Release Day Book Review: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Title: Heart of Iron
Series: London Steampunk, Book 2
Author: Bec McMaster
Genre: Steampunk
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Published: May 7, 2013 by Sourcebooks

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…

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Excellent steampunk novel with strong romance and action plot I loved that lived up to my high expectations from book one.

The Set Up: Will is a loupe verwulfen with a price on his head by the Echelon, the ruling vampire-infected rulers of Victorian London. He can’t act on his hunger for the flirtatious Lena for fear of infecting her but he also can’t leave her unprotected. Pretty Lena is the perfect humanist spy in the Echelon court but she’s caught in the intrigue and wants Will as her protector. With both their lives at risk, Will and Lena have only each other to rely on.

Why I Read this Book: I adored book one in this series, Kiss of Steel (my review), and was anxiously awaiting book two.

What I Liked: I adore this world. The vampire and werewolf lore that is (over) used so often in paranormal romance is totally flipped on its head here. Both are conditions caused by infections with the vampire one being highly regulated to only the ruling class and the werewolf one being outlawed. The politics of the Echelon, the ruling vampire class, and the humanists, people who are tired of paying blood taxes to support them, is full of twists and turns that kept me spell bound. The steampunk elements of ironclad soldiers and humans with mechanical limbs is a perfect counterbalance to the vampire and werewolf storylines and is icing on the cake of this amazing world building.

The secondary characters are delicious as well. Lena’s half-brother and member of the Echelon, Leo, is going to be a stellar hero (I hope!) and he’s as wonderful in this book as in book one. Honoria and Blade, leads from book one, return here and it’s great to catch up with their loving romance and see it progress. Lena and Honoria’s brother, Charlie, and Blade’s hodgepodge of supporters provide a great community for Lena and Will’s romance. Even the visiting verwulfen from Sweden and the humanist rebel leaders flesh out this stellar novel.

What I Also Liked: Lena and Will have a compelling romance. The tension between them is very well paced. Lena’s persona of a flirtatious debutante is a mask she wears that Will can see through, just as Will’s beast persona is one that Lena sees through. I like the emotional connection between Lena and Will as it deepens the more time they spend together. Will’s protective love for Lena gives her a safety she’s always desired and this was a heartfelt romance I really enjoyed. The sexual intimacy built slowly but added the spice I always look for in romances.

I have to also mention that perfect balance between the romance and the plot action; sometimes one shines at the expense of the other but that wasn’t the case here. Lena and Will navigate the intrigue as the humanist plot to overthrow the Echelon and in doing so spend nearly the entire novel together. This gave plenty of time for the romance to develop as the action progressed and made for a perfectly interwoven story that held my attention.

What I Didn’t Like: Only that I have to wait for book three—and there better be a book three!

IMO: Stellar steampunk novel with outstanding world building and perfectly balanced romance that lived up to my high expectations set in book one.

J9’s Rating:
4 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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