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I Belong

Review: Breath of Iron by Kate Cross

Breath of IRonTitle: Breath of Iron

Author: Kate Cross

Genre: Steampunk Romance

Series: Clockwork Agents (Book #3)

Publication Date: August 6, 2013

Format: Paperback, 315 Pages

ISBN-10: 0451240065 (Signet/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0451240064 (Signet/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Steph


Sworn to protect England from all enemies, the Wardens of the Realm are ever vigilant. But not all battles are fought on a battlefield; sometimes they are fought in the heart.

As chief surgeon for the Wardens, Evelyn Stone fears her own life is on the line when she is kidnapped by a band of pirates—only to discover that the airship captain is Gavin “Mac” MacRae—her former lover. The man whose life she once saved. The man she abandoned.

Since Evelyn left, Mac made his mark as both a pirate and a pilot. But his true allegiance isn’t known. Upon asking Evie for help with a wounded woman on board, he tells Evie that the woman is his wife—even though his feelings for Evie have never waned.

As the days pass, however, the unease between Evie and Mac gives way to the old comfort they once had. Yet, their newly ignited romance is complicated by conflicting loyalties and desires, and a betrayal that may cost both of them their love and their lives.

Quick & Dirty: Evie has spent three years trying to get over Mac. Now he’s back in her life whether she wants him to be or not. Will she be able to resist the temptation to pick up where they left off?

Opening Sentence: Evelyn Stone literally held a man’s heart in her hands before tossing it into a bucket at her feet.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I went back and forth on whether to give this two or three stars. I ended up going with the former just because I spent much of the book feeling completely uninterested in what was going on. Neither of the main characters interested me, and the mystery/action side of the plot seemed more like a second thought and wasn’t all that intriguing to me.

It’s been three years since Evie left Mac after performing lifesaving surgery on him. She’s spent those three years trying to forget him, losing herself in affairs with men who remind her of him while also trying to focus on her work as a surgeon with the Wardens of the Realm. One night on her way home from a tryst, Evie runs into Mac’s sister Nell. They strike up a conversation, and the next thing Evie knows, she’s being knocked out with chloroform. She awakes on Mac’s ship, the Queen V. Far from wanting a reunion, Mac instead needs Evie to heal his wife, who’s been shot. The longer she is on the Queen V, the more Evie begins to realize that all is not what it seems. Who is this woman Mac needs to keep alive, and who keeps trying to kill her? Will Mac and Evie be able to resist the force that keeps pulling them together, or will they finally be able to figure out how to make a relationship work?

On the good side of things, this is probably the most easily understood steampunk novel I’ve read. Often, steampunk novels get bogged down in world building, often leaving the reader confused as to how things work. That’s definitely not the case here. I had no  problems at all understanding this world and how it operates. I found myself very intrigued at the prospect of reanimating the dead for interrogation purposes, which gets brought up in a couple scenes. I really wish the book would have delved into this a bit more.

Then there’s the bad. I had absolutely no interest in Evie and Mac as characters at all. Even after reading the book, I probably couldn’t give an accurate description of either of their personalities, as they both just came off very flat to me. A little more in depth information given up front regarding why Evie left him may have helped me understand one or both of them better, but without that background information, it made it very hard to side with either one of them.

Regarding the plot, while there were action scenes, for the most part, everything seemed very stagnant. I didn’t feel any tension or eagerness to find out what was going to happen next. It very much seemed like the action part of the plot was more of a second thought to the romance.

Overall, I just had a very hard time liking this book. While there were parts of the universe that I found interesting, there wasn’t enough of that to keep my interest throughout the entire book. As much as I hate to say it, this is not a series I plan on continuing.

Notable Scene:

She sat down on a nearby trunk to pull on her boots. “I’m sorry, did I mislead you into thinking I wanted something else? Did you hope that tonight would be the beginning of a long and loving relationship? Do you want to marry me?”

“No, of course not.” Too late he realized his mistake, and his distaste quickly turned to panic. “I mean, I had hoped that we could enjoy each other’s company for a little while longer and see how things develop.”

She had two choices – roll her eyes or smile sympathetically. She chose the smile. “That’s very sweet, and please don’t think I don’t appreciate the sentiment, but I really do have to go.” With that, she grabbed her coat and rose to her feet.

Franz chuckled humorlessly. “I’d heard you were a cold bitch, and now I believe it.”

Evie didn’t pause. She shoved her arm into one coat sleeve. “What’s the matter? Angry I’m leaving before you have the chance to kick me out? I’m assuming you wouldn’t want to risk your mother seeing me when she gets up in the morning.”

A dull flush suffused his cheeks beneath the golden stubble of his beard. “My landlady is a woman of discretion.”

She fastened a button. “Your landlady is your mother. Did you think I wouldn’t see the photographs and portraits of you as a child when we came in? Did you think I was so enamored of you I wouldn’t notice the note left on your dresser reminding you to give her your soiled laundry? She signed it ‘Love, Mother,’ for heaven’s sake.”

He stared at her with a mixture of horror and humiliation. “Get out.”

“It’s about damned time,” she retorted, and yanked open the bedroom door. “And take that condom off. You look ridiculous.”

Clockwork Agents Series:

1. Heart of Brass

2. Touch of Steel

3. Breath of Iron


FTC Advisory: Signet/Penguin provided me with a copy of Breath of Iron. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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