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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Heart of Brass by Kate Cross

When it comes to good steampunk novels, it's important to have interesting and original mechanical gadgets. In this book, not only are they interesting, some are also pretty scandalous. I found it very bold for the author to introduce us to her steampunk world with a gadget similar to our modern day vibrator. For those of you who didn't know, hysteria used to be a catch-all female ailment that affected affluent woman and it gained popularity in Victorian England. One of the treatments then for hysteria was orgasms and it's around this time that the vibrator was invented to help these women. This novel is  an historical steampunk romance, and while it does mention vibrators, I would never qualify it as an erotic novel. Another gadget introduced in HEART OF BRASS is the A.R.O.T.S. machine that allows someone to see the last images of someone's life, an apparatus quite useful while investigating someone's murder. Body enhancement apparatuses were also very popular in this novel and overall, I think the steampunk elements tied in very well with the story. It might have been courageous in some cases (vibrator, cough) but everything was elegantly done.

Arden Grey, also known as Lady Huntley, is a brilliant female lead that creates and fabricates some of these mechanical gadgets. Ever since the disappearance of her husband 7 years prior, she has buried herself in her work with the Wardens of the Realm, a secretive organization that protects the Crown, for the London Scotland Yard and in building her machines. This escape into work isn't because she's mourning. Not at all. It's her way of coping because being alone is difficult for her, but she never had any doubt about her husband's survival. Even after 7 years, she thought her husband had simply been captured and would return to her well and alive. And return he did. Luke, or Lord Huntley, returned a completely different man, ordered to assassinate Lady Huntley, and with no recollection of his life prior to 7 years before. Captured by an enemy organization to the Crown, his memory has been wiped in order to transform him into an ultimate assassin with mechanical upgrades.

I think I expected to see more scenes of Society and social calls but I'm quite happy the author concentrated more on the mystery surrounding Luke's disappearance and the murder mystery Arden is trying to solve with Scotland Yard. I was disappointed a bit on how abruptly the murder mystery was solved. It didn't seem like much investigation was done to find the savage murderer of Society's debutantes, and personally, I found the ending too abrupt and clean cut. What did intrigue me however, was Luke's amnesia. The idea of brainwashing a man into assassinating his wife is very clever. The interaction between Arden and Luke in the beginning of the book, while he still doesn't remember his past, was brilliant. His mind and body was fascinated by how strong and unique Arden is and he felt something hindering him in completing his deadly task. With or without Luke's amnesia, the scenes with Luke and Arden are so fun to read. Their personality and feelings for one another clashes from time to time to create great banter and romantic scenes.

A romance book at heart, HEART OF BRASS is about two people falling in love again, despite hardships and a confusing past. The merging of steampunk elements into the story was very well done and I applaud the author for taking risky and scandalous chances. I will definitively be checking out the next book of this series soon.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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