Book Banter: Double Edition, Kiss of Steel and Heart of Iron

steelTitles: Kiss of Steel; Heart of Iron (London Steampunk 1 &2)

Author: Bec McMaster

Length: ~400 pages each

Genre: Steampunk romance

Where Bethany’s copy came from: IndyPL

Plot Basics: It’s a clockwork London where being a vampire is fashionable and the populace must keep up a blood tax and serve as thralls for the ruling Echelon class. Honoria Todd and her siblings have fallen from society and have taken up residence in Whitechapel, trying to keep up appearance. When things turn desperate, Honoria makes a deal with Blade, the Devil of Whitechapel, to protect her siblings and herself. But what starts there, may have ongoing consequences for the Todd family and London society.

ironBanter Points: So, when I picked this series up, I thought it was just steampunk, not steampunk with vampires and werewolves too. That said, I kept reading and found myself hooked.

The society set-up in these that the high class are all vampires trying to put off the Fade (when they go crazy and become scary vampires) is awesome. And all the steampunk stuff is great with mechanical soldiers and steam carriages and cyborg arms and the like. McMaster has done a great job, too, of raising the stakes in the actual plot part of the world too. Tensions are growing between the human and non-human characters and the political intrigue is getting good.

Bummer Points: I’m not actually a very big fan of the romance. McMaster’s storytelling strength here is in her world-building. The romance part follows really traditional pacing. (I was trying to explain to my fiancé how I knew what would happen in the last 75 pages because it’s the formula and he didn’t quite get that part). I wish the books were more of the secondary plot with characters happening to get together and less about the romance.

Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like romance novels, these are good. They have just what you’d expect. If you also like good books, and are willing to suffer through some “beast with two backs” scenes, the plot is pretty decent.

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