? A kiss that curls Eric's toes, and the caper? Steal the ultimate treasure from the impregnable fortress. The penalty for failure? Horrible, and it's a long way down.
Captain Jonathan Tea, that sexy beast, is the most fearsome sky pirate in this cloud based world, where airships tie up to bronze sky ports miles above ground and larger installations ride on the backs of turtles. Readers of Discworld will feel right at home, with the unquestioned oddities and strange characters who communicate in snappy one-liners. The Captain, prone to flying into rages that make his crew fear for the ship, has a whim of steel and can only be calmed with fine tea, or steamy sex.
Ms. Grey paints wonderful pictures with her words: she's becoming an autobuy for me, and here she's taking sly pokes at a lot of the fantasy/adventure tropes, making me snicker. She gives Eric a plan that's perfectly ridiculous and its execution outlandish -- between laughing and groaning I attracted a considerable amount of attention to myself at the coffee shop, but who cares, it was worth it.
The story ends in a big OH NO and a bigger AW, and was pure over the top fun. 5 marbles