Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?
Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.
When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.
Two of my favorite genres are historical romance and paranormal romance so when I find a book that combines them my anticipation went through the roof. Thank goodness Bec McMaster's debut met every expectation that I had and beyond. Almost everything about this book worked for me from the setting to the supernatural worldbuilding to the characters to the romance.
The London Steampunk series takes place in an alternate version of England which is an intriguing mix of the supernatural and steampunk. The upper levels of British society are made up of people who are inflicted with a disease that causes them to age slower and crave blood. This has shaped the entire culture and economy of the country which causes quite a few issues that the characters
The heroine of Kiss of Steel is Honoria who is a young lady trying to keep her small family together after her father's mysterious death. Unfortunately, she is trying to do this while hiding from a malicious English lord who has put a bounty on her head and things are further complicated by the fact that her brother is showing signs of the virus that afflicts the lords and ladies. Overall, I really enjoyed this character. Her strength and the determination she had to keeping her brother and sister safe was very admirable and easy to relate to. She did have some frustrating moments where I felt like her pride was a bit too much, but, thankfully, those incidents were balanced out with some really admirable moments.
And then we come to Blade who is one of my favorite heroes in recent memory. I loved everything about this guy from his name to his look to his backstory, etc. Blade is the self-proclaimed leader of the Rookery, the most dangerous slum in London, and has developed his own little gang to protect his interests throughout the city. He also has a mysterious past that explains why he has the same disease that all the aristocracy have and why he has such a vendetta against them. Another aspect of Blade that I adored was the vulnerability that he showed whenever he interacted with Honoria which is very refreshing in romance.
The romance between Honoria and Blade was almost perfect. The physical attraction was immediate, and unwanted on Honoria's part, but things quickly escalated to a more emotional level. It was very obvious to me as a reader how perfect these two were for each other. Their circumstances were different yet their ultimate goals were the same and it was really great to see that especially with all the darker aspects of this paranormal world.
There were quite a few plots to follow in this book. Since it is the first in a series, there is the obligatory introduction to the world and the main players in it, but I never felt like I was being provided too much information at a time. In addition to the romance, there was the business of keeping Honoria and her family away from the malicious lord who has been searching for them for years. McMaster also sets up, what I believe to be, a continual storyline for the series with the creation of a possible cure for the blood-craving virus which is introduced through a murder mystery involving a vampire on the loose in the Rookery.
Overall, I found this debut to be well-written and highly entertaining. I became fully engrossed in the world and eagerly anticipate returning to it in the future. There are many roads that Ms. McMaster can follow with this series and I am excited to see what she does with some of these great characters especially Will the werewolf and Honoria's younger sister Lena.
1. Kiss of Steel
1.5. Tarnished Knight
2. Heart of Iron (Coming 2013)
**Theme song for the steampunk setting.
**Honoria's feelings for Blade and how they change throughout the book.
**How Blade feels about his life and his disease.
BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY