Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 448 pages
Release date: September 1, 2012
Series: London Steampunk #1
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Jenn
A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London…
When Nowhere is Safe…
Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel 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.
I've been looking forward to this book for quite some time. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, even if the lady's outfit is far too scandalous for the period. Between the amazing cover and the cover copy, I knew that I had to pre-order KISS OF STEEL! And once it arrived, I dived right in.
I really like the world that Bec McMaster has created. In fact, it's probably my favourite part of the novel! The author brings a different take on the supernatural, with many of the upper class (the Echelon) being infected with a virus that makes them crave human blood. These blue bloods are faster than humans and nearly immortal. If their counts get too high, however, they succumb to their bloodlust and becoming rampaging killing machines. The blue bloods tend to be choosy about who they infect but sometimes non-nobles get infected, like Blade, the Devil of Whitechapel and the male romantic lead in KISS OF STEEL. Honoria Todd, our heroine, has only recently entered Blade's domain, after her father, a man of science, was murdered by a blue blood, who hunts for Honoria and her two siblings. This world is also inhabited by verwulfen and mechs, who have metal parts and are considered the lowest class, making KISS OF STEEL a very engaging read. I love books that blend genre elements and KISS OF STEEL has a little bit of everything: there's steampunk, paranormal romance, mystery, and more!
Honoria was a great main character. I empathized with her from the start and was really rooting for her. She has a lot of adversity but she makes the most of her situation. I also liked that she's smart and tries to figure out the best way to survive her situation. I'm not a fan of helpless heroines who wait for people to take care of them and Honoria is very independent, even in a setting where keeping her independence is a challenge, particularly in a Victorian era.
In contrast, I wasn't as keen on Blade. He's got an interesting history and I really enjoyed his relationship with Honoria but I couldn't get behind him 100% because of the fact that his speech is written in dialect. The author's done a nice job of it, and uses the presence or absence of Blade's Cockney accent to tell you whether he's in control of himself or not (which was a great device), but the linguist in me always gets nervous when people decide to write in dialect, especially when it's not their native variety. For me, it's distracting. I don't know if other people have the same problem but it's just one of those things that I'm hyperaware of, no matter how well it's done.
On the whole, however, I very much enjoyed KISS OF STEEL. The romance is steamy, the world really captured my imagination, and Bec McMaster has me desperate for more! There are ideas that were left unresolved and I hope they'll be discussed in the next book, which features secondary characters from KISS OF STEEL.