By Bec McMaster
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Series or Standalone:London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
It’s hard to believe it, but here we are at the end of the London Steampunk: Blue Blood Conspiracy series. Yes, I know there is a short novella afterwards, but Dukes Are Forever is the last full book in the series and I’m having a hard time saying goodbye. What a stunning conclusion!
Warning: there are a few spoilers ahead for the earlier books in this series!
In Dukes Are Forever, we are finally getting Malloryn’s story. As we saw in the earlier books, Malloryn was trapped in a marriage to his wife Adele after being caught in a compromising situation. He promised her a loveless marriage of convenience, but ever since the kiss they shared when Malloryn nearly died, something has shifted between them. When Adele is photographed kissing an enemy agent, Malloryn turns his attention to ferreting out where her loyalties lie by seducing his own wife. Meanwhile, Lord Balfour is back in London setting his final plan in motion and the Rogues must work to prevent him taking the Queen and them out.
Phew, this book gave me a lot of feelings. Let’s start with Malloryn and Adele. I’ll fully admit, I don’t think they’re my favorite couple. Marriage of convenience romances aren’t my favorite and that’s definitely how I classify the romantic trope in this book. I also feel like after You Only Love Twice and To Catch a Rogue, my two favorite books and couples in this series, it was going to be hard for Malloryn and Adele to live up to the romance in those books.
It took me a little while to warm up to both Malloryn and Adele – I definitely think they are harder characters to love at first glance as they both have a lot of walls up for very different reasons. As the walls started coming down and they began to trust and genuinely care for each other, I liked them a lot more. I don’t hold that against McMaster at all though even though she put both these characters through the ringer over the course of the series. It was really rewarding watching them get to a happy ending as they really had to work to get there. This also wouldn’t be a McMater book without some steamy love scenes, and boy does she deliver there. I feel like because Malloryn holds his feelings so close to his chest as he doesn’t want anyone to get hurt because of their association with him, when he lets loose in these scenes with Adele, he really let’s loose.
Now, this wouldn’t be a London Steampunk novel without a great plot to accompany the romance and McMaster truly shines there. While the romance in this wasn’t my favorite, I loved how McMaster pulled all the final pieces together from the series into an epic conclusion. I feel like I’ve been dying for the big confrontation with Balfour since it was revealed he was the mastermind behind the unrest in London, and McMaster delivers! Watching all the pieces come together kept me on the edge of my seats and as the tension and plot built to the climax. I found myself flipping through pages with bated breath waiting to see what happens next. We do get a big action scene at the end and I was literally experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions during the course of it. I was worried about all the Rogues and their safety at the end, fully expecting some heartbreak. I won’t say if that happens or not, but I was really happy with how everything was wrapped up and how well-executed the action was.
Another favorite thing for me about this book is how seamlessly McMaster weaves in the rest of the Rogues into Malloryn and Adele’s story. We see all our favorites again and get to spend a little bit of time with each of them, which I loved since this was our last book of the series.
I will say, I was getting all emotional at the end of this book as I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters and say goodbye to this fascinating world McMaster created. After spending 10 books in this alternative London, it’s hard to give it up. Luckily, it sounds like McMaster might not be done with this world after all and I’m holding out hope for more books set in it!
Duke Are Forever, while not my favorite book in the series, is a satisfying conclusion to the London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy series. I really enjoy how she wrapped up the story, even if the romance wasn’t necessarily my favorite. This is a book series that I wish I could read for the first time again as it truly was a wild ride and such an enjoyable experience. I cannot recommend them enough!
I hope we get more books in this world and I’m so excited to dive into some of McMaster’s other series as well. She’s truly a master of writing amazing romances with fascinating worlds and superb plots that keep you on the edge of your seat.