Reading Level: Adult
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the London Steampunk series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
I love steampunk books, especially those set in London. So I had been looking at reading this series for a while. This ended up being a very well done romance with a decent plot that supports the romance well. There really isn’t a whole lot of steampunk in here though.
Honora has had to scrap out a living as a language teacher in order to support her sister and chronically ill brother since the death of their father. Honora and her family are also in hiding from one of her father’s enemies. All this makes Whitechapel district the perfect place for Honora and her family to live and hide. The problem is Whitechapel is run by a fierce man named Blade and he likes to have some leverage on anyone living in his district.
When Blade finally meets Honora he agrees to trade lessons from her in exchange for protecting her family. They both find they are strangely drawn to each other in a way that neither one wants. Honora can’t help but admire Blade’s commitment to protecting his people and Blade admires Honora’s commitment to her family coupled with her innocence. When a rogue vampire tears a bloody path through Whitechapel they end up having to work together to take it out.
This story is definitely heavy on the romance. There really isn’t much steampunk in here at all. Honora uses an awesome gun and there is some talk of genetic manipulation in this Victorian world but that is pretty much it. I guess there was one character with mechanical lungs too, so that is pretty steampunky. I felt like there was a good world here, but it just needed to be filled out a bit more.
The romance between Honora and Blade however was absolutely excellently done. It was very steamy, there is a lot of tension, and you feel like the two characters are better people when they are together. They build a relationship over time and take the time to learn to trust each other. There are scenes between them that took my breath away and I loved how they each admired the other for their strong qualities and took the good with the bad.
There are also a lot of very well done side characters that I would love to read more about. It does look like the next book in the series, Heart of Iron, features Honora’s sister and one of Blade’s men. So this looks like it is one of those series where each book focuses on a different couple, but the main world and story around that couple are a spin-off of the previous book.
There are vampires and werewolves in the plot as well, pretty typical paranormal stuff. The vampires are interesting though because they are a bit different. Vampires start off as Blue Bloods and as the amount of virus in their system grows over time they transitions into raging vampires. It is interesting because a lot of the Blue Bloods are basically ticking time bombs.
The book reminded me a lot of Kate Locke’s Immortal Empire series, which I liked a lot better than this book because that series has more action and world building. It also reminded me of Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series, which I liked just as much as this book. So if you are looking for a historical paranormal fantasy that is heavy on the romance this is an excellent choice.
If you are looking for more of a steampunk read with romance woven throughout, I would look elsewhere. Check out Meljean Brooke’s Iron Seas series which has an absolutely stunning steampunk world as well as some romance.
Overall an excellent romance with heavy paranormal and lighter steampunk elements. The characters are excellent and the romance between Honora and Blade is just perfection. However the world-building is a bit weak, there are hints of an awesome world here but it wasn’t explored as much as I had hoped. Additionally the plot was well done, but there were times where it took a backseat to the romance. I will probably read the next book in the series when I am in the mood for a heart-pounding romance…however I won’t be looking to this series for a good steampunk fix. For my steampunk reads with some romance I will stick to Brooke’s Iron Seas series which just has a fantastic steampunk world.