By Bec McMaster
Publisher: Lochaber Press
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Series or Standalone: London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy #4
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
Ever since we met Lark and Charlie back in the original London Steampunk series, I have been DYING to get their story. Couple that with the ending of You Only Love Twice, and I knew I needed to dive into this one as SOON as possible. Honestly, I’m so glad I didn’t need to wait for this book to publish, as that wait would have been killer.
Charlie and Lark, once inseparable in their youth in Whitechapel, have never fully been the same since the death of Lark’s guardian the Tin Man and since Charlie saved Lark by turning her into a Blue Blood after the battle that ended the rebellion in Of Silk and Steam. However, with Malloryn kidnapped and taken to the deadly Russain court, the Rogues need an expert thief to join their rescue mission. Charlie knows no better thief than Lark and asks her to join their heist. Lark does not want to join the Rogues on the mission, but changes her mind when she learns it in Russian. As the Rogues descend on the deadly Russain court, Lark and Charlie struggle to figure out their feelings for each other, while Lark also wrestles with her past and the Rogues try to rescue Malloryn from the clutches of Balfour.
First off, so much happens in this book. I felt like from the first page until the last page, it was non-stop action. I literally couldn’t read this book fast enough as I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. Second, I totally did not expect this book to go in the direction it did with the plot, but I LOVED IT. I did not expect Lark past to be tied up in Russia and It was so much fun to get to learn her backstory. I loved how McMaster unraveled her past and slowly revealed her secrets. The pacing was perfect as you could put the pieces together yourself, but the secret didn’t feel obvious. I’m also so glad Lark didn’t keep her past underwraps from Charlie and the rest of the Rogues the whole time.
Let’s talk about romance now. Lark and Charlie’s romance was pitch perfect. Lark’s always been secretly in love with Charlie, but thinks he’s indifferent. Some comments he made when she was younger have stuck with her to reinforce his supposed indifference, but in reality, he’s as hung up on her as she is on him. Lark was always his closest friend and buddy who would get into trouble with him while they were in their teens living in Whitechapel. I love the sexual tension between them and their romance gives me all sorts of heart flutters – I personally love when a book gets me to have a strong emotion like that. Also, bonus points to McMaster for having both Lark and Charlie be virgins! I was not expecting that, but it honestly was so sweet and something you don’t see that often in romances.
Once again, McMaster has managed to blend this fantastic childhood friends-to-lovers romance into an action-paction plot. The rescue of Malloryn is definitely the central plot, and I loved how McMaster would seamlessly switch the action over to him, then back to Charlie and Lark, and then onto the other Rogues. There were so many action packed scenes, and the stakes felt higher than ever. Once this book started, it didn’t let up at all and the pacing was perfect.
I also love how much we see of the other Rogues. McMaster does a great job of seamlessly incorporating their stories into this. Malloryn goes through A LOT in this book. It’s fascinating to see him in this as he’s been tortured and truly feels like he’s alone as the Rogues would never risk going to Russia to rescue him. Once he knows they’re there, his hope comes back. It is going to be interesting to see how the actions of this book impact him in the final book.
I also loved how much of Gemma and Obsidian we get in this book. You Only Love Twice didn’t fully wrap up Obsidian’s backstory, but we know his past is tied up in Russian. I loved how McMaster was able to wrap up that plot line and incorporate it so flawlessly into Lark’s story as well.
Honestly, I feel like I could gush forever about this book. It surpassed my wildest dreams in terms of the story, the romance and the action. This is tied with You Only Love Twice as my favorite of the entire series and I love the central couples in both dearly. It also is no coincidence that both stories feature strong female characters who can kick some serious butt. Lark isn’t some maiden in need of defending and can more than hold her own in any fight or dangerous situation.
I don’t know if McMaster will be able to top this book, but I’m both looking forward to and dreading the end of this series. Dreading mainly because it means I have to leave these characters and world after spending so much time with them. But I cannot wait to see how she wraps the whole series up and what shape the final confrontation with Balfour will take.