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I Belong


Review: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Heart of IronTitle: Heart of Iron

Author: Bec McMaster

Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance

Series: London Steampunk (Book 2)

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Format: Paperback, 437 Pages

ISBN-10: 1402270305 (Sourcebooks)

ISBN-13: 978-1402270307 (Sourcebooks)

Reviewed by: Shirene

Synopsis:

In Victorian London, if you’re not a blue blood of the Echelon then you’re nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict ‘blood taxes’ on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string…

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London’s vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can’t forget…

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena—a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect—he realizes she’s in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With the humanists looking to start a war with the Echelon, Lena and Will must race against time—and an automaton army—to stop the humanist plot before it’s too late. But as they fight to save a city on the brink of revolution, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts…

Quick & Dirty: This is a series I will be following from now on.

Opening Sentence: Fog clung to the Thames like a light skirt to a rich patron.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Confession time:  I have had little experience in the Steampunk genre, and what I have read has been meh to yuck, so I was unsure about this book.  It is clear from the cover that this is a Steampunk novel, but that is as far as my past experience impacted this book.  I adored it and as you can imagine it takes a great piece of writing to make this experience one that I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share with you.

May I take this moment for a shout out for all the Aussies writers, “Oy, Oy, Oy!”  Huge kudos to my fellow Aussie (yours truly is an Aussie) for crafting such a gripping story, characters and scope.  And I’ve not had the joy or pleasure to read either of the first 2 books in this series, but will as soon as I can squeeze them in between review books.  Well Done, Ms. McMasters!  You have successfully converted me from anti-Steampunk to an appreciation of the genre with this story alone.  I thank you.

Now what you want to know is more about this story, so here is the low down. Our to-die-for hero is Will Carver.  He sneaks into your heart so steadily that one moment you are reading and then you can’t do anything but root for him, his struggle with Loupe Disease and his fear of infecting our precocious heroine, Lena Todd.  Miss Todd is trying to navigate the upper Echelon, spying for the Humanist movement and avoiding the advances of a blue blood that would like her to be his next thrall in her spare moments.

The struggles and dilemmas that face this pair are unique and part of that is due to the Steampunk world in which they inhabit.  The specific scene that comes to mind has to do with a chasm and then the ensuing portion of the story.  Believe me, you will know when you get to it.  The word pictures that were crafted in this masterpiece by Ms. McMasters are stellar.  I truly felt that I was part reading and part seeing the story unfold moment by moment as Will and Lena navigated the sewers, streets, and society in which they both lived.

The tension and romance in this book is outstanding.  I’m thrilled that we were able to go on the journey with them including the rough patches, but be assured that this book has an ending that will satisfy.

It appears from what I have been able to research that many characters from previous books in the series are present in this novel. However, in case you are wondering, if this will have a negative impact on your enjoyment of this book, let me assure you it didn’t impact me one bit.  This story is so well crafted that it could be a stand alone book, but thankfully it isn’t, so you can pick this one up and dive right into the story with no worries of whether you will sink or swim.

My one minor quibble, and it is minor, is the length of this book.  Do be aware that it is 437 pages long and will require you to be able to go down the rabbit hole for a significant stretch of time.  The good news is that this book requires every last verb, noun, adjective and punctuation present.  There isn’t an ounce of fluff in this book and that is refreshing because often in a book this size the editor could have sliced 100+ pages off and still given you an amazing story.

So what is my final vote on this book? If you haven’t already read the ringing endorsement, go buy this book!  I am thrilled to be able to read this type of artistry and pass along my joy when I find a treasure and this book is a true gem!

Notable Scene:

“Would it bother you if I admitted I were enjoyin’ every minute of this?”

Lena paused, her top hat resting rakishly on her head.  Her fingers tangled in the purple ribbons and their eyes met in the mirror.

“I warned you,” he whispered, leaning closer so that his image came into the polished glass too.  With his dark coat, he looked like an enormous shadow behind her slender purple figure.  The big, bad wolf, ready to devour her.

Her scent enveloped him, tempting him to do just that.  He wanted to press his face into her neck and breathe her in, let his hands run down over the corseted curve of her hips…

Lena looked up at him helplessly.  Some hint of his hunger must have shown on his face for her lips parted with a soft exhalation.

“I will find out what you’re up to,” he warned.

London Steampunk Series:

1. Kiss of Steel

1.5 Tarnished Knight

2. Heart of Iron

3. My Lady Quicksilver

4. Forged by Desire (September 2, 2014)

5. Of Silk and Steam (March 2015)

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FTC Advisory: Sourcebooks Casablanca provided me with a copy of Heart of Iron. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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