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.
©2012 Bec McMaster (P)2013 Tantor
This story is a romance but most certainly not highly sexual., at least not highly in the sense of how much sex occurs in the story. There is kissing, a small amount, but the first sex act doesn’t' occur until about halfway through the 11+ hour story. And that first act was just "stimulation" of Honoria. Then the second sex act doesn't occur until there's about 2.5 hours left in the story. It was the first act of intercourse. After that one, intercourse occurred again. But the story was nearing the end. Admittedly, there is a bit of sensual detail during these 3 sex acts; they weren't brief but also not drawn out. But there's also no explicit sexual language beyond "cock" and "wetness," if you want to call that explicit, which I don't, not hardly.
The delay in Honoria and Blade getting together made the story super yummy b/c I got a chance to see the relationship develop, which was not easy. Honoria and Blade are different in significant ways, which made them unlikely friends, much less lovers. But the attraction was always simmering, and trust was desired by both.
So there was no focus on sex, though there was a focus on the romance. But it was balanced with a bit of a mystery. And the mystery's outcome was not completely obvious, which was great. That, along with the good narration and good, basic writing, is what made this purchase a good one. It was my first steampunk tale, but it won't be my last. I enjoyed this one. Since I buy historical romances, this tale fit well alongside that genre for me. I also buy paranormal romances, and this tale had an aspect of that too. The vampiric and werewolf aspects were novel, however. Since this was my first steampunk tale, the take on those paranormal beings was, indeed, novel to me. Another plus in this story was that Honoria's being a virgin was not the focus in the story nor of her lover's. Additionally, I loved that Honoria was smart and strong, and the author focused on that and not her physical beauty. It was a wonderful change.
It wasn't an easy story, a light and fluffy story. But there was also no unnecessary angst or manufactured conflict. It all flowed naturally from the telling and the development of the tale.
Really well done, especially for the first book in a series. I really liked everything about this book. Great characters, plot, world building. Everything worked.
Great choice for the narrator would did a bang up job.
Fiction: I like Paranormal, Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Classics. Non-Fiction: I like Historical, Military, Memoirs.
I purchased this audiobook as part of a 3 for 2 paranormal sale and needed a third title. I didn't know what to expect and I wasn't familiar with the author, Bec McMaster, or this series, but I am glad I picked it! Part historical romance, part paranormal romance, with the tiniest splash of steam punk thrown in, Kiss of Steel had me hooked within the first fifteen minutes. The narration was great, the sex scenes were erotic without being cheesy, and the author's take on vampires was interesting.
I think Alison Larkin's narration made this book for me. She sounds like she could have been reading Jane Austen, but instead she was narrating explicit paranormal sex scenes set in Victorian London.
I don't know if I would have been able to get into reading the book like I got into listening to it. The author jumped right into her "London Steampunk" world with very little explanation. It was a bit difficult to figure out the mythology and terminology at first, but the narration kept the story interesting enough to stick with it.
First, the steampunk elements are more of an afterthought, so if that's what you're looking for, then this isn't your book. Second, the romance is apparent from the beginning, but there is a long build-up to first sex scene so, again, if that's what you're looking for... (having said that, the sex is fairly steady for the last half of the book). Last, while I loved Alison Larkin's narration in general, there were times that her voice for Blade bordered on cartoonish and that was a little bit distracting. Luckily, the author relies on descriptive narration more than dialogue, so this was only rarely an issue for me.
Kiss of Steel is an erotic historical paranormal (steampunk it really isn't) story that differs in the genre a bit because the hero isn't an aristocrat: he is pretty much a street rat vampire gang leader on the wrong side of town (though with the prerequisite heart of gold, of course). Very graphic sex is interspersed with a mystery that will be solved at the conclusive end. Although there are other books in this world, this is a stand alone.
Honoria Todd lives in disgrace in a disreputable part of London after her father is killed in the line of researching vampires. The country is ruled by the bluebloods - creatures who were infected with a virus (brought back with a "lost Continent' type of explorer) and who exist on blood. Her father's research may prove key to understanding the virus - but all Honoria has left is her sister, her brother, and her father's diaries. Desperate, out of money, she makes a blood bargain to be a thrall with a local gang lord - a blue blood himself despite not being of aristocratic stock. Then a rogue vampire starts murdering and the murders seem to all link back to Honoria. Can she and Blade, her vampire lover, save her family as well as her own skin from both the rogue vampire and the bluebloods?
While I liked the book, I found I just wasn't invested in it. It was decently written, the plot solid, and certainly no major fault can be found overall. But I found I just wasn't interested in the main character, her lover Blade, or nearly any of the other characters. Blade was a bit too good to be true, Honoria too missish (which was appropriate for the era, however), and the mystery just didn't seem get very interesting. I think if more time had been devoted to the characters and plot rather than various sex or near sex scenes, it would have been more immediate. The last quarter of the book was pretty much sex scenes, which are fine for others but really a bit too much for me (I'd rather go to an erotic title for that much intercourse).
So although I rate this 3 stars, it really wasn't a terrible book. And certainly it wasn't the average historical romance. But it just never really hooked me into the action and characters. And certainly it isn't steampunk.
I listened to an Audible version of this book. Although the narrator did a decent job, I think she might have overdone the intonations, making Honoria seem girlie and Blade a bit too guttery?
I'm a 30-something paranormal, mystery, and humor enthusiast. For me, the main character is the most important part of a book.
I found this to be a good mix of steampunk, paranormal, romance and action. That's really hard to accomplish. Some books one or more of those is lacking, but this was a very nice blend.
I have already purchased the next in this series.
Book One of the London Steampunk series.
This review is for the narration:
The narrator made this story a six star rating for me. She is fantastic and goes above and beyond. I can't imagine reading the print copy after hearing the audio version.
Blade and Honoria both have to overcome numerous complications throughout the story. They both have pasts that are catching up with them, but together they have a chance to make a future.
I highly recommend this audiobook/story to anyone at all.
Just started this series and look forward to the next book. I like the characters, the universe and the plot.
This was very enjoyable. Ms. Larkin provided another smooth performance. I will continue with this series.
My only thing is this felt much more vampire based, I didn't get much steam feel from it. I hope to see this world of Ms. McMaster more clearly as the series proceeds.
I like a little bit of everything but I'm really into romance of most types, fantasy and sci fi.
The plot was solid and there was a fabulous detail overall. The only thing that kind of got to me was her rendition of Blade. Her voice made him sound a tad bit weird. It took me some time to get into his character because the voice didn't match the persona for me, if that makes sense. Honoria was spot on though. Solid read though.
Blade and Honor make a hell of a couple, the barbed
banter at the beginning was especially entertaining, a real enjoyable romantic read, with a solid storyline, memorable characters with a sprinkling of steam punk. It was very easy to imagine the world and find yourself part of the unfolding drama. I don't want to give the impression that it is all flowers and roses. it's not, there's a dark undercurrent throughout, which just made it all the more thrilling.
Will definitely be looking for more from BM...
Let me just add it was narrated superbly...
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