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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: Kiss of Steel

Title: Kiss of Steel
Author: Bec McMaster
Page Count: 448 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: steampunk romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

Back Cover Summary:
A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist-shrouded streets of London...

When Nowhere is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries--no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel--or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.
*****

One word- AMAZING. I picked this book up after reading glowing reviews at Parajunkee's View and Goldilox and the Three Weres and I'm super happy I did.  Kiss of Steel has made the list as one of my favorite books of 2012 for its superior worldbuilding, awesome leading couple, and great start to a series that's going on my auto-buy list.

Just when you think there's nothing new beneath the sun, suddenly there is!  This book takes elements of the paranormal in the form of a vampire elite and adds in the sinister element of a virus causing the condition, with the ultimate end being death for all the infected.  It's the great leveling- no matter how rich you are, in this society, if you're a blue blood (blood drinker) you will eventually succumb to madness and have to get your head chopped off.  The question isn't if, it's when.

Except for one- Blade.  He's devoted his life to flourishing outside the control of the Echelon and has built a loyal following in Whitechapel outside the long arm of the law.  When he meets Honoria, he knows she's hiding something, so being the only one who can protect her from the evil evilness out to get her and her siblings puts him in a unique position to discover those secrets.

This dynamic right here is one of the reasons I loved this book.  The power dynamic between Blade and Honoria is extremely uneven- Blade has all the power and Honoria is at his mercy.  Blade doesn't abuse this power, however- he sees Honoria as someone who needs a leg up, not as someone to take advantage of.  He wants Honoria to like him, and it bothers him when it seems like she doesn't.  Honoria, on the other hand, has been abandoned by everyone who was ever supposed to be on her side and carries a tremendous amount of responsibility around with her every day.  Even so, she doesn't fight the inevitable and realizes that underneath his swagger Blade is a great guy.  She ends up being the instigator in their relationship, and Blade can't resist her.

If the sole focus of the book was Honoria and Blade, it would still be an awesome book.  There's more though!  The issue of Honoria's father and the implications of his unfinished research, the lives of her siblings (especially her sister Helena, the heroine of book #2) and the supporting characters who move in Blade's circle all lend depth and detail to the story.  I was up way too late on a work night because I wanted to see how everything ended.

I also enjoyed how the ending provided just enough explanation to give hope where previously there hadn't been any.  It doesn't 100% explain anything and there isn't an epilogue where we see the couple fifty years from now, true, but I think there's plenty to go on and that it will be great fun to see where the series goes from here.  Enjoy!

Overall Rating:

 
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