Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMasterKiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk #1
Published by Tantor Audio on May 13, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

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, 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.

In my earlier days as a book blogger I remember Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster being one of the first steampunk stories I’d ever read, the other being Kate Locke’s series – Immortal Empire. I seriously fell in love with the world that McMaster created and the paranormal elements she molded to fit in with everything. When I saw the opportunity to listen to the audio version on McMaster’s entire London Steampunk series with Alison Larkin narrating, I knew that I had to experience this series in this format – the sample I listened to hooked me as well.

As always whenever you are revisiting a series in another format you are going to experience some inconsistencies simply because when you read it for yourself you imagine how certain characters sound, look, and the way they carry themselves. In listening to Kiss of Steel with Larkin’s narration behind it I did find myself not really liking her portrayal of Blade’s voice. Now the interpretation could be completely wrong on my part because I have no idea how his English accent was supposed to sound, but I envisioned him with a deeper voice. I digress, Larkin did an amazing job with everything and everyone except for Blade’s character.

The story of Kiss of Steel was also something that drew me in immediately. Yeah there are vampires within Kiss of Steel, which have been included in paranormal stories for decades upon decades, but the way that McMaster penned the challenges, hierarchy, and world elements within Kiss of Steel sets it apart from other paranormal/steampunk stories you will ever read.

Since I never did get pass Kiss of Steel when I was going through this series the first time I’m super excited to see how the world McMaster created expands and changes as the series goes on, plus I want to see how the series transitions into the spin-off series The Blue Blood Conspiracy.



God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

God Save the Queen by Kate LockeGod Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Series: Immortal Empires #1
Published by Orbit on July 3, 2012
Pages: 360 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Library

Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.
The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.

I was really intrigued and excited about the action and character interactions in God Save the Queen. This book contained so many angles and shock factors that it was an easy choice to go and pick up its sequel and concluding book from my local library ebook collection (thank goodness for those).

In none of the books that I have read has there ever been a book like God Save the Queen. This book was so complex in its characters makeup that if you are not truly interested in the story a lot of what’s going on will be missed or misunderstood.

At the beginning, actually in the very first chapter, the explanation for ‘how’ the goblins, vampires, halvies, and werewolves came to be was very clear, but amongst that explanation and the situation that Alexandra was going through sort of put me in an information overload. One of the scenes that I instantly (my reaction was more, “Oh shoot! Things are about to hit the fan.”) knew was going to change the tide in this story was the following:

“What is it?” I asked, rising to my feet. My chest felt tight, as though my heart hadn’t enough room to beat. “It’s Dede,” Val said, his usually stoical expression marred by sorrow. “What of her? Christ, Val, don’t lead with something like that and then make me wait.” “She’s…” He stopped on a sob. Avery put her arm around him as she stepped forward. She looked me dead in the eye-hers were as red as Val’s-and I knew then that I didn’t want to hear what they’d come all this way to tell me. “No,” I said. A tear trickled down Avery’s smooth cheek. “She’s dead, Xandy. She killed herself.”

Xandra is so great of a heroine, and her character is so complex, that if God Save the Queen and those that follow had any other foundation, Xandra would be a very hard character to like or even tolerate. I personally think that Xandra’s character would not survived in any other type of book. She can be naive, selfish, arrogant, and childish, but because this series fits her character so well she can get away with that type of characteristics. Because of these characteristics when she finally evolved at the end of this book it was such a monumental thing because never has a clearer picture been made of a character becoming a product of the world she lives in.

Since Xandra was such a strong character I didn’t think there was going to be a love interest for our little Xandra, or “Lady Xandra,” in the Prince Goblin’s voice, but luckily there was a Vex MacLaughlin to come to the rescue! Yummy!

Something I noticed, but it wasn’t a huge thing for me, was that there wasn’t any sex scenes. To be honest I think that in the case for God Save the Queen a little went a long way. This book would be the second steampunk book that I have read, the first being Kiss of Steel by Bec McMasters (another great read). I am really loving this genre-subject. This genre-subject has become one of my newest loves.

About Kate Locke

Kate began her career as Kathryn Smith, writing best-selling, award-winning historical and paranormal romances. Then, needing a bit of a break from straight historicals, she became Kady Cross, author of The Steampunk Chronicles from Harlequin Teen. This award-winning series led to The Clockwork Agents — steampunk romances for Signet Eclipse under the name Kate Cross. Finally, a new career in Dark Fantasy led to The Immortal Empire series for Orbit, written as Kate Locke.

Regardless of what name she goes by, Kate loves stories that put character first, and enjoys exploring ever side of the people she creates — even if it makes them less likeable.

An up-rooted Canadian, Kate lives in Connecticut with her husband, Steve and their pride of cats. When not writing, she enjoys reading, movies, makeup and poking around abandoned asylums.