*3.5 – 4 stars*
A fun debut novel by Bec McMaster! I very much enjoyed this entertaining PNR read; and it was so quick, that I’m almost sorry to see it end and will certainly look very much forward to book #2 next year.
This novel introduces us to Honoria Todd, who is the eldest sister of three siblings, forced to flee their life within the Echelon society and settle in the rookeries under the watchful eye of the “Whitechapel devil” himself– Blade. Even though Honoria tries hard to stay under the radar, she can’t help but catch Blade’s eye. The secrets envelop her, and strange circumstances of why the Echelon has put a high price on her head make Blade only more curious. Will she be his salvation or his undoing? Their meeting sparks much more than secrets, pride and prejudice, but love and war as well.
This novel tries to combine several genres within, and even though it is part of the London Steampunk series, it is much more a paranormal romance (and inventive at that). There are certain steampunk elements/machines thrown in here and there, but they don’t greatly interfere or are of any importance to the plot itself. The vampire mythology is quite different though, it is imaginative and intriguing.
Like any other novels, certain aspects can be successful or not. I must warn the reader that there is quite a bit of steamy content in this novel, which was not distracting. However, what made me frustrated the most in the beginning, was figuring out the mythology and trying to determine the difference between a blue blood and a vampire. I felt the world building did not happen until much further point into the novel, if at all. The use of “accented” language was somewhat frustrating as well, but I gotten used to it after getting involved in the story. It certainly served a purpose, but not a great one at that – I could’ve done without it. Also, the ending felt rushed. I was a bit disappointed that the novel’s climax came to an abruptly, almost convenient ending. I thought Ms. McMaster would offer a much more intricate development of the conclusion.
And then, there were Honoria and Blade…I almost loved to hate them at times. They were great characters, but at some points their obligatory storylines/sex scenes felt forced – I wished there was something less predictable about them, but nonetheless they were entertaining and I rooted for them to be together. A fairy tale must have its happy ending.
At the end I would recommend this novel to those readers looking for a fun, entertaining, steamy PNR with steampunk elements. Happy reading!