Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 448 pages
Genre: Steampunk romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release date: May 7, 2013
Series: London Steampunk #2
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Jenn
In the mist-shrouded streets of London’s dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires and a clockwork army are one step away from battle…
Lena Todd is the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a rebel against London's vicious elite—not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't twist around her little finger.
Will Carver, is more than man, he's a verwolfen and he wants nothing to do with the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds Lena in possession of a coded letter, he realizes she's in a world of trouble. To protect her, he'll have to seduce the truth from her before it's too late.
Readers who enjoyed Bec McMaster's debut can raise their expectations because HEART OF IRON is even better than its predecessor. I really liked McMaster's debut but I found myself completely absorbed by the rollercoaster of emotion and action that is HEART OF IRON. (For an introduction to the series, I'd suggest checking out my post on KISS OF STEEL.)
The main characters in HEART OF IRON were introduced in KISS OF STEEL. Lena is Honoria's sister and Will is Blade's lieutenant. I was quite fond of these characters in the first London Steampunk novel so I was thrilled to see them front and centre in this novel. (Fans of KISS OF STEEL's Honoria and Blade will enjoy a glimpse into their lives post-HEA since they are featured in HEART OF IRON (but not in a gratuitous way).) Lena and Will had something of an instant attraction when they met but Lena has since left Whitechapel and Will has moved out on his own as well, leaving Blade and Honoria to themselves. He still works for Blade but their bond isn't as easy as it used to be. They're both strong-willed, opinionated characters devoted to their friends and family, and it was great fun watching them come together romantically.
Will has a really unique position in the series. He's the only verwulfen in London, since the blue bloods (vampire-type aristocrats) kill verwulfen on site. (He's safe in Whitechapel since it's Blade's domain but he's in danger every time he leaves.) He's given a brief reprieve, though, because the blue bloods need him to help them negotiate a treaty with the verwulfen populations from other parts of Europe. At the same time, Lena has been living in high society, working as a spy and courier for the humanist movement, a group that is rebelling against blue blood rule. Of course, it wouldn't be any fun if their two missions didn't bump into each other and boy do they collide! The plotting and pace in HEART OF IRON is truly outstanding and I needed to find out how this tangled plot would be resolved.
The introduction of other verwulfen really opens up the world of the London Steampunk series. Where KISS OF STEEL explored blue bloods and vampires, KISS OF IRON shows us more about verwulfen and their place in society. We also get to learn how verwulfen come to be and how their societies work, which I found quite interesting. The foregrounding of the humanist movement also added to the depth and breadth of McMaster's worldbuilding, and really fleshed out the setting.
Once again, though, I did have some issues with the use of dialect. Dialogue that's written in dialect is not my favourite thing, though I understand that McMaster uses it to highlight class differences. As I said when discussing KISS OF STEEL, it may not bother other people but it's something I'm hyperaware of in books, movies, TV, you name it. =)
HEART OF IRON is an engrossing, thrilling sequel to KISS OF STEEL. If you liked KISS OF STEEL, you'll love HEART OF IRON because it has all of the elements that made KISS OF STEEL a strong debut, with even more worldbuilding, intrigue, and steam.
The lovely folks at Sourcebooks Casablanca are kindly offering one (1) copy of KISS OF STEEL (the first book in the series) to a lucky reader!
To enter the giveaway, listen to the Rafflecopter!a Rafflecopter giveaway