By Bec McMaster
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Series or Standalone: London Steampunk #1
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
I’ve been in a terrible reading slump the last few weeks and have been picking up books left and right only to have none of them hold my interest. And then I picked up Kiss of Steel on a whim and I was hooked. I’ve seen this book around for a while but never actually picked it up. After seeing a bookstack photo on Instagram for the series by author Bec McMaster I decided to see if the library had it as an ebook, and lo and behold they did.
As soon as I picked this up, I was hooked. I am a mood reader and I feel like this is exactly what I was looking for without even realizing it. I knew I wanted a read that was more urban fantasy, but didn’t stop to consider steampunk or urban in Victorian England! This was exactly what I was looking for.
Kiss of Steel has such an interesting mythology in it. I love how McMaster played with the traditional vampire story. In McMaster’s London, society is ruled by the Blue Bloods who are part of the Echelon and are not only nobility, but also infected with the craving virus that turns their blood blue and forces them to drink blood. They’re not full vampires, as vampires in this world are the ones who the virus has overtaken completely and lose all sense of themselves. I found this such a cool take on the “blue blood” term and it adds a really interesting element to the class structure in this world.
Our two main characters are Honoria Todd and Blade. Honoria is in hiding from Vickers, a high ranking member of the Echelon, after the death of her father, a scientist who worked in his employ. Her father was working on a vaccine and cure for the craving virus. She moved into Whitechapel which is separate from the rest of London and ruled by Blade. Blade is a rogue blue blood. In this London, those infected by the craving virus are tightly controlled and limited to the nobility, but occasionally those like Blade get infected. Honoria ends up wrapped up in Blade world sort of by accident, and gets involved in a hunt for a vampire who is terrorizing Whitechapel.
I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get going into this book, but the story far exceeded my expectations. I really loved learning about this world and I feel like the author did a great job with world building. There wasn’t a ton of information dumping but you also learned enough information upfront to understand the world and it’s rules. I also really loved Honoria and Blade together. The romance had time to build between them, especially as she has a strong dislike for blue bloods given her experiences with them in the past. Blade was also such a complex character – I feel like you think he’s going to be this tough lord of the underworld, but he really cares about his found family and those under his protection, which made him feel more human. Honoria also was a great character – she is a lot smarter than she lets on and has a scientific mind. I love that she has strong principles and does not want to compromise on her values. When Honoria and Blade finally get together, it is so rewarding and the first scene where they really submit to those feelings is super steamy.
I also really loved the plot in this book. I wasn’t really sure where it was going to be going as there were a few different plot points that actually ended up all tying together in the end in an incredibly satisfying way. There was a lot of action and adventure as well as some political intrigue and secrets. I feel like I devoured this book as I was so engaged with it.
I cannot wait to check out book 2 which I’ve already taken out of the library. I’m so glad I stumbled across this series as it was exactly the type of book I wanted to read without even realizing it. If you’re looking for a book with great world building, intriguing characters and a satisfying romance, this one’s for you.