Review: Kiss of Steel by Bec McMasterKiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk #1
Published by Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 4, 2012
Genres: Steampunk, Victorian Romance
Pages: 423
Format: eBook
Source: Advance Reader Copy, NetGalley

When Nowhere Is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel 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.

Quick Note: I can’t figure out why my images aren’t showing. I’m trying to fix it, so bear with me guys. Today, we get one giant block of text! yay. :/

~Highland Hussy


Honoria Todd is out of options. With nowhere left to turn, she’s taken to hiding in Whitechapel. In this alternate London, the Whitechapel district is run by a blueblood named Blade.
Now I had a hard time with Blade. Not his character-he was a great hero!-but picturing him. Yet again we have a Spike from Buffy. I’m so tired of having a white-haired, lower class British accent having, nicknamed, chiseled cheekboned vampires (that means you, Bones). Getting past that, the story was good. Original, and interesting.
Basically, Blade/Spike/Bones is a good bad guy, if that makes sense. He runs his district, he is the thorn in the side of the Echelon, and he keeps his people safe.
The Echelon is the ruling class. The men of the ton are given the Craving Virus, and they use it to rule. But once their levels of the Craving Virus reach a certain level, their hair, skin and eyes begin to lighten until eventually they are white. Then they are beheaded, because after that, they become true vampires, caring for only blood. A handful of vampires can cause a slaughter.
People are basically sheep, with few rights, but if the human has any form of mechanical body part? They have zero rights, because they are considered by the Echelon to no longer be human.
So, with that quick background, let’s get back to Honoria. Her father was working on a cure for CV (Craving Virus). She was his assistant, but his patron, one of the echelon, wanted Honoria. He enjoyed terrorizing her though, and instead of just taking her, he was drawing out his chase. Their patron lord wanted Honoria, but he didn’t necessarily want her willing. When he found out her father was sympathizing with the humanist movement, their lives were in danger. Her father told her to grab her brother and sister (and his diaries) and run. So run she did.
It’s while she’s in hiding, trying to make ends meet, that we enter the story. Her young brother is in the throes of the Craving Virus, and it costs a lot of money to give him the silver injections to keep it at bay. Money she doesn’t have. And then Blade sends his message. She needs to meet with him. She can’t really expect to live in his area for free, right?
But when they meet, he isn’t what she expects. And she isn’t someone he’s willing to let go. I loved this story, and I don’t think my review does it justice, because even though it’s complicated, Ms. McMaster makes it work. This is a great new series and I’m definitely excited to see where it goes.
The Steampunk gadgets could have easily been taken out and the story would not have changed or suffered. The main part that fits (other than a few gadgets mentioned), is the socio-political change. This is the “punk” part of Steampunk. And Ms. McMaster nailed it. What a unique world!
I think that if you want a good PNR, this will work for you, even though it’s a Steampunk. Trust me. If you love Steampunk, this will work for you. Again, trust me. With everything from werewulfen to vampires, gadgets to mechanical prosthetics, and well-written characters with a great romance, this book has something for everyone.

***ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca